Building Flexibility Into Production Development Terms : Role Of Structural Antecedents On The Efficiency Of The Teams
Prasad, Srikanth Krishna
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How to make teams Flexible without sacrificing their Efficiency? This is an important question especially in the context of Product Development (PD) organizations, as they operate in a dynamic environment and are highly team-driven. The answer to this question lies in understanding the role of all individual constituents that contribute to building Team Flexibility. One such constituent is teams’ Structure. This research work examines the role of Structural antecedents in building Flexibility into PD teams. This study considers PD Team Flexibility as a means to deal with both change and uncertainty. A conceptual framework of structural practices was developed to reflect this perspective. An ex-post facto survey based research design with Convenient Sampling technique was adopted for this study. Data was collected from 108 PD teams (both public and private sector) about their current structural practices, complexity of product development activity and their performances. The information collected from these teams was analysed to determine the key factors which would result in building Team Flexibility. The analysis of the data resulted in producing five antecedents. The results from the study suggest that, in general, designing structural practices centered on team ‘Participation and Control’ and ‘Time Bound Formalization’ antecedents helps in simultaneously achieving high Flexibility and Efficiency. The result also hints at the possibility of Large teams achieving both Flexibility and Efficiency with the introduction of appropriate practices designed around these antecedents. A caveat to the above claim is that complexity of PD activity would moderate the effectiveness of these antecedents and hence should be borne in mind before implementing them.
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