Coordination mechanisms in cross-functional teams: a product design perspective
Marketing research has shown that cross-functional team structures are not a universal panacea for shortening development times or improving success rates. Marketing research has nonetheless included the claim that marketing-led teams result in superior performance in cross-functional teamwork, in comparison with sales-led or design-led structures. The premise has been that marketing structures are more participative, more efficient, and more effective than sales-led or design-led structures. This paper presents a more nuanced view. Analysing factors such as contingency, closure, and attitude, the paper argues that the effectiveness of any one functional base or organisational arrangement depends on the customers and on the technologies by which these customers are served. On the basis of a literature review and five case studies, the paper specifies why and how cross-functional teams should be design-led when the task is to open up new ways of envisioning or to generate new ideas for the future.
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