Managing knowledge creation in high-tech R&D projects: A multimethod study

Aravind Chandrasekaran, Kevin Linderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


R&D projects in high-tech organizations bring together diverse knowledge domains to quickly develop new products and processes. The fast-paced context of high-tech organizations makes it challenging to create new knowledge and solve complex problems. Managing these R&D projects requires understanding both the mechanisms and the type of knowledge created to achieve project objectives. This research conducts a two-phased multimethod study to understand knowledge creation in high-tech R&D projects. The first phase uses qualitative data to develop a theory on knowledge creation in R&D projects. The second phase involves a survey that collects data from R&D projects to test the theory. Results from the case study find that R&D projects benefit from two types of knowledge - objective and intuitive. The case analyses show that intuitive and objective knowledge creation in high-tech organizations occurs by creating not only diverse but also psychological safe project teams. The large-scale survey finds that team diversity positively influences objective knowledge creation while psychological safety affects intuitive knowledge creation. Surprisingly, the results show that team diversity negatively affects intuitive knowledge creation. A post hoc analysis takes a more granular look at diversity and shows that different kinds of diversity have different effects on knowledge creation. This helps to better explain how to manage innovation across boundaries. Finally, the analysis shows that both objective and intuitive knowledge influence R&D project performance. Taken together, these results help explain how to manage innovation across functional boundaries to create knowledge and enhance R&D project performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-300
Number of pages34
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Decision Sciences Institute.


  • High-tech R&D
  • Knowledge management
  • Multi-method
  • Project management


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