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Author(s): Mendonça, S.
Date: 2001
Title: Futures research at DaimlerChrysler: socio-technology at the core of the corporate knowledge system
Collection title and number: Dinâmia Working Paper
Keywords: Socio-tecnologia
Sistema de conhecimento empresarial
Abstract: In today’s globalising and turbulent economy the way to achieve long-term leading position has become an increasingly tough dynamic process. Because a company’s market position is not safe for long if it systematically fails to keep up with the pace of change, sustaining competitive advantage is a continuous and restless task at the heart of which technological and organisational innovations prove fundamental. As in any other large business organisation, strategic planning at DaimlerChrysler (DC) is an activity of vital importance. The creation and renovation of a company’s competencies, i.e., its ability to master knowledge about production and distribution and its understanding of demand and users’ needs, has become itself institutionalised as a business of a particular trade. Most of the world’s leading corporations have a Research & Development (R&D) department where new science-based ideas and designs are tested and applied to the resolution of specific technological problems. Only more recently some large companies are carrying the internal division of labour a step further by establishing a new department or division exclusively devoted to socio-economic and strategic research. These units have the job of assessing the possible future directions of the organization in contrast with where the accumulation of competencies is leading. In this contribution we supply a description of the ways in which Society and Technology Research Group (STRG), the research and consulting institution within the DaimlerChrysler business group, helps strategic policy-making through the scenario methodology. We also aim at producing more general comments about the implications of the scenario-building process for managerial competence. Specifically, we elaborate on the analogy between R&D and futures research and argue that complex methodologies of interactive learning such as scenarios can be regarded as socio-technology. We also point out the significant role social sciences can be play in the process of generating useful knowledge for corporate management. The empirical base of this research is mainly composed by documentation provided by STRG and by an interview carried out with Frank Ruff, one of its senior managers. This evidence is compounded by reference to complementary data, namely from the case of Royal Dutch/Shell and its group-planning unit.
Peerreviewed: Sim
Access type: Open Access
Appears in Collections:DINÂMIA'CET-WP - Working papers com arbitragem científica

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