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When Is Frequent Face-To-Face Contact Necessary In Innovation? A Comparative Study Of Two Distributed Product Development Projects


  • Jarle Hildrum


This paper combines the concept of technological modularity from the product-development literature with the concept of brokers from literature about communities of practice to explain why some innovation project teams require frequent face-to-face interactions to efficiently co-create new technologies, whereas others do not. The explanation is explored through a comparative case-study analysis of two distributed product-development projects in the European software and telecommunications industries. These case-study projects traversed several geographical sites in Norway, Germany, Greece, England and the Netherlands as well various communities of practice related to a number of distinct technological specialisations. The method involved participative observations and 40 in-depth interviews with key project members, managers and consultants.

Suggested Citation

  • Jarle Hildrum, 2007. "When Is Frequent Face-To-Face Contact Necessary In Innovation? A Comparative Study Of Two Distributed Product Development Projects," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(6), pages 467-484.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:16:y:2007:i:6:p:467-484
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590600914494

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    Cited by:

    1. Roby, Helen, 2014. "Understanding the development of business travel policies: Reducing business travel, motivations and barriers," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 20-35.
    2. Aguilera, Anne, 2008. "Business travel and mobile workers," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1109-1116, October.


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