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Innovation in the road freight transportation chain facilitating sustainability and low cost: A socio-technical perspective on work and development of road freight transport markets.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InnoMarket (Innovation in the road freight transportation chain facilitating sustainability and low cost: A socio-technical perspective on work and development of road freight transport markets.)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2017-07-31

InnoMarket is opening the black box of the international road freight transport market, which in many ways is organized as a bazaar market. The project investigates this 'institutional order' of road freight transportation that leads to unintended in-efficiencies such as less than full truck loads. There is also a high degree of logistics innovation, which is a consequence of the organizing in networks and idiosyncratic knowledge. The objective is fistly to identify innovative potentials for lowering cost and increasing sustainability by analyzing practices of overlapping markets and built-in controversies in the transport chains. Secondly, the project aims at closing a gap in transport research by introducing social aspects in explanations of strategic development. Theoretically, the project builds on organization and market literature and the socio-technical view of innovation processes. An ethnographic action net study is applied to investigate the overlapping markets and international inter-sectoral transport chain actors; the industrial shipper, customer, intermediaries, transporter and drivers. The study involves 50 interviews in Poland, Denmark and Sweden, documentary studies, and “shadowing” actors. The results of the study is a novel perspective on how road transport markets work, contributing to knowledge of transport-chain efficiency, sustainability and innovation. CBS expertise in transportation, valuation theory and ethnographic narratives advances the fellow in research, methodology, public dissemination and publications. Host professor supervised in transport and logistics research, publication and editorship skill. Secondment at ITD/International Transport Denmark´s innovation center provided training-in-innovation projects. Knowledge on triggers to innovation and obstacles to sustainable road transportation are disseminated. Fellow research profile is broadened, including organizing, transportation expertise, ethnographic action net methods, publishing, outreach experience, and an international network of academics and non-academics.
Work Package 1 - The fellow qualified as assistant professor and associate professor.
Work package 2 - A literature review involving five themes to develop a research agenda.
First theme is transportation/logistics literature, resulting scientific manuscript is “Strategic themes in the haulier business: A systematic literature review of road freight transport”. The manuscript both appraises strategic options and understands the road freight transport business from a strategic point of view, which pose a significant contribution to experts from different backgrounds. The study contributes to a strategic perspective on road freight transport by identifying transdisciplinary avenues of future research that are likely encourage market innovations. The review explores strategic options that are analysed for critical insights into a sustainable development of the road freight sector.
Second theme is constructionist market theory and organizing literature, resulting in three manuscripts. “Understanding the logistics service chain logic and decision making” formulates an exploration of transport and logistics providers’ capabilities and decision making logic.
“Market innovation in the transport and heavy vehicle market” uses socio-economic market practice theory to inquire interorganizational and international aspects of business model innovation developments in the road freight context. Emergent markets rely on emergent market processes, these processes involve actors that utilize existing business model innovation possibilities provided from a truck manufacturer and that remodels it for better contextual fit. Truck manufacturers’ expert knowledge of technology is well-established, but truck user needs not so. Road hauliers exploit offered resources and capabilities in indigenous ways for specific strategic developments.
“Value work in the road transport sector” uses organizing literature to develop understanding of value, redefined from the singular economic value to the pluralistic values. Short-term-ism is indicative for the road haulier sector and this paper investigates possibilities and challenges for a change in market cultures.
Third theme of regulations/enforcements, reports, etc.
Fourth theme is mobile ethnology to understand complexity of road transport chains and management of transport operations. In long haulage transport chains two important logics are; Sustainable Transportation and Low Cost Transportation. My assumption before the project was that both action nets are a result of innovation and that these would be compared and contrasted for knowledge on what facilitates the type of innovation practiced and what hinders other types of innovation. However, I had to re-evaluate the assumption that the logics was separated. In road haulier business these logics are intertwined in situated innovation, i.e. the innovative action takes stock on possibilities and hinders from specific customers and segments. Both logics exist, but which is dominant is more a result of conditions in the context.
Fifth theme is sustainability literature, resulting in two manuscripts. One is developing a methodological approach for inter-disciplinary research and the other, “What is fair in the fair transport concept?” takes off from a simple question, asking what is fair in the transport chain concept. Drawing on critical business ethics research and polyphonic narratives it offers an understanding of the mess that constitutes road freight transport and involves people, ethics in supply chains, interested organizations and EU institutions. This analytical understanding is derived from Spinozian ethical principles. It is suggested that fairness has a dynamic nature and is derived from knowledgeable reasoning and found in lived ethico-political relationships.
Work package 3 - Mobility and project management incl: Relocation to Denmark where Danish language skills has facilitated fieldwork where Danes talk their native language, archive studies of Danish trade journals, and direct access to secondment’s activities. International fieldwork (interviews) carried out in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland.
Work package 4 - Empirical material includes flyer as presentation material of project, interview protocols, about 50 interview and reflective discussions with market actors (drivers, transporters, logistics service providers, transport buyers, and trade organizations), “hanging around” includes being active in the network, collect observations and prepare for more interviews/questions to perform for empirical saturation, documentary study results of debates, reports and legislation in EU, national evaluations, newspapers and trade journals. Including a co-authored manuscript with secondment, “Haulier value creation in supply chains: A strategy-as-practice perspective”.
Work package 5 – Dissemination is carried out through close collaboration with the ones that are studied. Also through CBS research depositary, a podcast, a press release, and in trade journal. Six conference papers and conference presentations have disseminated knowledge in the European Research Area, ERA, the MCS action is disseminated in seminars, two for ERA researchers and one for general public.
The planned exploitation and dissemination of results as described in DoA is implemented and updated during the action.