This doctoral research report results from a two-team approach to define a model for high productivity and performance of cross-functional development teams in an aerospace engineering community. The first phase consists of an exploration of the cohesiveness and team dynamics, over a four-year period, among a project team that designed and built a highly innovative propulsion system for a satellite to be sent to the planet Mercury. The focus team delivered this propulsion system ahead of schedule and below cost and gained a reputation as a highly productive team within the company.
The second phase of the research advances the results from the first phase by investigating a second team that was less successful. Ucinet supports a map of the k-cores, month by month, for the entire life cycle of the projects. The research therefore analyzes networks of heterogeneous engineers and further considers the effects of social network dynamics for knowledge creation and sharing within and across team boundaries. Specific emphasis centers on team dynamics for developing a robust model to evaluate these findings critically in relation to other similar teams. The findings show that parts of the critical core team were not integrated from the outset across the entire program but rather appeared only during specific phases of the project. This thesis therefore offers lessons for other project teams at the company level and discusses several implications for theory and practice.
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