Organizing for New Product Development (NPD): Does Functional Diversity Matter?

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Organizations are increasingly integrating the diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and expertise of employees within work-team structures. As a result, using teams consisting of members with varying abilities and backgrounds is becoming a growing practice in modern organizations (Bayazit & Mannix, 2003; Cox & Blake, 1991; Evans & Carson, 2005; Horwitz, 2005; Lawrence, 1997). Diversity in teams, however, poses both opportunities and threats. If managed properly, team heterogeneity can create a significant operational synergy, whereas mismanaged team diversity can become a major barrier to optimal functioning because of intragroup conflict, miscommunication, and lack of trust (Jackson, May, & Whitney, 1995; Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale, 1999; Watson, Kumar, & Michaelsen, 1993). More recently, Cooper (2007) revealed that NPD productivity is actually in decline. The most recent figures show that overall sales from new product- a generally applied measure of NPD performance has fallen from 32.6% of total company sales in the mid 1990s to 28 percent in 2004. Many researchers have found consensus that effective implementation of cross-functional teams is critical to new product development success (e.g., Ancona & Caldwell, 1992; Cooper & Kleinschmidt, 1995; Jassawalla & Sashittal, 2000; Keller, 2001; Larson & Gobeli, 1989; Sethi 2000; Sethi et al., 2001). This study intends to investigate how functional diversity may affect new product development performance and also to incorporate top management support and recognition as a moderator in the relationship between functional diversity and NPD performance within the Malaysian context.


Keywords: Cross Functional Team, Functional Diversity, New Product Development, Task-Outcomes
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Norsiah Mat

Lecturer, Human Resource Department
Faculty of Human and Social Development, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Jitra, Kedah, Malaysia

Currently, I am attached to the University Utara Malaysia, Malaysia as a lecturer in Human Resource Management areas. I have been serving the university for almost 12 years. Diversity, or more specifically functional diversity in cross-functional team is part of my PhD work. My research interest is:diversity in organization, managing innovation, team management, creativity and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Prof. Muhamad Jantan

Dean, Social Transformation Research
Office of Research Platform, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Penang, Malaysia

I am a Professor in operations research and is currently the Research Dean for the Social Transformation Platform at the university Sains Malaysia.
Areas of interest: statistics, operations research, operations management, quality and productivity, research methods and management sciences.

Ref: D08P0201