Friday, November 28, 2014

Technology Management - Introduction

 Technology management
1 Key definitions

Considering etymology of the word technology as ‘techne’ and ‘logos’ from the Greek language, the term technology can be translated into the definition of skill to apply proper techniques (Hakkarainen 2006) or practical application of knowledge (Webster 2010).

Burgelman et al. (2001: 4) defines technology as “technology refers to theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and artifacts that can be used to develop products and services as well their production and delivery systems. Technology can be embodied in people, materials, cognitive and physical processes, plant, equipment, and tools”.

Technology management is defined by several authors and institutes like National Research Council of U.S.A. (1987) and European Institute of  Technology and Innovation Management (2010).

To further the discussion and to add precision to the evolving MoT domain, the National Research Council (1987) developed the following definition to organize, guide, and stimulate research efforts on the management of technology:

Management of technology links engineering, science, and management disciplines
to address the planning, development, and implementation of technological capabilities
to shape and accomplish the strategic and operational objectives of an organization
( National Research Council (1987). Management of Technology: The Hidden Competitive Advantage. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, p. 2).

Gregory (1995) has proposed a definition based on a generic process view to technology management. The generic processes of identification, selection, acquisition, exploitation and protection are also included in the definition of European Institute of Technology and Innovation Management.

Cetindamar et al. (2009b) have summarized the definitions of several authors (e.g. Roberts 1988, Gregory 1995, Rush et al. 2007, Dodgson et al. 2008, Levin & Barnard 2008). Cetindamar et al. (2009b) concludes that there might be a consensus about the core process activities of technology management. On the other hand, the scope of technology management is diversely enhanced by, for example, strategy, knowledge, learning, planning, resource, competence, capability, innovations, product development, and
commercialization views.

There exists several definitions and differing understandings on what is knowledge management. In simple terms, knowledge management is about managing what we know (Wilson 2002). In this dissertation, knowledge management is understood as identification, creation, codifying, storing and sharing of knowledge to make it available for business purposes of an enterprise.

It is necessary to differentiate technology management from knowledge management: technology management is concerned with skills to apply and utilize knowledge for business needs and purposes.

2  Schools of technology management

Development paths of management of technology and R&D management can be traced back to the end of 19th century to corporate R&D laboratories. Since then technology management has evolved along 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation R&D until end of 20th century (e.g. Talonen 2008).

Drejer (1997) summarizes four schools of technology management: R&D management, innovation management, technology planning and strategic

3 Technology management frameworks

Frameworks are generally used to present and communicate ideas or concepts in a structured way to support understanding of the topic under study. For considering the applicable viewpoints that a framework should provide, Phaal et al. (2004) refers to a meta-framework of Shehabuddeen (2001) that represents conceptual, applied, dynamic and static dimensions to the topics to be presented in a framework. Necessary abstraction, practicality, position of the elements, and interaction of the elements can be presented in a framework through these dimensions.

 A variety of theoretical, commercial and practical frameworks for presenting ideas related to technology management have been depicted (e.g. Phaal et al. 2000, Talonen 2008). The main types of existing technology management frameworks and their key characteristics are presented in Table.

Each of the framework types represents a partial solution to the problem of ‘what are the elements of  technology management’.

Pilkington & Teichert (2006) and Brockhoff (2003) give an explanation that the reason for the
ambiguity of the field of technology management can be traced back to its early roots to management of R&D laboratories, and that the positioning of the field, amongst other disciplines, has been difficult due to its intertwined nature.

The underlying skeleton of the framework types indicate an approach where attempts are made to define the key processes, functions, routines, methods and tools for specific technology management activities. Secondly, technology  management activities are presented as a discipline that needs to be integrated with the core business processes, and with market and business strategies of an enterprise.

A third approach is to manage knowledge flows of a company as embedded in other processes to link technology as a resource for reaching business objectives, or to manage technology specifically as part of innovation or new product development processes. An integrated management approach divides fields of technology management in normative, strategic and operative dimensions of organizational management from perspectives of objectives, structures and behavior, and outcomes of managed activities.

