Product development team formation: effects of organizational- and product-related factors

  • Mohsen Jafari Songhori
  • Madjid TavanaEmail author
  • Takao Terano


Although the performance of new product development (PD) is dependent on the structure and formation of design teams, effective configuration of the PD teams remains largely unexplored. According to social network research, teams are often organized in either closely connected or sparse structure. We conceptualize PD projects as collective problem-solving endeavors and develop a computational model of these projects where a number of designers conduct search over an NK(C) performance landscape. We group the designers in teams with closely connected or sparse structure. We also consider various organizational integration capabilities (i.e., coordinated operations, and common principles) as well as interaction networks among the teams (i.e., acyclical, cyclical, and modular). We use simulation and compare the design performance of teams with different configurations. Our results indicate that the extent by which organizations can effectively integrate design solutions determines the team structure and is likely to result in higher development performance. In addition, the design performance of strategies that employ both closely connected and sparse teams is contrasted with the strategies that use either of these structures. Regardless of the integration capabilities of the PD projects, strategies that simultaneously utilize both closely connected and sparse teams are likely to achieve higher development performance than strategies that only use teams with one particular structure.


Product development projects NK(C) landscape Team structure Team assembly Agent-based simulation 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their insightful comments and suggestions. Dr. Madjid Tavana is grateful for the partial support he received from the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR19-13946S) for this research.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 69 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Business Systems and Analytics DepartmentLa Salle UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Business Information Systems Department, Faculty of Business Administration and EconomicsUniversity of PaderbornPaderbornGermany
  4. 4.Department of Computer ScienceTokyo Institute of TechnologyKanagawaJapan

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