This paper identifies the critical factors of cross-functional cooperation for design teams in new product development (NPD) by means of a survey of 243 cross-functional team managers at consumer electronics firms.
Relevance to Design Practice – This empirical study defines the key success factors for achieving effective cross-functional teamwork with design teams in NPD and provides evidence, using correlation analysis, of the positive impact of these factors on cooperative work performance. Bo-Young Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Design Management Department at Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies. Bum Kyu Kang is an Assistant Professor in the Design School at Dongseo University, South Korea. In-house designers have traditionally been viewed as a support group within an organization rather than as part of a managerial process or a business resource. Against this background, companies are seeking new criteria for managing design teams in a cooperative work environment.
To help overcome this limitation, this study examines cross-functional cooperation with design teams as an important issue in improving the process and outcome of NPD. The role of design in business has generally been described as a professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications to optimize the function, value and appearance of corporate products. In the past, designers were responsible for the form and the visual aspects of a product: after making significant decisions in the upstream process, the role of design was rarely delineated in representations of the product development process.
The design team is now in a position to suggest the various alternative design treatments to be considered in cooperation with other functional teams.
Nevertheless, many companies tend not to think about how they can integrate their other departments with their product design teams (Paton, 2005): they believe that the impact of integrating the design process in NPD performance is conditional.
On the other hand, in order to play an integrative role in overall product development, design teams need to take into consideration the contributions of other special functional groups (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1995). Secondly, as with the marketing interface, it is recommended that there should also be regular contact between design and R&D.
Finally, companies are increasingly recognizing that integrating design and manufacturing contributes to improved product quality, lower costs, and acceleration of the product development process (Coughlan, 2002). In this view, the design process can be seen as a reiteration of the need for multiple convergent work in NPD. For more than a decade, researchers have explored the benefits of eliminating organizational boundaries between participants in the NPD process (see Appendix 1). A survey of 43 Fortune 500 companies in the US revealed six major obstacles impeding the effectiveness of cross-functional cooperative teamwork.
The research presented herein aims to empirically explore the nature of cross-functional cooperation with design teams within organizations. First, to find existing factors that could be used as independent variables for the quantitative research, the related empirical research results were analyzed to reveal a substantial list of factors applicable to cross-functional cooperation in NPD. Second, following the recommendation of Song and Parry (1996), the list of 24 factors includes constructs and corresponding measurement items from the literature review needed to gather retrospective data based on a professional focus group panel (see Table 3). In the third phase, a total 105 factors (81 factors drawn from the literature and the 24 factors drawn from the interviews) was refined to 24 factors by using clustering and coding terms such as those used in synthesis analysis. Finally, based on these variables, the quantitative research was undertaken using a questionnaire survey to determine the positive influence of design teams on cross-functional teamwork in NPD.
For the data analysis, this research first used the analysis of principal components to identify the factors from the empirical analysis. Most significantly, this research supported the use of measurement tools used in product development performance as a means to define the independent variables of the analysis. The results of factor analysis (using the extraction method of principal component analysis) suggested 11 factors as being the most reasonable factor groups to consider as affecting cross-functional cooperation among the 24 factors in descending order of importance. Table 5 presents the arithmetic mean—the sum of all the members on the list divided by the number of items on the list—and the standard deviation, which describes the spread of the data.
In Table 5, it can be seen that “unified culture with partners,” “choosing suitable partners” and “proper organizational culture” are important success factors for the design group.
To understand the significant factors in more detail, the factor differences between a design group (design-based managers) and a non-design group (marketing and engineering-based managers) were analyzed.
This research evaluated the data through T-test analysis, which was used to prove the validity of the value difference of each group and to determine whether there was a significant difference between the two sets of scores.
Based on the T-test results, Figure 2 shows the eight comparative critical factors between the design group and the non-design group. It has been verified that there is a positive linear relationship between the factors and performance in NPD. These 11 factors were found by means of giving a criterion of 95% probability of multiple regression analysis within a hierarchical method. By analysis of each factor, this study suggests the evident correlations and coefficients between the factors and performance.
Overall, the findings from this analysis show that unifying the common culture between the design group and other functional groups promotes high-performance success, and cross-functional cooperation in NPD with design teams makes for high performance with regard to time effectiveness. The results of this study identify the success factors for cross-functional cooperation in NPD and determine the positive impact of these factors on product development performance. Different teams or departments with different roles that encounter conflicts often try to stick to their own viewpoints and aims.
