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Paper info: ACCOUNTING AND DISTRIBUTED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Title


ACCOUNTING AND DISTRIBUTED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Authors


Johnny Lind
Stockholm School of Economics
Sweden
Johnny Lind ,
Kalle Kraus
Stockholm School of Economics
Sweden
Kalle Kraus and Martin Carlsson-Wall

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.

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Abstract


This paper deals with the nature of product development and the impact of accounting practices on such developments. Through an in-depth case study at ABB Robotics we extend Dubois and Araujo's (2006) work on distributed product development. We find that distributed product development encompasses a mix of hierarchical and collective systems integration, planning and improvising. We thereby contribute to the emerging literature on distributed product development by highlighting the combinations of the hierarchical view (c.f. Brusoni et al, 2001) and the interactive view (c.f. Dubois and Araujo, 2006)We also show how a financial logic, captured through target costing, influences many of the pragmatic decisions concerning technical and organisational interfaces in distributed product development processes. We therefore argue that the literature on distributed product development could be extended by making the financial logic explicit and treating it on the same level as the technical logic and the organizational logic inherent in the development processes. Distributed product development is about reaching viable compromises between technical, organisational and financial features. Target costing was also found to have different roles in distributed product development. During hierarchical systems integration, target costing functioned as a hierarchical planning and evaluation technique. During collective systems integration, target costing was used to give focus to joint problem-solving, to aid knowledge integration, as well as to guide the creation of consensus around prioritisations.