Organizing for New Product Development (NPD): Does Functional Diversity Matter?
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
Lecturer, Human Resource Department
Prof. Muhamad Jantan
Dean, Social Transformation Research
Areas of interest: statistics, operations research, operations management, quality and productivity, research methods and management sciences.