Title: Innovation team networks: the centrality of innovativeness and efficiency

Authors: Roger Th.A.J. Leenders, Jan Kratzer, Jo M.L. Van Engelen

Addresses: Department of Innovation Management & Strategy, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen, Landleven 5, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands. ' Department of Innovation Management & Strategy, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen, Landleven 5, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands. ' Department of Innovation Management & Strategy, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Groningen, Landleven 5, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: In this article we employ Social Network Analysis (SNA) to study the performance of new product teams that are part of an international innovation network. We are interested in explaining why some teams are exceedingly innovative but not efficient, whereas others excel in efficiency but stumble on innovativeness. We compare two teams that are very similar in task, background and skill. Using SNA we find that both teams are equally present on the shortest communication paths, but the innovative team has a much stronger presence on alternative communication paths as well. This provides it with many different sources and types of knowledge. The highly efficient team is strongly connected to well-connected knowledgeable others. It can thus efficiently tap relevant information. The article shows that SNA techniques are useful in uncovering network positions and in understanding the differential levels of performance of otherwise comparable teams.

Keywords: innovativeness; innovation networks; efficiency; performance; product teams; R&D; social network analysis; SNA; centrality; betweenness; knowledge sharing; communication; research and development; social networks; new product development; NPD.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2007.015726

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2007 Vol.4 No.4, pp.459 - 478

Published online: 10 Nov 2007 *

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