Antaki, M., Schiffauerova, A., Thomson, V. (2010) The Performance of Technical Information Transfer in New Product Development, Concurrent Engineering, 18, pp. 291-301

The introduction part of this paper gives a good overall picture of work done on communication. Paper itself looks at communication in new product development.I found a couple of interesting points:

  • The nature of communication in the three companies was evaluated and showed that team leaders spent 70% of their time transferring information in order to coordinate tasks and 30% in knowledge-type communication. In contrast, team members spent 60% of their time on knowledge-type communication and 40% on coordination-type.
  • Engineers look for information from their own personal information storage (93%), colleagues (87%), formal discussion with supervisor (61%), or internal technical reports (50%) in order to solve technical problems.
  • The major weakness was communication between different departments or teams, which was done via traditional media. A typical project involved over hundred participants from different locations. Having a meeting or even trying to establish bilateral communication with a telephone call was quite difficult. Company A often tried to remedy this problem by co-locating many members in order to facilitate coordination
  • To sum up, “this study indicated that a shorter , more efficient communication process led to the reduction of both span time and effort. Improving and speeding up communication to reduce development cycle times is synonymous with eliminating the many layers through which information must pass to reach target, or in other terms, establishing direct, clear, and targeted communication patterns. Consequently, an adequate mix of formal and informal communication techniques is needed to improve communication.”