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Organizing Innovation Complementarities between Cross-Functional Teams


  • James H. Love
  • Stephen Roper
  • Giovanni Mangiarotti


Cross-functional teams play a potentially important part in the innovation process enabling knowledge sharing, the development of trust and overcoming spatial and organizational barriers. Using a supermodularity approach, we focus on potential complementarities which may arise when cross-functional teams are used in different elements of the innovation process in UK and German manufacturing plants. Using optimal combinations of cross-functional teams in the innovation process increases innovation success in the UK by 29.5 per cent compared to 9.5 per cent in Germany. Patterns of complementarity are complex, however, but are more uniform in the UK than in Germany. The most uniform complementarities are between product design and development and production engineering, with little synergy evident between the more technical phases of the innovation process and the development of marketing strategy. In strategic terms, our results suggest the value of using cross-functional teams for the more technical elements of the innovation process but that the development of marketing strategy should remain the domain of specialists.

Suggested Citation

  • James H. Love & Stephen Roper & Giovanni Mangiarotti, 2006. "Organizing Innovation Complementarities between Cross-Functional Teams," DRUID Working Papers 06-27, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:06-27

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sterlacchini Alessandro, 2004. "Ricerca e alta tecnologia in Italia: le basi per un rilancio," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 4, pages 675-706.
    2. Dooley, J J, 1998. "Unintended consequences: energy R&D in a deregulated energy market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 547-555, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Rammer & Dirk Czarnitzki & Alfred Spielkamp, 2009. "Innovation success of non-R&D-performers: substituting technology by management in SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 35-58, June.
    2. Roper, Stephen & Du, Jun & Love, James H., 2008. "Modelling the innovation value chain," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 961-977, July.
    3. Cuijpers, Maarten & Guenter, Hannes & Hussinger, Katrin, 2011. "Costs and benefits of inter-departmental innovation collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 565-575, May.
    4. Battisti, Giuliana & Iona, Alfonsina, 2009. "The intra-firm diffusion of complementary innovations: Evidence from the adoption of management practices by British establishments," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1326-1339, October.

    More about this item


    Innovation; cross-functional terms; complementarities; UK; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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