The significance of this research may alter to some degree from factor to factor and among different industries and companies, because the research was conducted with a specific focus on the consumer electronics industry sector. So, today, at the best organizations, there is thoughtful consideration about how to position leadership and leadership development to align with business strategy, intentional deliberation about how many leaders and at what levels with what skills are needed where and greater focus on the development opportunities and experiences in which leaders are developed. Subscribers to Bersin by Deloitte have access to an extensive library of research materials. This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services.
As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. In this and the next three blogs, we will review the performance management cycle and discuss how competencies play a key role at each stage. In the next three blogs, we will discuss each stage of the performance cycle in more depth and how competencies play a vital role at each stage. We have grown our brand on the continued development of added value and best value solutions for our clients. An engaging leadership approach supports a continuous learning culture within an organization.
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This entry was posted in Executive Leadership Training, Improving Team Performance, Leadership Training Development, Management Leadership Training and tagged effective leadership styles, engaging leadership, leadership development. Scholars have recently suggested that the industrial design function is adopting a more prominent position in new product development as a means to create successful business, but the current nature of the design processes and the roles of various functional groups involved in NPD are areas that are under-investigated: limited empirical research has been done. Copyright for this article is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the International Journal of Design. She has worked in business consulting as a team manager with IDS & Associates Consulting Company. In addition, the role of a design team has usually been part of a numerical and cultural minority process within a firm (Coughlan, 2002; Rassam, 2005).
The complexity of the product or of the conceptual process in NPD requires working with an in-house design team in order to reduce uncertainties associated with long delays, high costs, and insufficient attention (Oakley, 1990). To create the right climate for cross-functional teamwork that includes a design team, managers first need to rely on the influence of the integrated design team in the NPD process. In the following sections, this paper reviews the role and process of design as it relates to cross-functional cooperation in NPD and the existing critical factors affecting cross-functional cooperation in NPD. Depending on which stage of the NPD process a design team is involved in, its role can range from helping in the generation and ideation of innovative product concepts to defining and representing the form (including the aesthetics) given to an emerging product (Veryzer and Mozota, 2005).
However, in a customer-based business paradigm, an understanding of costumers and new market trends is driving the role of the in-house design team to be one that is involved in developing the emotional dimensions of products and services (Leonard-Barton & Rayport, 1997). Moreover, the design team can undertake a leadership role in the NPD process, acting as a catalyst in the process of making efficient, effective and smooth decisions along with other functional specialists in an environment of cross-functional cooperation (CFC) (Rothwell & Whiston, 1990). But design can be a bridge between technological expertise and customer needs in the NPD process and a central activity connected with other functions.
An integrated design team is highly interdependent, working with other corporate teams in its endeavors, and necessitates close interfacing with marketing, production, R&D (research and development), and other groups (Mozota, 2003). First, some researchers have explored the design and marketing interface and have concluded that there ought to be continuous interaction between marketing and design. Designers need to be able to consult with R&D personnel, who themselves also need to communicate with groups involved in market research and in new product marketing that may be developed in the future (Hopkins, 1981).
Furthermore, even if the cross-functional team is used for many different team types, the principal role of the design team may be to act as a liaison between these functional teams in the collaborative relationships among various functional groups (Mozota, 2003).
Griffin (1997) found that effective implementation of cross-functional teams “is crucial to success,” but commented, “we have not yet been able to define the organization and infrastructure which best supports effective multifunctional teams over time and across projects.” This review sets out to explore the critical success factors for cross-functional teamwork. The specific objectives are (1) to identify the critical success factors in cross-functional cooperation with design teams in new product development; and (2) to determine the positive impact of these factors through correlation analysis on product development performance.

In developing each research method, the study embraced the grounded theory approach, a method for discovering theories or concepts directly from the data (Tayler & Bogdan, 1984).
However, no critical success factors for cross-functional cooperation with design teams were discovered.
To verify the factors, an interview survey was conducted of 15 design-based managers of cross-functional NPD teams at eight global consumer electronics companies.
This analysis was undertaken to simplify the large number of factors (24 in all) that still showed a relationship with each other (see Appendix 2): these 24 factors were highlighted as contributory factors affecting CFC with design teams in NPD.
