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A Framework for the Strategic Positioning of Intra-Company ICT Research Organizations

Stephan Aier, Christian Fischer & Marten Schoenherr

abstract By the early twentieth century, Schumpeter had already stressed the importance of innovation for a sustainable development of enterprises. Innovation is especially important for information and communication technology (ICT) companies as their business model is based on rapidly changing technology. They therefore often profit from innovation developed in intra-company research organizations. However, ICT research organisations often face a special challenge: the integration of research results into existing ICT architectures. This challenge has neither been analysed in literature on information systems nor on innovation management. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this challenge, we analysed case studies in four intra-company research organisations, among them one in-depth case study. Our research shows that an intra-company ICT research organisation can make a decision based on three important strategic parameters: (a) the desired degree of innovativeness, (b) the desired degree of integrability into existing architecture, and (c) the desired degree of orientation towards prospective users’ needs. Based on our case study analysis, we argue that these three strategic goals are concurrent, i.e. to achieve one of them makes it difficult to achieve the others. Adhering to contingency theory, we believe that there is not one best strategic position, but that the quality of a strategic position depends on environmental contingency factors. In addition to the development of the framework, we consider contingency theory and formulate two hypothetical propositions. They describe stable strategic positions of intra-company ICT research organisations in our framework, dependent on contingency factors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first research publication dealing with the special requirements of intra-company ICT research organizations and the challenge of integration. Nevertheless, our research is limited by its exploratory nature and by the relatively small number of case studies taken. For generating more hypotheses, further explorative research in the field has to be done. Moreover, in order to confirm the assumptions our framework is based upon and the hypothetical propositions generated, further confirmative research is necessary.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
name of conference The 19th European Conference of Information Systems (Helsinki)
date of conference 01-12-2011
title of proceedings Proceedings of the 19th European Conference on Information Systems: ICT and Sustainable Services Development
review double-blind review
   
citation Aier, S., Fischer, C., & Schoenherr, M. (2011). A Framework for the Strategic Positioning of Intra-Company ICT Research Organizations. In Tuunainen, V., Nandhakumar, J., Rossi, M., & Soliman, W. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th European Conference on Information Systems: ICT and Sustainable Services Development. Helsinki.