Towards Managing Team-Interfaces: An Exploratory Elicitation of Factors Influencing Communication

DS 58-3: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 3, Design Organization and Management, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Maier, Anja Martina; Eckert, Claudia M.; Clarkson, P. John
Section: Design Organization and Management
Page(s): 275-286

Abstract

Many researchers and practitioners in industry have identified communication between people as a major determinant of success or failure in (design) projects. At the same time, our empirical investigations indicate that many non-technical problems are - mostly unintentionally - labeled communication problems. Upon scrutiny, however, many appear to be caused by factors such as lack of "overview of the sequence of tasks in the (design) process" or conflicting "goals and objectives". In such situations, a communication problem might be the outcome rather than the cause. In this paper we argue that factors influencing communication provide levers through which communication can be improved and introduce a descriptive record of factors identified through literature review and interviews in industry. Knowledge of such factors could aid researchers in generating hypotheses about communication and design performance, practitioners for management practices, and educators for teaching "soft" competences.

Keywords: managing team interfaces, factors influencing communication

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