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Innovation at Large

Managing Multi-Organization, Multi-Team Projects


Johanna Schönrok

Due to increasing complexity in new product development multi-organization, multi-team (MOMT) projects are becoming more common. They are formed in different industries like computer, automotive, aircraft, and space research. Since many of these projects still fail, more knowledge on the influences on performance in and of such projects is required in order to be able to manage them successfully. The author examines the influences of communication within and between teams on team and project performance, which in turn depends on applied design principles that structure and facilitate that information flow. Quantitative and qualitative analyses reveal that there are differential relations on the team and project level as well as for effectiveness and efficiency. Managerial implications are given of how to structure MOMT projects and the design problem-solving process and thereby facilitate the information flow within and between teams in order to make the teams and projects successful.


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2 Intrateam and Extrateam Problem-Solving Communication and TeamPerformance in Multi-Organization, Multi-Team Projects 13


13 2 Intrateam and Extrateam Problem-Solving Communication and Team Performance in Multi-Organization, Multi-Team Projects 2.1 Introduction In this chapter a closer look is taken at the first relation of the conceptual model on a local level – the influence of problem-solving communication on team performance in MOMT projects. Research has shown that communication has an influence on team performance (e.g., Allen, 1977; Ancona and Caldwell, 1992a,b; Dougherty, 1992; Hoegl et al., 2004; Katz, 1982; Keller, 1986, 1994; Kratzer, 2001; Leenders et al., 2003; Rasker, 2002). But since these studies were mainly conducted in small- and medium-scale organizations on different communication contents, their results cannot be easily transferred to complex organizations like MOMT projects where complex new products are developed. As described in Chapter 1, to successfully handle complexity, problem-solving communication within and between the teams is crucial. As Meyer (1993) states, teams are directly responsible for gathering, processing, and using information in the product and process development in order to meet the time, quality, and cost targets. Therefore, here the central research sub-questions are: 1a) What is the influence of intrateam problem-solving communication on team performance in MOMT projects? 1b) What is the influence of extrateam problem-solving communication on team performance in MOMT projects? In order to be able to study these relations for MOMT projects, a theoretical basis for hypotheses development is needed that meets the following requirements: (1) the information exchange to solve design problems (problem-solving communication) has to be analyzed (2) on different levels (intrateam and extrateam)...

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