Communicating large scale change in a technology development unit: A case study of an automotive E/E architecture transition

Examensarbete för masterexamen

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Type: Examensarbete för masterexamen
Title: Communicating large scale change in a technology development unit: A case study of an automotive E/E architecture transition
Authors: Adolfsson, Jesper
Sölveland, August
Abstract: With the advent of new, sophisticated software technologies, many traditional in- dustries are being disrupted. One such industry is the automotive industry, which is accelerating into a future where customer value is increasingly created through software services. For automotive incumbents, the shift towards software engineer- ing is challenging as it requires a change of core capabilities and organizational restructuring, among other things. This thesis is focusing on one key initiative which will be instrumental in enabling a future software- and service-centric automotive industry, namely the creation of a new E/E architecture. The aim of this research is to investigate the role of communication when shifting E/E architectures, and more specifically, to gain a better understanding for how automotive incumbents organize their internal communication in an E/E architecture transition. In conducting this research, 15 qualitative interviews were held with internal stakeholders to an ongoing E/E architecture transition. The findings highlight difficulties differentiating between communication and organizational change aspects as challenges and solutions related to the former is of multidimensional character. One of the main barriers presented in this case was related to a lack of management support, seemingly a consequence of the change emerging from the bottom of the organization coupled with it having high impact implications such as demands for major competence shifts. Solutions proposed to overcome this challenge were partly related to improving the frequency of communication with means such as a newsletter. Further, formalizing a communi- cation plan can be a good opportunity for managers to reflect on communication and contribute to ensuring consistency in terms of the what, how and when of commu- nication. Additionally, it can help with reducing ambiguity and uncertainty within the organization. However, it was also proposed that recruitment, replacement and competency development of both managers and engineers was a necessity. This view found support in certain cases as competency shifts were needed in order to gain the necessary understanding and political behavior was prevalent due to the inherent resistance associated with high impact change initiatives.
Keywords: Organizational change;Communication;Change communication
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för teknikens ekonomi och organisation
Series/Report no.: E2022:118
Collection:Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses

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