טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentIris Arbel
SubjectMechanisms of Team Learning to Enhance Team Innovation in
Product Development Teams
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Erez Miriam
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Innovation is the key factor in an organization's successful dealing with today's competitive market while human creative resources are the driving force.  The current research focuses on team deep level variables, i.e. creative characteristics, and aims at identifying and utilizing employees' potential by team intervention which consists of two studies.  In study 1, the participants were 44 teams of mechanical engineering students in the 6 courses of product design in two academic institutions.  Teams in the intervention condition received an expert role which matches their strengths based on a self-report survey. Study 2 is a field study which was conducted on 37 teams in an R&D unit of a big global firm in the machinery industry. In study 2, teams, who participated in the intervention, shared their outstanding cognitive styles and reflected upon their team processes, ensuring that team members utilized their strengths.

The results clearly demonstrate that the team intervention was significantly effective in both studies. In study 1, teams who participated in the expert role intervention condition were significantly more creative than teams in the control group.  Additionally, focus on goals, mediated the relation between team expert role intervention and team performance. In addition, TMS specialization effected team performance, but in contrast to our expectation, did not did not mediate the relation between expert role intervention and team performance.

In study 2, teams, who participated in the intervention, were significantly more innovative in the two phases of product development (i.e. idea generation and implementation) than teams in the control group who performed the same innovative task but without intervention.  In addition, the findings in this study demonstrated that the overall score of TMS specialization and credibility mediated the relation between team intervention and team performance. The two studies demonstrated that team members' sharing of their unique cognitive strengths relevant to the innovation task and having a team reflexivity process requiring team members to reflect upon  their team task and interpersonal oriented processes, facilitated team innovation and helped overcome the potential barriers to innovation in diverse teams.