In the second step, an independent T-test analysis was used to determine the differences in opinion regarding the degree of importance of each factor between the design managers (the design group) and the engineering and marketing managers (the non-design groups). In these results, there is no doubt that “relationships” and “culture” are the most important issues for designers when it comes to cross-functional cooperation, culture meaning common language and common geographic and ethnological conditions in the organization. This in turn may serve as a useful guide for firms in the process of implementing a cooperative NPD system. Most importantly, the critical factors for the design group were “unified culture with partners,” “choosing suitable partners,” and “proper organizational culture.” For the non-design group, “unified vision and goals,” “building trust and cohesion,” and “choosing suitable partners” were in the top ranking. To apply this hypothesis to the relationship between a design team and other groups, multiple regression analysis with a forward method was used.
From the output of these correlation values, we can conclude that there is a positive correlation between the factors and performance. For improving time performance in cross-functional cooperation with design teams, the important factors are “interaction between partners” and “working rationally.” “Managerial support” is the most important factor in improving cost performance.
These findings indicate that the elements of cooperation with a design team correlate to greater performance success, providing tentative evidence that the NPD process has a role as a component of integration with a design team, though this role may be secondary to cooperation activities. The relationships among design, marketing, and other disciplines involved in NPD are complex; how these functions are integrated in new product development can have a significant impact on the product that ultimately results from the process, and thus on the product’s subsequent success or failure.
Different departments seek different objectives, ones which do not necessarily coincide with the objectives set out for the firm: consequently, the parties are unable to come to an understanding and can only argue with each other. However, there is no doubt that the effective implementation of cross-functional teams is critical to new product success. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. They were non-strategic and events in time – traditional face-to-face classroom instruction intended to develop individual leaders’ skills. One clear development trend is the increasing use and recognition of potency of a variety of development experiences like job rotations, action learning, coaching, mentoring and 360-degree feedback. The Framework is meant to help organizations understand leadership development in today’s business climate and where it fits into the broader context of talent management. Reports and other research materials dated earlier than January 1, 2013 were created by Bersin & Associates LLC, prior to the acquisition of substantially all of the company's assets by Deloitte Consulting LLP, and bear the Bersin brand. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Central to this approach are our quality management procedures, which incorporate regular and robust review of feedback received against the activities that we undertake.
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This is because members of the group find consistent support from their leaders with good management skills and engaging leadership strength. Leaders with this kind of approach create a bridge for better communication and interaction with their team. The empirical research available defines eleven critical success factors for the achievement of effective cross-functional teamwork with design teams in NPD and provides evidence of the positive relationships of these factors with cooperative work performance. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. She has also worked for IPS (The Institute of Industrial Policy Study) as a senior researcher. Furthermore, companies are exploring means to solve the problem of unclear relationships and distinctions between design teams and other groups in order to avoid serious consequences such as financial losses, wasted time, and failed NPD projects.
However, there are not many existing references that can be used to evaluate effective design cooperation or performance within cross-functional teamwork. Following that, empirical research based on a cross-section of departments in global consumer electronics organizations will be discussed. But, nowadays, design activity is essentially characterized as involving compromise, choice, creativity and complexity in the new product development process.
Furthermore, the current role of design in NPD is that of an integrator, as it is subsumed in many of the activities that make up the process and thus must negotiate with other functional specialists in order to achieve successful new product development (Perks, Cooper, & Jones, 2005). Moreover, the design process results in new information gained through the synthesis, analysis and creative work that are undertaken as part of an integrated value-adding process (Hart, 1995). For these reasons, the design process should be included in any cross-functional collaboration, as it is a process that calls for combining diverse information from various functional groups.
Not only do designers need to know the product, the competition, the target market and the price, they also need information on the characteristics of the consumer and to be regularly updated on changes in consumer needs.
The interview research was primarily used to discover the practical factors affecting successful CFC in the design teams of electronic consumer product companies.
Finally, to determine the contribution of the design team toward the success of cross-functional teamwork in NPD, regression and correlation analyses were used. Measures to determine the given constructs of the critical success factors and performance were thus adapted from previous studies concerning cross-functional cooperation in NPD.
