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WHEN IS FREQUENT FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT NECESSARY IN INNOVATION? A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF TWO DISTRIBUTED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

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Abstract:

This paper combines the concept of technological modularity from the product-development literature with the concept of brokers from literature about communities of practice to explain why some innovation project teams require frequent face-to-face interactions to efficiently co-create new technologies, whereas others do not. The explanation is explored through a comparative case-study analysis of two distributed product-development projects in the European software and telecommunications industries. These case-study projects traversed several geographical sites in Norway, Germany, Greece, England and the Netherlands as well various communities of practice related to a number of distinct technological specialisations. The method involved participative observations and 40 in-depth interviews with key project members, managers and consultants.

Keywords: Communities of practice; Face-to-face interactions; ICT; International innovation projects; Technological modularity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10438590600914494

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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