Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Understanding the communication process in product development organizations has been recognized as a key element to improve product development performance. It is particularly interesting to study information exchanges in geographically distributed product development teams because of the highly interdependent nature of design organizations. Additionally, the use of electronic-based communication media has changed how development teams communicate.By studying the way product development teams use various communication media (face-to-face, telephone and email), the authors assess how the process of exchanging technical information is influenced by factors such as geographic dispersion, organizational bonds, and degree of team interdependence.They present a model that allows them to formulate several hypotheses about how these factors influence both communication frequency and media choice. They use empirical evidence from the telecommunications industry to test their hypotheses.They confirm previous results about the obstructive influence of distance on technical communication. However, they found that such negative effects may be mitigated by other factors such as the recognizing of highly interdependent team members, the existence of strong organizational bonds, and the use of electronic communication media.