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The roles of R&D team leaders in Korea: a contingent approach

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This study empirically examines the relationship between the role of R&D project leaders and their team performance using data from 87 project teams in 6 R&D organizations in Korea. The results reveal that:

(1) R&D project leaders played five different roles in performing their jobs – strategic planner, team builder, gatekeeper, technical expert, and champion;

(2) All but the champion role of a leader is positively related with project team performance;

(3) However, this relationship between the role of leader and project team performance varies according to the characteristics of R&D project teams and their tasks.

Specifically, it becomes important for a leader to focus less on the team building role as the team gets older. The team building role of a leader, however, is more important for higher performance of relatively certain R&D projects, while for uncertain R&D projects, the strategic planning role appears to be more crucial. Based on these results, this study discusses several managerial and theoretical issues related to the role of a leader in R&D project teams.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Management, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology(KAIST), 207–43, Chungryangri-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul. 130–012, Korea.

Publication date: 1999-04-01

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