Due to complexity of the field, and dependency on industry context, the framework types are quite generic. There exists profound knowledge on generalized theories on phenomena about technological development, technology diffusion, dominant designs, innovations, and about role of core competences and dynamic capabilities in enterprises (e.g. Utterback & Abernathy 1975, Dosi 1982, Anderson & Tushman 1990, Rogers 2003, von Hippel 1988, Prahalad & Hamel 1990, Teece et al. 1997).

On the other hand, specific practices have been developed, for example, on technology forecasting, road mapping, portfolio management, evaluation, benchmarking, selection, patenting, licensing, decision grids and strategy making (see e.g. Phaal et al. 2006). Nevertheless, none of the frameworks present a comprehensive view to the entire field.


 Main types of technology management frameworks.

Generic process model
Generic five process models: identification, selection,acquisition, exploitation and protection.
Gregory (1995)

Generic five processes and learning seen as dynamic capability.
Cetindamar et al.

Technology management functions

Key functions related to technology management: technology strategy, road mapping, development,
information and knowledge management, acquisition, transfer, forecasting, product development, life-cycle
management, commercialization.
Kropsu-Vehkaperä et al. (2009)

Technology management routines
Key routines: producing scientific and technological knowledge, transforming knowledge into working artifacts, matching artifacts with user requirements, providing organizational support.
Levin & Barnard (2008)

Integration of technology management activity to business processes
Five best practices to integrate technology planning with business planning: planning, involvement,
commitment, buy-in, accountability.
Metz (1996)

Generic framework integrating technology management core processes to processes of strategy,
innovation and operations.
Phaal et al. (2000, 2004)

Technology strategy  approach
Technology strategy creation and implementation regarding to definition of core and complementary
technologies, competencies, make/buy decisions, environment analysis, planning.
Burgelman et al.(2001), Porter (1995), Dodgson et al. (2008)

Integrated management concept
Technology management as a task of general management: normative (vision, know-how acquisition, decision-making, policies, innovation culture creation); strategic (planning, organizational design, make/buy, alliances creation), operative (R&D goals, motivation, tasks fulfillment)
Tschirky (1991) Luggen & Tschirky

Innovation funnel
Integrating New Product Development from concepts to commercialization, through knowledge flows and decision-making within commercial/market and networked technology/resource/R&D perspectives.
Wheelwright & Clark (1992), Chesbrough (2006)

Knowledge management Integration and management of knowledge dimensions (what, why, how, when, who, where) by processes, methods, tools and people.
Nonaka (1995), Chai et al. (2003)

Methods and tools approach
Road mapping, blue-box analysis, portfolio analysis, forecasting, decision tree, performance indicators.
See e.g. Phaal et al.(2006)

Source: Elements of Strategic Technology Management, Kari Sahlman, PhD Thesis, Oulu University, 2010

Tech Management - Course outline - Newman

Technology Management - Case Study

Managing introduction of new technology in multiplant network
MIT 1990 working paper

Management of Technology - Paul Lowe, 1995
Management of Technology: Perception and Opportunities
Paul Lowe
Springer, 31-Oct-1995 - Business & Economics - 358 pages

Explains the purpose of a technology strategy and the need for its integration with other business policies
Google Book Link with preview

Important point - neglected area on technology management

Proposal of manufacturing technology management as a new research framework in technology management.

Authors Seino, T. (Corp. Manuf. Eng. Center, Toshiba Corp., Japan) ; Kyomasu, N. ; Nomura, T.

One of the most important issues facing manufacturing industries is the realization of “value innovations”, which create new value for customers by producing new products, systems and services.

However, “process innovations”, which improve current activities and business processes used in producing current products, are as important as value innovations because most manufacturing companies depend on current business to earn sales and profits. Manufacturing technology has been playing an essential role in process innovations by producing high-quality, low-cost products with a short lead time.

In recent years, manufacturing technology has also become important for achieving value innovations, especially by creating more capable new production equipment/devices and better materials.

In spite of the importance of manufacturing technology, technology management methods and approaches have not been sufficiently discussed from the viewpoints of manufacturing technology. In this paper, manufacturing technology management (MTM) is proposed as a new framework in technology management. Furthermore, research themes and an evaluation method of MTM are discussed.

Published in:
Technology Management in the Energy Smart World (PICMET), Portland, OR 2011 Proceedings of PICMET '11:
Date of Conference: July 31 2011-Aug. 4 2011

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