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Vertical and horizontal cross-ties: Benefits of cross-hierarchy and cross-unit ties for innovative projects

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journal contribution
posted on 12.04.2016 by Rick (H.L.) Aalbers, Wilfred Dolfsma, Roger (Th.A.J.) Leenders
Social networks are an important driver for successful innovation, both at the individual level as well as the organizational level. Recent research has also shaped that networks within teams can enhance performance. Innovative project teams are embedded in an organizational context, however, and teams typically consist of people with expertise from diverse backgrounds, and from different units. Team members may have ties to other teams, business units, and hierarchical levels. Although it seems clear that such ties can influence team performance, remarkably little research has focused on what is here referred to as vertical and horizontal cross-ties. Previous research may have ignored the possibility that vertical and horizontal bridging ties may have different performance outcomes. Although the literature suggests that diversity of input, or horizontal cross-unit ties will benefit team performance and innovativeness, there is reason to believe that ties to higher levels in the organization might have an effect on project team performance and innovativeness too. This article in particular studies the role of vertical cross-hierarchy ties. In an exploratory analysis combining quantitative and qualitative results, it is distinguished between horizontal cross-unit and vertical crosshierarchy ties and their contribution to new business development (NBD) project performance, thereby making a substantial contribution to both academic literature and managerial practice. Our study is based on a multiple case-study approach of several NBD project teams in a large European financial service provider. Our results show that successful innovation project teams are characterized by a large number of cross-unit ties in combination with a large number of cross-hierarchical ties compared with less successful project teams. Additionally, proof is found that vertical cross-hierarchy ties should be concentrated rather than scattered across project members.
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  • Loughborough University London

Published in

Journal of Product Innovation Management

Volume

22

Issue

2

Pages

141 - 153

Citation

AALBERS, R., DOLFSMA, W. and LEENDERS, R., 2016. Vertical and horizontal cross-ties: Benefits of cross-hierarchy and cross-unit ties for innovative projects. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 22(2), pp. 141-153.

Publisher

© Product Development & Management Association. Published by Wiley

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AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

02/03/2015

Publication date

2016

Notes

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: AALBERS, R., DOLFSMA, W. and LEENDERS, R., 2016. Vertical and horizontal cross-ties: Benefits of cross-hierarchy and cross-unit ties for innovative projects. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 22(2), pp. 141-153., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpim.12287. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving

ISSN

1540-5885

Language

en

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