To build a good relationship and a common culture with others, a designer needs to understand the other languages used in managerial situations in the company. The primary contribution of this study is the empirical identification of critical success factors for cross-functional cooperation in NPD, and the identification of differences in critical factors that companies need to consider for a design group in the CFC process compared with a non-design group. From Table 6, it can be seen that “unified culture with partners” and “choosing suitable partners” were the most important CSFs for both groups. In the forward method, the first variable considered for entry into the equation is the one with the largest positive or negative correlation with the dependent variable. The correlation between each paired factor affecting cross-functional cooperation can be found from the correlation values in Table 8. Finally, the results show that high-quality design performance comes from “building trust and cohesion” and “unified vision and goals” in cross-functional cooperation of NPD. This evidence also tentatively supports the proposed multidimensional view of integration with a design team. To overcome this kind of conflict situation, managers have to set up rules that will motivate employees around a common vision and goal, and to define a clear project strategy and a role for each function at each step. Managing new product development: Some alternative ways to organize the work of technical specialists. Cross-functional co-operation and networking in industrial settings—With special focus on the product realization process. Patterns of communication among marketing, engineering and manufacturing: A comparison between two new product teams.
PDMA research on new product development practices: Updating trends and benchmarking best practices. Factors affecting the process of collaboration product development: A study of UK manufactures of information and communications technology products. Characterizing the role of design in new product development: An empirically derived taxonomy. Bersin members know that modern leadership development is considered a strategic lever and the most effective organizations leverage it to ensure achievement of their business goals. Effective leader development today means bringing diverse development experiences to the leader, not taking the leader from his work to learn. Materials dated from January 1, 2013 to the present were created by Deloitte Consulting LLP and bear the Bersin by Deloitte brand. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. This allows our prospective clients to form an opinion of the service that they can expect. Leadership approaches that can be engaging are those that are directed towards innovative strategies and productivity, consistent and supportive. Engaging leadership approaches also allow leaders to recognize and learn from mistakes and failures and become smarter and more effective in future decisions.
An organization that can combine an engaging leadership approach with good management skills can foster trust, build motivation, and improve performance.
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She has published two books in South Korea, Design Revolution (2006) and Design Marketing (2007), and several papers, and has presented her works in international conferences.

This means that the importance of efficiently managed design to new product success is becoming more widely recognized (Bruce & Bessant, 2002) and is fueling a new level of interactions between design and other functions involved in NPD. Finally, eleven critical success factors of cross-functional teamwork involving a design function will be identified and results presented showing the positive impact of these factors on the performance effectiveness of NPD.
Thus, the responses of these design teams involve important issues that relate to achieving high NPD performance.
This information must be clearly presented and available at all times, and must be appropriate to the needs of the designers (Slade, 1989).
Such knowledge feeds the creative process and enables designers to develop innovative and leading-edge products. The research explored the performance measurement items for design teams and design management in practice by means of this interview survey.
The questionnaire was pre-tested by six academic experts in design management and eight design managers who work for consumer electronics firms. However, existing measurement tools focus very much on the strategic level, with minimal involvement from the designers and developers of the products, and there is little evidence of work that examines performance in the context of product design and product design development (Veryzer, 1998).Because of this limitation, this study followed the research results of Pawar and Driva (1999), who present five categories of measurement items—time, cost, quality, flexibility, and management—from 30 possible items for measuring the performance of product design project teams. The degree of importance of each factor affecting CFC was calculated by means of the mean value of each factor affecting cross-functional cooperation, which then produced the priority given to each item.
In the 1970s, anecdotal evidence indicated that perceived NPD project “success” depended more on behavioral skills than technical skills.
In the case of the design group, the design managers believed that “choosing suitable partners” made for successful cross-functional cooperation in NPD. Based on the descriptive statistics of this multiple regression analysis, Table 7 shows that time performance accounts for 29.8% of variability with regard to satisfactory CFC with design teams.
This article examines the relationships and the design influence of cross-functional teamwork in the NPD process. To manage cooperation within design teams, managers need to rely on the informal power or influence that the integrated design group has developed within the firm. To support these challenges, this paper suggests the significance and validity of using the design function in cross-functional teamwork and indicates what the critical issues are when it comes to managing the integrated design team in an atmosphere of cooperation. Informing design decision-making in new product development: Firming up the fuzzy front end. Interdepartmental integration: A definition with implications for product development performance.
An empirical study of the relationships among co-location, integration, performance, and satisfaction.
