This exploratory case study examines the impact of the adoption of data synchronization on three large consumer product goods organizations. Data synchronization processes between retailers and their suppliers in the consumer product goods industry have been slow in adoption. All three of the organizations that were studied complied due to a retailer mandate. This research investigated new learning and changes that developed as the result of the implementation, as well as how these organizations recognized future opportunities, and process and structural inadequacies, after data synchronization adoption. The scope of the research included organizational change, workflow, teamwork and modification of the business structure of these organizations. A pilot study was completed to examine the relevance and clarity of the interview questions, as well as follow the design and protocol of the dissertation. Conference call interviews were conducted with five individuals who were identified as the most knowledgeable about the data synchronization processes from these companies. The interviews were partially structured and followed an interview guide. The interview findings were summarized and approved by the participants. The data from the case transcripts and approved summaries were coded using descriptive codes, and then further narrowed into explanatory codes. The findings revealed the significance of internal alignment around data cleansing and accuracy, as well as opportunities for improved external alignment from a systems perspective. Several participants identified a synergy created between product item management and data synchronization and internal champions existed at all three companies. The greatest benefit to these organizations were the workflow re-design, process improvements and standards development imposed on their organizations by the clean data requirement of data synchronization. Transformational change occurred within these organizations as they experienced generative learning during the data cleansing and standardization process. The findings confirm the theory presented by Scharmer's model of Theory U: reacting, restructuring, redesigning, reframing, and regenerating to develop a common will and purpose internally. Further research on the incongruence between the retailer and suppliers capabilities may shed light on the lack of external alignment between the retailer and suppliers and their goals.
|Adviser||Judith L. Forbes|
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