The Relationship between Team Autonomy and New Product Development Performance under Different Levels of Technological Turbulence

Journal of Operations Management (Forthcoming)

44 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2010 Last revised: 3 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jiyao Chen

Jiyao Chen

Oregon State University

Donald O. Neubaum

Oregon State University

Richard R. Reilly

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Gary Lynn

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Date Written: October 2, 2014

Abstract

Operations management researchers have frequently suggested that autonomy can motivate teams to actively and flexibly adapt to fast-changing environments, fostering innovation and creative problem solving. However, empirical studies have not consistently supported the benefits of team autonomy. We articulate the behavioral and mechanistic effects of team autonomy by integrating operations management and behavioral literatures. Further, we view team autonomy as a bipolar factor and argue that both the behavioral and mechanistic effects of team autonomy on operational outcomes are non-linear. Drawing on information processing theory, we propose that the benefits of team autonomy depend on the degree of technological turbulence. A study of 212 new product development projects supports these propositions. Specifically, the relationship between team autonomy and operational outcomes is ∩-shaped in technologically turbulent environments and U-shaped in technologically stable environments. Further, operational outcomes mediate the relationships between team autonomy and product success. We discuss the theoretical implications regarding new product development, operations management, the bipolarity of autonomy, and information-processing theory.

Keywords: Team autonomy; behavioral effect; mechanistic effect; technological turbulence; new product development

JEL Classification: M11, M13, M31

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jiyao and Neubaum, Donald O. and Reilly, Richard R. and Lynn, Gary S., The Relationship between Team Autonomy and New Product Development Performance under Different Levels of Technological Turbulence (October 2, 2014). Journal of Operations Management (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1619642

Jiyao Chen (Contact Author)

Oregon State University ( email )

Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
5417376338 (Phone)

Donald O. Neubaum

Oregon State University ( email )

Bexell Hall 200
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

Richard R. Reilly

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

Gary S. Lynn

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

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