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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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3 Systematic Design Approach and Intrateam and ExtrateamProblem-Solving Communication in Multi-Organization, Multi-TeamProjects 37


37 3 Systematic Design Approach and Intrateam and Extrateam Problem-Solving Communication in Multi-Organization, Multi-Team Projects 3.1 Introduction As discussed in the previous chapter, problem-solving communication within and between the teams of MOMT projects has an influence on team effectiveness as well as on team efficiency. A systematic design approach in the NPD process is required to structure and facilitate this communication for solving the complex design tasks according to the performance requirements. Therefore, in this chapter the following two sub-questions are studied: 2a) What is the influence of a systematic design approach on intrateam problem-solving communication in MOMT projects? 2b) What is the influence of a systematic design approach on extrateam problem-solving communication in MOMT projects? Applying systematic design principles9, the complexity can be handled (Pahl and Beitz, 1992), and activities and decisions can be directed during the design process in order to improve performance (Oosterman, 2001). In MOMT projects, since very frequent communication within and especially with other teams will be negative for team performance – as hypothesized in Chapter 2 – the communication need has to be reduced. In general, communication should mainly take place within teams to exchange information and knowledge to solve the assigned design problems. This means the intrateam communication process needs to be facilitated in the solution-finding and solution-selection process. In the following, systematic design principles that reduce the intrateam and extrateam communication need and facilitate the required intrateam communication process, and thereby influence the communication variables discussed in the previous chapter, are introduced. 9 Leenders...

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