Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study compared the experiences that 30 Canadian plants had with their first robots, focusing on the prior technical experience of the people who worked on the robot projects and the differences this experience made in project results. The study considered the prior experience of both the system developers and those responsible for maintenance.;Implementation, the process by which innovative systems are adapted and integrated into an organization, is poorly understood. The process may require changes throughout the organization. The organization's varied abilities to deal with these changes create a complicated picture of the factors that affect implementation results. This study investigated a relatively uncomplicated type of implementation that provides a clear picture of one important factor. Since success in robot adoptions depends greatly on making good technical choices, such projects highlight how technical skills and design choices affect new technology implementations.;Operational measures were developed for the implementation team's prior experience with similar technologies, its use of project management procedures, the production department's experience with similar technologies, robot system complexity and use of newly developed technology. These measures were compared to the robot system's startup time, the proportion of scheduled operating time that the system was operable and the managers' overall satisfaction with the project.;To obtain data, managers in thirty plants that had recently installed their first robot systems were interviewed.;The study found that systems developed by more experienced technical staff and suppliers started up quicker but eventually were no more reliable than systems developed by inexperienced teams. Systems were more reliable in plants where production crews had experience with similar technologies, although this experience did not reduce startup durations. Overall, use of project management procedures had no discernible impact but use of supplier management techniques was significantly related to greater reliability. More complex systems took longer to start up and were less reliable. However, these technical results had little discernible effect on managers' satisfaction with their projects.



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