Organizing Cross-Functional New Product Development Projects

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März 2008



On the basis of a survey conducted with 133 project managers, Tobias Huth presents an empirical analysis of the organizational success drivers of cross-functional new product development projects. It is shown that certain antecedents should be permanently employed, while others should be managed dynamically.


Cross-functional teams in new product development

Theoretical framework for the phase-specific effects of organizational antecedents in cross-functional new product development

Research methodology and results: survey development and data collection, sample description, measures, choice of PLS as research method, general steps in the assessment of PLS-models, phase-specific effects of creativity and efficiency, effects of organizational antecedents in the early and late project stage

Managerial and theoretical implications


Dr. Tobias Huth promovierte bei Prof. Dr. Joachim Büschken am Lehrstuhl für Marketing und Absatzwirtschaft an der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Er ist als Manager Business Evaluation bei der BASF AG in Ludwigshafen tätig.


2 Cross-Functional Teams in New Product Development (p. 7)

2.1 Emergence of the Concept and Related Challenges

2.1.1 Theoretical Background for the Need to Integrate Functions

The scientific analysis of the cooperation between organizational subsystems is rooted in Lawrence &, Lorschs (1967, p. 3), theory of integration and differentiation. According to this theory, organizations are effective when they build specialized functional units and integrate them. By establishing specialized functions, the organization adapts to the uncertainties of specific sub-environments, e.g. the R&,D department adapts to the scientific/ technological environment. It focuses on resolving problems related to newly emerging and competitive technologies.

The marketing department adapts to the market environment and deals with uncertainties concerning market demand, preferences and competition (Lawrence &, Lorsch 1967, pp. 8-9, Olson et al. 2001, p. 260, Souder &, Moenaert 1992, p. 490). Such specialization enables the firm to segment uncertainty. This process is called "differentiation". At the same time, differentiation bears the danger of isolation and it ignores the interdependencies between functions in terms of resources, information and tasks (McCann &, Galbraith 1981, p. 63). Accordingly, there is need to integrate these differentiated subsystems. Lawrence &, Lorsch (1967, p. 4) define integration as "The process of achieving unity of effort among the various subsystems in the accomplishment of the organizations task".

The need for integration across functions can also be theoretically established from a resource dependency perspective (Pfeffer 1982, Pfeffer &, Salancik 1978). This view has been widely recognized to explain interactions between functional units and organizations (Gupta et al. 1986, Ruekert &, Walker 1987, Stock 2006). It assumes that when employees ha
ve less relevant experience to draw on when developing innovative new products, they depend more on other functional competencies, information and resources in order to arrive at a creative, feasible, and successful solution.

Thus, the lack of self-sufficiency creates potential functional dependencies on the parties from which critical inputs are obtained (Stock 2006). Hence, resourcedependency theory provides an additional theoretical explanation as to why cross-functional diversity may increase new product development performance.

2.1.2 From Functional Lines to Cross-functional Teams

Cross-functional project teams have not always been the organizational approach of choice when developing new products (Larson &, Gobeli 1988), and not all companies use crossfunctional teams for new product development (Huizenga 2004, p. 134). A survey by McDonough (2000, p. 229) reveals that 97% of the companies in the USA have used CFTs, and that 33% use them 100% of the time. Griffin (1997, p. 431) demonstrates that over 84% of the more innovative projects are using CFTs, and 40-50% of the surveyed companies use CFTs for less-innovative projects. However, the identified best practice companies report a more extensive use of CFTs for less-innovative projects (50-60%).
EAN: 9783834996428
Untertitel: The Phase-Specific Effects of Organizational Antecedents. 2008. Auflage. eBook. Sprache: Englisch. Dateigröße in MByte: 2.
Verlag: Gabler Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2008
Seitenanzahl: xvii185
Format: pdf eBook
Kopierschutz: Adobe DRM
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