Learning from collaborative new product development projects

Maaike Kleinsmann, Rianne Valkenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose In an empirical study learning opportunities were identified. Learning opportunities are enablers or disablers for the achievement of shared understanding. Design/methodology/approach Actors were interviewed about their communication process. The learning history method was used to analyze and structure the data. From the learning histories learning opportunities were derived. Finally, the learning opportunities were categorized. Findings Learning opportunities were found on three levels: the actor, project and company level. They were also joined in six themes. Combining these two patterns showed that learning opportunities are interrelated. Research limitations/implications The case study done was retrospective for the actors involved. Therefore, only conclusions could be drawn on the achievement of shared understanding. To be able to say more about the creation of shared understanding, following a NPD project real time would be desirable, in future research. Practical implications This study shows the importance for managers of looking across boundaries. Only solving problems integrally within the organization will help to solve problems successfully. Knowing the learning opportunities of a NPD project finished, will help them to improve future projects. The explicit use of storytelling during a NPD project may help to create a learning organization with shared understanding between the actors. Originality/value Previous research showed, shared understanding is important, to be able to manage the integration of different knowledge domains. However, these studies do not describe learning opportunities for the achievement of shared understanding, which was done in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Automotive industry
  • Economic cooperation
  • Europe
  • Learning
  • Product development


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