Trends in cooperation between industry, R&D centres, and universities

  • Matti Otala
Part of the Kasseler Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungswissenschaften book series (KWV, volume 1)


Industry is presently experiencing rather fundamental changes in its operations, structure, mores and economies. These changes are caused by intensification of the international competition, restructuring of several large economic blocks, changing societal values and new organisational and competitive paradigms. The following is a terse, condensed summary of what the author sees as twelve major changes affecting the European research establishment in the ten forthcoming years. This is a strictly private view, based on personal experience gained in working in and managing of several European, American and Japanese large industries, and in working in and with several European universities and research centres.


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Explanations and references

  1. 1.
    See, for instance, Otala, M., Paradigmawechsel in der Organisation: Organisatorische und technische Aspekte von Re-Engineering. Invited Keynote Address in IDG Kongress “Re-Engineering”, Oct. 1994, Frankfurt, Germany. Proceedings, Part I, pp. 270–286. (In German)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A Glocal ( GLO bally loCAL) structure is the emerging definition of an industry trend to rely on self-sufficient semi-autonomous operations, consisting of a full local Keiretsu and located in an area consisting of a reasonably homogenous customer group. A glocal is normally identified by the more or less homogenic culture to be served, for instance the Romanic, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Nordic and Slavic glocals in Europe. For further information, see for instance Ruigrok, W., The Global Firm, Proceedings of the Europrospec-tive II Conference, Namur 1991.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Keiretsu describes the Japanese industrial structure, where a “mother” company works closely together with a host of exclusive subcontractors. As seen from outside, a Keiretsu operates like a single company, the mother usually taking care of the technological muscle and marketing power, at the same time providing the subcontractors with product designs and all the necessary training of the workforce.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Core denotes the trend in the industry to concentrate onto those things the company knows best. The focus can be defined as core customers, core markets, core competencies, core technology or core products of a company. For further information, see for instance Prahalad, C.K. and Hantel, G., The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, May-June 1990, pp. 79–91.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Total Quality Management is a principle stressing cross-functional co-operation, flat hierarchies and process-oriented thinking. Partial synonyms: Flat organisation, lean management, team-work.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Taylorian organisation is one that is based on extreme work division, atomising every task to elementary moves, which can be performed by people lacking intelligence or competence.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Skunkworking is a colloquial American term describing a business unit operating outside the official hierarchy but in competition with it. Partial synonym: Garage operation.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kaizen (Kai = continuous Zen = good or God) describes the Japanese way of management, advocating the principle of continuous improvement. Kaizen concentrates, among other things, to the minimisation of muda (waste: either physical, material or mental) in processes, activities and thought. Gemha denotes the place where something happens. To solve a problem, “one must be in the gemba” (synonymous to “management by walking around”), also meaning that a manager must be “visible” to the employees. For further information, see for instance Imai, M., Kaizen, the Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. McGraw-Hill, New York 1986, 254 p. ISBN 0–07-554332-XGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matti Otala
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Bosch GmbHStuttgartGermany

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