Globalising the firm through cooperative projects: the case of Renault

Type de publication:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 2, Number 1, p.24-45 (2002)



Over the past decade, the automotive industry has been the arena for concentration and globalisation of firms. While strategies aiming to attain a critical mass through external growth and international expansion programs are not new in this sector, the magnitude and global extent of this movement have reached an unprecedented level during the 1990s. Although this trend would seem to be homogeneous and guided by a kind of fashion phenomena, a fine-grained analysis of the dynamics of today’s firms reveals, instead, a significant variety of patterns. Since the globalisation of a firm is just one attribute of its complex identity associating different dimensions, it raises some important questions. How will the globalisation issue be articulated with the other key dimensions of a firm? How will this development axis be integrated with the firm’s own traditions? In the same way that typologies of organisations have been identified, is it possible to characterise both the diversity of globalisation processes and the firm’s globalisation model? This paper aims to address these questions by analysing the Renault case. Firstly, we provide a conceptual framework based upon organisational learning theories to explain the dynamics of the firm. Secondly, we argue that four globalisation trajectories should be distinguished: the traditional model based on the dominant market, globalisation through projects, functional lines and platforms. Each trajectory will be described and compared. Finally, in the last section, we illustrate the globalisation trajectory through projects with intermediate results of an ongoing research on the Renault and GME partnership for the joint development of a new light commercial vehicle. Using interactive-research methods, the aim of this research is to experiment several organisational devices in order to develop and promote collective competencies in the management of international cooperative projects, throughout the organisation. We conclude by giving some managerial implication of our findings and directions for further research. © 2002 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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