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Coordination at different stages of the product design process

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This paper addresses the following question: how does the coordination challenge faced by managers change over the life of time bound projects such as product design. We use coordination structure, an approach to modeling organizational situations that highlights concurrent responsibility interdependencies rather than the more traditional task interdependencies. We explain coordination structure and use it to capture the responsibility interdependencies in a sample of complex system design projects drawn from two different organizations. We use this data: to illustrate the differences possible in the responsibility interdependencies that can exist within design projects from different organizations and at different project key points; to identify a set of four basic modules, or groupings, of responsibility interdependencies useful for modeling design organizations; and to generate a set of testable hypotheses on how the coordination challenge faced by project managers can vary between organizations and over project key points.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Business and Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, 2: Andersen Consulting

Publication date: October 1, 1998

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