International Outsourcing of Research and Development: A Model of Leadership and Culture

Cliff Allen
Portland State University, USA

Harm-Jan Steenhuis
Eastern Washington University, USA

As innovation has been outsourced globally, it has joined manufacturing organizations consisting of diverse cultures, geographies, and partnerships. The use of third-party resources to manage design and innovation has resulted in a new system of knowledge management. As the industry’s organizational and financial boundaries have attenuated, a new type of leadership challenge has emerged, creating the research question: Are there leadership practices or styles that effectively guide organizations that rely on the outsourcing of innovation and manufacturing to Taiwan and China in the computing industry? A qualitative case study method was used to investigate the differing leadership practices applied within a dialectic global production network in which a system of innovation and manufacturing has emerged. The analysis considers a full range of leadership behaviours used when facing the challenges of outsourcing R&D.

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