Organizing innovation: complementarities between cross-functional teams

James H. Love, Stephen Roper, G. Mangiarotti

Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


Cross-functional teams play a potentially important part in the innovation process enabling knowledge sharing, the development of trust and overcoming spatial and organizational barriers. Using a supermodularity approach, we focus on potential complementarities which may arise when cross-functional teams are used in different elements of the innovation process in UK and German manufacturing plants. Using optimal combinations of cross-functional teams in the innovation process increases innovation success in the UK by 29.5 per cent compared to 9.5 per cent in Germany. Patterns of complementarity are complex, however, but are more uniform in the UK than in Germany. The most uniform complementarities are between product design and development and production engineering, with little synergy evident between the more technical phases of the innovation process and the development of marketing strategy. In strategic terms, our results suggest the value of using cross-functional teams for the more technical elements of the innovation process but that the development of marketing strategy should remain the domain of specialists.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBirmingham (UK)
PublisherAston University
ISBN (Print)978-1-85449-662-1, 1-85449-662-X
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameAston Business School research papers
PublisherAston University


  • cross-functional terms
  • Germany
  • UK
  • complementarities
  • innovation


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