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Cooperation in interdisciplinary R&D-teams

: Steinheider, B.

Roller, D.:
Simultaneous Engineering and Rapid Product Development
Epsom: ISATA-Düsseldorf Trade Fair, 2000 (Automotive and transportation technology. International Symposium on Automotive Technology and Automation 2000)
ISBN: 1-902856-13-9
International Symposium on Automotive Technology and Automation (ISATA) <33, 2000, Dublin>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAO ()

The growing competitive pressure and the increase in product complexity requires new technologies and new organisational concepts for product development. In order to develop products, interdisciplinary teams of experts with different backgrounds work together using rapid prototyping and rapid product design. Besides communication and coordination within the team, especially the partly integration of their rather separate fields of knowledge is problematic. In this paper, we present a model for cooperation consisting of the processes of communication, coordination and knowledge sharing. This model has been validated in a questionnaire study with 40 members of interdisciplinary research & development teams. It could be shown that difficulties in team work wore more often attributed to problems in knowledge sharing than to problems with communication or coordination. In a follow-up study, this model has been further validated by investigating companies using Rapid Prototyping. It could be shown that only problems in knowledge sharing decreased satisfaction with the performance of R & D teams in terms of cost, time and quality, whereas there were no associations between problems in communication or coordination on the outcome. These results underline the importance of knowledge sharing and the need to develop methods and strategies to support this process in interdisciplinary cooperation.