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Withdrawal of Team Autonomy During Concurrent Engineering

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Author Info

  • Donald Gerwin

    (School of Business and Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6)

  • Linda Moffat

    (School of Business and Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6)

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    Abstract

    Team autonomy is an essential characteristic of cross-functional teams engaged in concurrent engineering. At the same time it is a characteristic that North American firms have considerable difficulty in successfully implementing. Delegating a good deal of decision making to teams is often counteracted by processes that during a new product program withdraw some of a team's autonomy or discretion. Data from 53 cross-functional product development teams in 14 firms indicated that withdrawing autonomy is negatively correlated with both task and process aspects of team performance. The determinants of withdrawing discretion include lack of a shared understanding of the development process, environmental change, and lack of managerial "buy-in" to team autonomy. Consequently, successful implementation of team autonomy, through mitigating withdrawal of discretion, requires a clear well-communicated model of the development process, a freezing of design revisions, and policies that encourage managers to support the team rather than interfere in its decision making.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.43.9.1275
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 43 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 9 (September)
    Pages: 1275-1287

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:9:p:1275-1287

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    Related research

    Keywords: autonomy; cross-functional teams; concurrent engineering; empowerment; new product development;

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    Cited by:
    1. Friebel, Guido & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2007. "Team Governance: Empowerment or Hierarchical Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 6575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Gerwin, Donald, 1999. "Team empowerment in new product development," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 29-36.
    3. S. M. M. Raza Naqvi & Nousheen Kanwal & Maria Ishtiaq & Mohsin Ali, 2013. "Impact Of Job Autonomy On Organizational Commitment: Moderating Role Of Job Satisfaction In Tobacco Industry Of Pakistan," Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, Far East Research Centre, vol. 12(5), pages 57-72, July.

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