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Research Associate


Personal Information

Anja Schulze is a Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at the University of Zürich.

You can find more information at her UZH website.

Journal articles

Schulze, A., Brojerdi, G., & Krogh, G. 2014. Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach. Disseminative capability and knowledge transfer in the automotive industry. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(1): 79-97

Innovations in the automotive industry are increasingly building on contributions from different technological fields. Correspondingly, firms in this industry more than ever tend to form research and development (R&D) alliances that aim at innovating new products through integrating separate fields and transferring knowledge. While, in symmetrical R&D alliances, each partner intends to ultimately maintain their distinctive and specialized knowledge base, overlapping knowledge facilitates cooperation and ultimately alliance success. Thus, the capability for knowledge transfer between partners is crucial in such R&D alliances. The literature provides ample evidence that such knowledge transfer is more likely to succeed if the recipient firm has absorptive capability. However, whereas the characteristics of the knowledge transfer process and the recipient firm are well understood, limited attention has so far been given to the issue of the knowledge source firm's ability to transfer knowledge to R&D alliance partners. This study focuses on the impact of source firm capability on successful knowledge transfer in R&D alliances. The study develops a theoretical framework of disseminative capability consisting of five dimensions and tests it on a sample of 59 projects in R&D alliances in the automotive industry. To ensure content validity and avoid common source bias, data were collected from both alliance partners. To test the hypotheses, multiple regression analyses were performed. The results reveal that the source firm's disseminative capability including the attainment of expert knowledge, assessing the recipient firm's knowledge base, and encoding knowledge are positively related to knowledge transfer success, while, surprisingly, detaching knowledge and support of knowledge application in the recipient firm are negatively related. Intentionally or unintentionally, disseminating knowledge across firm boundaries is widely perceived as detrimental to a firm's competitive advantage. Accordingly, the literature tends to downplay disseminative capability as an important means of exploiting external knowledge in collaborative settings. By demonstrating potential benefits for the source firm to transfer knowledge to the allying R&D partner firm, this paper reinvigorates the collaborative dimension in knowledge transfer. Further, the paper is the first of this kind to theoretically explain and empirically show that dimensions of disseminative capability of collaborators in R&D alliances are important for knowledge transfer, whereas disseminative capability is the complementary inverse of an organization's absorptive capacity.

Schulze, A, Angstmann, F., Förster, S., Schwärzler, S., Shekari, O., Tata, A., Zimmermann, N. 2013. The Automotive Industry in Switzerland: Industry Analysis 2013 . ETH Zürich
Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. 2013. How to switch from idea generation to materialization: A case study of set based concurrent engineering. APROS - Asia Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies
Schulze, A., Schmitt, P., Heinzen, M., Mayrl, P., Heller, D., & Boutellier, R. 2013. Exploring the 4I framework of organizational learning in product development: Value stream mapping as a facilitator. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 26(12): 1136-1150

Organisational learning (OL) that enhances efficiency and the continuous improvement of processes is a key objective of lean product development and has become an important principle of new product development (NPD). Therefore, it is critical for an organisation to capture individuals’ and groups’ knowledge and learning about processes, institutionalise it, and deploy it organisation-wide. Since OL is more likely to occur if it is supported systematically, NPD scholars and practitioners recognise the importance of investigating facilitators’ effect on OL. However, there is no shared understanding of OL among existing studies. This disparity makes it hard to assess, compare, and integrate prior findings into studies. Our article addresses this gap. We investigate how value stream mapping (VSM) and its implementation in NPD affect OL in development processes. Therefore, we operationalise OL on the basis of Crossan et al .'s 4I framework, which is comprehensive and widely recognised (Crossan, M., Lane, H. and White, R., 1999. An organizational learning framework: from intuition to institution. The Academy of Management Review, 24(3), 522–537). We analysed the approach to VSM and its implementation in four longitudinal, comparative case studies in the German-speaking car supplier industry. Using the 4I framework, we captured VSM's effects on the various OL dimensions. We provide valuable insights for R&D managers who seek to improve their processes and want to implement VSM.

Schulze, A., & Brojerdi, G. J. C. 2012. The Effect of the Distance between Partners' Knowledge Components on Collaborative Innovation. European Management Review, 9(2): 85-98

The alliance literature has recognized distance between partners' knowledge as important for innovation. However, theoretical reasoning as well as empirical results differ concerning the relationship of partners' knowledge base distance and innovation performance. We assume that the mixed results are caused by neglecting the role of relevant knowledge types. In this study, we examine the effect of technological and managerial knowledge distance on collaborative innovation performance. We examined 53 collaborative development projects and we find an inverse U-shaped relationship between technological knowledge distance and innovation performance, explained by the knowledge-based view and absorptive capacity. Our results also reveal that a short managerial knowledge distance is beneficial for innovation, which can be explained by transaction cost theory. Overall, our research helps to better explain knowledge distance's effect on collaborative innovation performance.

Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. 2012. Knowledge integration within firms: modular and set based strategies to organize for New Product Development, in: Symposium Integrating Knowledge about Knowledge Integration. Panelist with Robert Grant, Stefano Brusoni, Fredrik Tell . SMS 2012 Conference
Schulze, A., & Brusoni., S. 2012. Knowledge integration across parallel projects: A case study of set based concurrent engineering. 3rd Advanced KITE Workshop on Knowledge Integration and Innovation
Schulze, A., & Störmer, T. 2012. Lean Product Development – Enabling management factors for waste elimination. International Journal of Technology Management, 57(1): pp. 71-91

Lean development is a promising approach in new product development (NPD). However, despite the successful application of lean thinking and its principles to manufacturing, the adoption of the lean approach to product development is a quite novel undertaking. In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses pertaining to the elimination of waste, which is one of the major objectives of lean management. In particular, our study focuses on the question: What management factors are enablers for the elimination of waste in the context of NPD? We identified: 1) employee training; 2) coaching; 3) constructive failure treatment as effective means. Furthermore, implications for management practice are considered. Testing our hypotheses, we refer to data from 108 firms in the automotive supplier industry in German-speaking countries, i.e., Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Schulze, A., Brojerdi, G., & von Krogh. G. 2012. The effect of disseminative capacity on knowledge transfer: R&D alliances in the automotive industry. 5th International Supply Chain Management Symposium and Workshop
Täube, F., & Schulze, A. 2012. Symposium Innovation and strategy in the global automotive industry. Academy of International Business
Schmitt, P., Schulze, A., & Boutellier, R. 2011. Flexible und günstige Entwicklungsprojekte. io new management, 80(11): 5

Books / Book chapters

Schulze, A. 2011. Trends und Chancen der Europäischen Automobilindustrie. Vernetzt im Einkauf: Wege aus der Krise, 221-248. Edited by Roman Boutellier, Stephan M. Wagner unter Mitarbeit von RubenJönke, MikkoDeNardo. Schweizerischer Verband für Materialwirtschaft und Einkauf SVME

Working papers / Conference papers

Rittiner, F., Schulze, A., & Brusoni, S. Process management from a knowledge brokering perspective. ETH Zürich – YNU Research Seminar, 2012
Schulze, A., & Rittiner, F. Continuous Improvement Facilitators and their Relation to Efficiency in New Product Development. R&D Management Conference, Norrköping, Sweden, 2011
Schulze, A., & Rittiner, F. Towards a conceptual role model for efficient continuous improvement activities in new product development. ETH Zürich – YNU Research Seminar, 2011