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Component modularity, team network structure, and the attention to technical interdependencies in complex product development (RV of 2006/43/TOM/OB)

Author: Sosa, Manuel E. ; Gargiulo, Martin ; Rowles, Craig M.INSEAD Area: Organisational Behaviour ; Technology and Operations Management ; Technology and Operations Management Series: Working Paper ; 2007/08/TOM/OB Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2007.Language: EnglishDescription: 38 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: The development of complex products poses substantial operational and organizational challenges to established firms. Previous research has shown that coordinating technical interdependencies is vital for the successful development of complex products. We integrate research streams in product development and organizational theory to study the determinants of the capability of teams to attend to technical interdependencies in complex product development projects. We hypothesize that the lack of connectivity among product components (i.e., component modularity), and teams' communication network structure significantly influence their attention to critical technical interdependencies. We test our hypotheses by examining the network of components of a large commercial aircraft engine and the technical communication network structure of the organization that designs it. Our findings suggest that both component modularity and the density of the team's communication network play crucial roles in the capability of teams to attend to their critical interdependencies. Moreover, we found that communication network density is less beneficial for teams designing more modular components. Previous title: Component modularity, team network structure and the attendance to technical interdependences in complex product development - Sosa, Manuel E.;Rowles, Craig M.;Gargiul - 2006 - INSEAD Working Paper Next title: Component connectivity, team network structure and the attention to technical interfaces in complex product development (RV of 2007/08/TOM/O - Sosa, Manuel E.;Gargiulo, Martin;Rowles, - 2007 - INSEAD Working Paper
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The development of complex products poses substantial operational and organizational challenges to established firms. Previous research has shown that coordinating technical interdependencies is vital for the successful development of complex products. We integrate research streams in product development and organizational theory to study the determinants of the capability of teams to attend to technical interdependencies in complex product development projects. We hypothesize that the lack of connectivity among product components (i.e., component modularity), and teams' communication network structure significantly influence their attention to critical technical interdependencies. We test our hypotheses by examining the network of components of a large commercial aircraft engine and the technical communication network structure of the organization that designs it. Our findings suggest that both component modularity and the density of the team's communication network play crucial roles in the capability of teams to attend to their critical interdependencies. Moreover, we found that communication network density is less beneficial for teams designing more modular components.

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