• Coordinating knowlegde creation in multidisciplinary teams: Evidence from early-stage drug discovery

      Ben-Menahem, Shiko; von Krogh, Georg; Erden, Zeynep; Schneider, Andreas (Academy of Management Journal, 2015)
      Based on a multi-year field study of early-stage drug discovery project teams at a global pharmaceutical company, this paper examines how multidisciplinary teams engaged in knowledge creation combine formal and informal coordination mechanisms when faced with unpredictable interdependencies among specialists’ knowledge domains. While multidisciplinary teams are critical for knowledge creation in increasingly specialized work environments, the coordination literature has been divided with respect to the extent to which such teams rely on formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. Our findings show that when interdependencies among knowledge domains are dynamic and unpredictable, specialists design self-managed (sub-)teams around collectively held assumptions about interdependencies based on incomplete information (conjectural interdependencies). These team structures establish the grounds for informal coordination practices that enable specialists to both manage known interdependencies and reveal new interdependencies. Newly revealed interdependencies among knowledge domains, in turn, promote structural adaptation. Drawing on these findings, we advance an integrative model explaining how team-based knowledge creation relies on the mutual constitution of formal coordination structures and informal coordination practices. The model contributes to theory on organizational design and practice-based research on coordination in cross-disciplinary knowledge creation.
    • Fostering multidisciplinary collaboration in drug discovery

      Erden, Zeynep; Ben-Menahem, Shiko; von Krogh, Georg; Schneider, Andreas; Koch, Guido; Widmer, Hans (Drug Discovery World, 2019)
      Drug discovery teams combine specialists with in-depth knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines. Such diversity in thought worlds poses a challenging exercise in cross-disciplinary collaboration and project coordination. Based on a longitudinal field study of five projects in a leading pharmaceutical company we present a framework outlining the conditions for effective cross-disciplinary collaboration in drug discovery teams. We show that knowledge creation in multidisciplinary teams relies on a combination of formal team structures and informal co-ordination practices. Formal team structures set the boundary conditions for cross-disciplinary co-ordination. Within their boundaries self-managed sub-teams draw on informal co-ordination practices involving cross-disciplinary anticipation, synchronization and triangulation to overcome knowledge boundaries and high uncertainty. We identify five key insights and two questions which are important for managers to consider for fostering multidisciplinary collaboration in drug discovery.
    • Rethinking Leadership in Drug Discovery

      Schneider, Andreas; Erden, Zeynep; Widmer, Hans; Koch, Guido; Billy, Christine; von Krogh, Georg (Drug Discovery Today, 2012)
      Great efforts have been dedicated to rebuilding the engine of pharmaceutical R&D. However, one potential area of improvement has received limited attention in the literature and in practice: namely, leadership. In this article, we enrich the traditional views of leadership, which consider leadership a responsibility of a few centrally placed authorities, with the concept of distributed leadership. Distributed leadership reflects a group-based capability driven by everyday activities and the key scientific questions at hand. We identify three leadership challenges faced by R&D teams that could be addressed by implementing distributed leadership. Furthermore, we provide some suggestions as to how to foster distributed leadership in drug discovery projects.
    • Uncovering the perspectives to practice-based theory building

      Erden, Zeynep; Schneider, Andreas; Krogh, Georg von (2013)