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Withdrawal of Team Autonomy During Concurrent Engineering


  • 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)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Gerwin & Linda Moffat, 1997. "Withdrawal of Team Autonomy During Concurrent Engineering," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(9), pages 1275-1287, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:9:p:1275-1287
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.43.9.1275

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    Cited by:

    1. Friebel, Guido & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2011. "Team governance: Empowerment or hierarchical control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13.
    2. Ayşe Günsel & Atif Açikgöz, 2013. "The Effects of Team Flexibility and Emotional Intelligence on Software Development Performance," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 359-377, March.
    3. Gerwin, Donald, 1999. "Team empowerment in new product development," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 29-36.
    4. Vikas A. Aggarwal & David H. Hsu & Andy Wu, 2020. "Organizing Knowledge Production Teams Within Firms for Innovation," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 5(1), pages 1-16, March.
    5. Donald Gerwin & Nicholas J. Barrowman, 2002. "An Evaluation of Research on Integrated Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 938-953, July.
    6. Likoebe M. Maruping & Viswanath Venkatesh & Ritu Agarwal, 2009. "A Control Theory Perspective on Agile Methodology Use and Changing User Requirements," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 377-399, September.
    7. Lin, Meizhen & Wu, Xiaoyi & Ling, Qian, 2017. "Assessing the effectiveness of empowerment on service quality: A multi-level study of Chinese tourism firms," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 411-425.
    8. Francis C. Anyim & Oluseyi A. Shadare & Lateef A. Adio, 2020. "Work-Life Balance and Employee Performance in Selected Insurance Companies in Lagos State," Academic Journal of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance, Banking and Accountancy Bucharest,"Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University Bucharest, vol. 6(2), pages 88-95, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Dziallas, Marisa & Blind, Knut, 2019. "Innovation indicators throughout the innovation process: An extensive literature analysis," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 80, pages 3-29.


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