Dancing in Shackles: Interactive Learning of Industrial Design Firms in Beijing

Pengfei Li

Professeur adjoint, HEC Montréal

Date: Vendredi 24 mars 2017, de 14h00 à 15h30
Lieu: Salle PWC, 1er étage (section verte), Édifice CSC, HEC Montréal


(Ce séminaire sera donné en anglais)


As discussed in the literature, interactive learning between producers and users is an important part of the innovation process. Focusing on the newly established industrial design firms in China, we investigate vertical interaction and knowledge exchange between industrial designers and their clients, manufacturers, in the product development process in a developing context. We find that due to weak knowledge bases of the two parties and their asymmetric power relations, industrial design firms and manufacturers communicate and interact at a low level. In response to weak knowledge sharing from manufacturers, industrial design firms adopt a strategy to extend their organizational boundaries in upstream and downstream directions in the value chain. The research suggests that power relations between producers and users and their changing organizational boundaries are two important dimensions of interactive learning. The paper also provides new insights into understanding China’s transformation towards a knowledge economy.

Pengfei Li is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Business, HEC Montréal. Before, he taught at the University of Toronto and East China Normal University in Shanghai. His research focuses on industrial clusters, knowledge and industrial evolution, and regional economic development. His work has been published in Journal of Economic Geography and Regional Studies.



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