An Examination of Collaboration in High-Technology New Product Development Processes

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For more than a decade, researchers have explored the benefits of eliminating organizational boundaries between participants in the new product development (NPD) process. In turn, companies have revamped their NPD processes and organizational structures to deploy cross-functional teams. These efforts toward interfunctional integration have produced a more responsive NPD process, but they don’t represent the endgame in the quest for more effective NPD. What’s next after the interfunctional walls come down?

Pointing out that many high-tech firms have already taken such steps as integrating customers and suppliers into the NPD process, Avan Jassawalla and Hemant Sashittal suggest that such firms need to go beyond integration and start thinking in terms of collaboration. Using information from a study of 10 high-tech industrial firms, they identify factors that seem to increase cross-functional collaboration in NPD, and they develop a conceptual framework that relates those factors to the level of cross-functional collaboration achieved in the NPD process.


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