The contribution of ICT and face-to-face to the coordination effectiveness of distributed NPD projects teams

Sébastien BRION, Caroline MOTHE, celine PEREA


In the last twenty years, new product development (NPD) teams have been characterized by increased spatial and temporal distribution. Some authors assert that this distribution hinders the coordination of these teams, especially because it limits the opportunities for exchange as well as the use of face-to-face dialogue. Other authors consider that coordination through ICT is as effective as face-to-face communication. Although scholars have been debating this point for years, the issue has never been empirically validated in the case of NDP project teams. To fill this gap, we study the influence of technological and non-technological media on coordination by taking into account the distribution level of NPD team members. Results of PLS modelling indicate that the effect of the various media on coordination varies according to the level of spatial and temporal distribution. The results dispute the relevance of face-to-face exchanges when project teams are highly distributed, teams in which coordination is frequently based on the use of ICT (for design support and for task organization). Therefore, this study indicates that the richness of media does not alone explain the media’s efficiency. We also contribute to the literature which tends to equate team distribution to the media type by showing that the two concepts are different.


Équipes distribuées, Coordination des projets de NPD, Présentiel, Projets distribués, Utilisation des TIC

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