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A process view on managing quality during the creation of technical innovations: lessons from field research

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Quality Management (QM) principles have left their marks on business practice for more than a decade. Amongst the many business functions that have faced the widespread introduction of QM standards and methodologies, the R&D function has been amongst the last to undergo their pervasive influence. The uncertain and ambiguous nature of the technical innovation process, most present during the conceptual and problem-solving (often R&D intensive) stages, has provided many arguments not to introduce ‘traditional’ QM approaches in R&D settings. These arguments are often based on a rather rigid and mechanistic view on QM. As recent insights show, this need not be the case. QM can offer an avenue to fundamentally scrutinize and re-think cross-functional integration strategies in innovative contexts. Therefore, the process of introducing QM principles in an R&D environment deserves close attention. This paper offers a field-based insight into these fundamental organizational and managerial issues.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Applied Economics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Naamsestraat 69, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium, 2: Service Management Centre, De Vlerick School voor Management, Universiteit Gent, Belgium, 3: Union Minière R&D

Publication date: July 1, 1997

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