Balancing creativity and time efficiency in multi-team R&D projects: the alignment of formal and informal networks

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The business world is denoted by an increasing number of multi-team research and development (R&D) projects, however, managerial knowledge about how to run them successfully is scarce. The present study attempts to shed light at this kind of projects by investigating the alignment of formal and informal network structures and their effect on the challenge to balance project creativity and time efficiency. In order to analyze this issue data in two multi-team R&D projects in space industry are collected. There are two intriguing findings that are partly contradicting the state-of-the-art knowledge. First, formally ascribed design interfaces and informal communication networks overlap only marginally because the informal communication networks are characterized by many more linkages. Second, the weak overlap between formally ascribed design interfaces and the informal communication networks is inversely U-shaped associated with the team's creativity, whereas it negatively impacts the team's time efficiency.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands., Email: 2: Berlin University of Technology, Berlin, Germany., Email: 3: Aarhus School of Business, The University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark., Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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