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Sekaran (2003) recommends ten steps that should be used in the research process. These steps are; general observation, preliminary data gathering, literature review, theoretical framework and analyzing the purpose of the study, generation of the hypothesis; scientific research design; collection of data;, analysis and interpretation; deduction and analyzing if the hypothesis has been substantiated; writing the report and finally the report presentation. In his paper we assess how some of these steps were applied in the article by Shikhar Sarin and Christopher McDermott.
The purpose of the study by Shikhar and McDermott was to find out how leadership impacts in the production of a new product in the market. The question that the study expects to answer is, “Does the team leader’s character affect the learning, knowledge application and performance of cross functional new product development teams?” The study expects to find out how the leadership affects the learning process and the application of knowledge of the team and how this will affect the success of the production and marketing of the new product.
The variables in the study are the team leader’s character as an individual, character, the success of the product, the team leader’s application of knowledge. The team leader’s character is the independent variable. The dependent variables are the performance of cross functional new product development teams, the learning process of the team leaders and the knowledge application by the teams (Shikhar & McDermott, 2003).
According to Senkare, the dependent variable is of principal importance to the researcher. The researcher is interested in identifying the variables that influence the identified known variable. Senkare goes further and describes the moderator variable as the factor that has an influence on the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The relationship between the independent and the dependent will change when the moderator variable varies. In this case the moderator variable is identified as the change in the leaders character as a change in the character will lead to a change in the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables.
The research design is expected to answer the questions of how, when, how much, by what to do the research. The sampling was selective as the study was specific on its objectives. The study required high level of product activity from those who were making use of New Product Development (NPD). However the selected NPDs projects were to meet selected conditions before qualifying to be used for the study.
Sampling is always approved in data collection as it would be unreasonable to collect data from the entire population and therefore the need for sampling (Sekaran, 2003). To ensure that there was variance in the selected NPDs, the researchers considered the different project risks, the length of the project, the success level of the projects and the competitiveness within the industry.
In this study the research used the data was collected through two phases. The first phase was an in-depth interview process whose main aim was to validate the proposed theoretical framework as well as gather a deeper understanding of the matter. Nine NPDs were sampled for this phase. The researcher interviewed the NPDs project team leaders, team members and the managers. The second phase had a higher number of data populations that came from 64 NPDs. In total 246 individuals were interviewed. The interviewing process took 24 months to complete. Five of the NPDs who had participated in phase one also participated in the second phase. The interviewees’ positions in their firms and their functions within these firms were varied. The questions to the interviewees were validated of bias by asking questions that related to a future action on a future project. The data was then analyzed using hierarchical linear models, and hypothesis was tested. The statistical assumptions were analyzed.
The study developed several hypotheses; that the leader’s consideration of the team members and the team leaders’ participation in the project would positively affect the success of the team. This hypothesis was proved correct. Another hypothesis was that the initiation of the goal and the process structure would relate positively to the application of knowledge by the team leaders.
The researcher also hypothesized that the level of the teams learning abilities, as well as the ability to apply their knowledge will affect the innovative of the team and the speed at which the product will be marketed. The last of the hypothesis was that the position of the tea leader within an organization would have an impact on the learning process and application of knowledge. This hypothesis was also proved to have been right. The last step as per Sekaran is writing the report. The researcher concluded the report with the results of the study.
The results of the study were analyzed and revealed that the position of the team leader will affect the learning and application of knowledge by the team leaders in a NPD project. This situation will be the same regardless of the complexity of the NPD project. The results of the study led to the conclusion that for a NPD project to be highly successful the position of the team leader in the organization is important, as the team leader has a positive influence ability to make the team members to learn and apply their knowledge. This way there will almost be an assurance that the project will be unique as the team applies its innovativeness and the new product will be marketed sooner.
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