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Product Development Team Stability And New Product Advantage: The Role Of Decision-Making Processes

Rebecca J. Slotegraaf, K. Atuahene-Gima
Published 2011 ·

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Innovation scholars have long touted the value of cross-functional teams, and though firms have embraced a cross-functional design in their new product development (NPD) teams, these teams continue to face challenges. Stability in an NPD team may offer important advantages for decision making; however, its effectiveness as a structural coordination mechanism remains largely unexplored. Therefore, to offer insight into the value of NPD team stability, the authors develop a process-based model that examines the extent to which stability influences certain decision-making processes, which in turn influence new product advantage. They examine these relationships with a sample of cross-functional NPD project teams from 208 high-technology firms. The results reveal that the degree of stability in an NPD project team has a curvilinear relationship to team-level debate and decision-making comprehensiveness. In turn, whereas debate is positively related to decision comprehensiveness, decision comprehensiveness is positively related to new product advantage only at high levels. These curvilinear patterns shed light on anecdotal evidence that currently attributes success to both stable and unstable project teams.
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