Dynamics of Quality Attributes Over Life Cycles of Goods and Services
Doctoral thesis, 2005
This thesis is based on seven papers and has three main objectives. The first objective is to provide a theoretical framework that explains the dynamics of quality attributes over their life cycles, considering the technology readiness of users. Empirical investigations have been conducted with questionnaires constructed by a combination of Kano's theory of attractive quality and technology readiness, to collect data about a service consisting of a number of quality attributes. The results indicate that this theoretical combination, together with information about the number of times a service has been used, enables organizations to estimate how far the service has come in its life cycle and how long it will take to complete the cycle. This can be a helpful aid when estimating the pace at which an organization needs to offer new services or service attributes on a market.
The second objective is to provide empirical investigations into how dissatisfaction feedback over product life cycles is transferred from users, and how that information and knowledge is utilized in product development contexts. Three research studies were conducted. One is an explorative collective case study carried out at three organizations in three multinational manufacturing companies in Sweden. The second is a descriptive single case study conducted in a collaboration project with ALSTOM Power, Industrial Turbines. The third is a multiple case study covering 84% of the companies within a machine industry segment in Sweden. As a general conclusion, the results show that feedback mainly is used for corrective and reactive actions only (exploitation of products), and is seldom used as an input in the New Product Development Process when developing possible future products (exploration of products).
The third objective is to investigate manufacturing companies' current positions and movements on a goods-to-services continuum. The results of an explorative multiple case study of 17 machine industry companies suggest that most of the companies have not reached very far on the goods-to-services continuum. However, most of them are interested in better utilizing the life cycles of goods by incorporating service development activities within their lines of business.
Kano's theory of attractive quality