The organizational design of large R&D collaborations and its effect on time and budget efficiency: The contrast between blueprint and reality

Jan Kratzer, Hans Georg Gemuenden, Christopher Lettl

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Organizing large R&D collaborations in such a way as to maximize time and budget efficiency often seems to be an impossible proposition. Our study addresses this phenomenon by investigating two large R&D collaborations in the aerospace industry. Whereas previous studies have typically investigated the formally ascribed design interfaces and the informal communication networks from separate viewpoints, we integrate these two perspectives and examine the structure and alignment of both. Our empirical analyses result in three important findings. First, the informal networks in both large R&D collaborations are far more dense than the formal networks and the alignment between formal and informal networks in large R&D collaborations is rather small. Second, network efficiency is far higher in the formal network than in the informal network. And third, investigating the effect of the units' network efficiency on time and budget efficiency, we find that both are positively impacted by the network efficiency of units in large R&D collaborations. Our findings also indicate that informal networks can be managed towards higher time and budget efficiency by way various team sizes, and especially, the formal positioning of units.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295 - 306
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

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