Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Greenwood, G. Allen

Committee Member

Usher, M. John

Committee Member

Rais-Rohani, Masoud

Committee Member

Bullington, F. Stanley

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Industrial Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Engineering


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


Published works cite that 70-80% of the total cost of a product is established during conceptual design, and that improvements in time-to-market, quality, affordability, and global competitiveness require the development of better approaches to assist decision-making during the early stages of product design, as well as facilitate enterprise knowledge management and reuse. For many years, concurrent engineering and teaming have been viewed as “the answer” to product development woes, but studies reveal teaming is not sufficient to handle the task complexities of product development and the long-term goal of enterprise learning. The work of Roberto Verganti provides new insights with regard to reciprocal interdependencies (RIs), feedforward planning, selective anticipation in the context of improving teaming and concurrent engineering, as well as enterprise learning, knowledge management, reuse. In this research, reciprocal interdependencies management (RIM) is offered as a means of addressing product development and concurrent engineering issues occurring in the early stages of design. RIM is combination of Verganti’s concepts, a conceptual RIs structure, new RIM-application strategies, RIM-diagramming, and a conceptual RIM-based decisions support system, which come together to form a vision of a RIM-based enterprise knowledge management system. The conceptual RIM-based DSS is presented using the specific case of supporting a working-level integrated product team (IPT) engaged in the design of an aircraft bulkhead. A qualitative assessment tool is used to compare RIM to other approaches in the literature, and initial results are very favorable.