Perceptual differences in interdependence, conflict, and conflict resolution between design and other functions involved in new product development. Competitive advantage through design tools and practices: Integrating design and manufacturing for competitive advantage. Leadership development practices based on this transformed paradigm institutionalize development as an ongoing initiative for all leader levels. Moller Maersk, FM Global, Liberty Mutual, United States Postal Service and the Veterans Administration who were generous enough to take the time to offer their feedback to us. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
It also allows us to identify improvement opportunities, ensuring we continually strive to be the best in class. She holds a BA in Visual Communication Design and a Master’s of Design Management Strategy, both from the University of Ewha, South Korea. Yet, they have not discussed the performance or functional integration of design teams in NPD. This model categorizes the critical issues into six categories: task design, group composition, organizational context, internal processes, external processes, and group psychosocial traits.
Along with these items, this study also took into consideration the measurement methods for product development performance used by the companies Europe Xerox and Fuji Xerox, which were determined from the results of in-depth interviews. Similarly, among the top five important critical success factors were “choosing suitable partners,” “unified vision and goals,” “building trust and cohesion,” and “informal social relationships.” “Working rationally” and “close physical location” did not appear to be very important in the implementation process for these companies.
Moreover, recent evidence shows that cooperative behavior with members is predictive of successful outcomes (Monczka, Petersen, & Handfield, 1998).
By contrast, the marketing and engineering managers (the non-design group) indicated that “building trust and cohesion” was a higher priority success factor for cross-functional cooperative NPD teams. There are two clear results: first, the results identify the critical factors affecting successful cross-functional cooperation with a design team in NPD.
The integrated design team is usually a minority both in numbers and in culture within the NPD team. In Proceedings of the 5th International Forum on Design Management Research and Education (pp. Organizing for effective new product development: The moderating role of product innovativeness.
Marketing’s interaction with other functional units: A conceptual framework and empirical evidence. Hauptman and Hirji (1996) investigated the processes in a study of 50 concurrent engineering teams. The interviewees were asked to grade their product development performance (with regard to time, cost and quality) on a scale of one to seven, with seven representing perfect performance. Importance was ranked from one to seven, with degree one representing a level of little importance in affecting cross-functional cooperation in NPD, and degree seven representing an extremely important factor.
In conclusion, building cooperative behavior in a common culture is one of the important issues for improving cross-functional design performance and for leading successful cross-functional teamwork with designers. In summary, the key success factors include “unified vision and goals,” “unified culture with partners,” and “building trust and cohesion,” showing that design co-work requires improvements in the climate of the work environment, beyond those that support the system or infrastructure. As a result, it tends to fall into conflict with the majority, who put pressure on it to conform. Flexibility and standardization: Test of a contingency model of product design-manufacturing integration. The impact of cross-functional joint involvement across product development stages: An exploratory study.
The impact of user-oriented design on new product development: An examination of fundamental relationships. A total of 420 surveys sent by mail resulted in a total response of 243 usable questionnaires (representing a 60.75% response rate). As the results show, time performance had the highest rate of effectiveness among the correlations. Managers must consider the factors as the collaborative conditions before embarking on a collaborative strategy for successful product development. Managing the NPD process means raising the awareness of the project leader with regard to these issues in order to foster cooperation. Non-members can register as a complimentary guest to hear Laci Loew – creator of the Framework and author of this report – discuss the Framework in the recently recorded webinar, The Leadership Development Framework: Critical Components for Modern Leadership.
Hence, successful cross-functional cooperation in NPD means achieving high performance through effective multi-functional teamwork.
The responses of the managers, drawn from eight global consumer electronics companies in Japan, Korea and the UK, were collected by directly visiting the companies (see Table 4).
This study considered the relationships between the determinants of performance (independent variables), a statistical technique for amalgamating, summarizing, and reviewing previous quantitative research.
The differences between the design groups and the non-design groups highlight that the more important issues relate to managing the design team in the collaboration process.
He has worked for a consumer electronics company for more than five years as a product designer. However, in reviewing the existing research it is difficult to identify the critical factors affecting the relationship between design teams and other groups in cross-functional cooperation, and there is little evidence-based guidance on how to achieve effective cross-functional teamwork with design teams. The regression analysis model contains the dependent variable of product development performance and the independent variables of the critical factors affecting successful cooperation with design teams in NPD.
Second, this research empirically proves the positive impact of cooperation with design teams on product development performance.
This limitation leads this researcher to identify these critical factors and to prove the effectiveness of these factors in NPD performance.
Variance inflation factors and tolerance statistics did not indicate any multi-collinearity among the independent variables.
This supports the appropriateness of regression, as well as the contention that interaction and collaboration should be considered unique processes.
Cross-functional teamwork with functional design teams is a path towards efficient product development.

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