Managing A Global Partnership Model: Lessons from the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ Program


Correspondence to: Suresh Kotha, Foster School of Business, University of Washington, 559 Paccar Hall, Stevens Way, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. E-mail:


Little research has examined the integration challenges in globally disaggregated value chains in a complex NPD effort or the tools managers use to overcome such challenges. Drawing on Boeing's 787 program, we highlight integration challenges Boeing faced and how it addressed them through recourse to partial co-location, establishing a centralized integration support center, reintegrating some activities performed by suppliers, and using its bargaining power to facilitate changes. The integration tools Boeing employed were geared toward two primary objectives: (1) gaining increased visibility of actions and visibility of knowledge networks across partner firms; and (2) motivating partners to take actions to improve visibility. These findings add empirical traction to the theoretical debate around the integration tools and the role of authority in the knowledge-based view of the firm.