Toward a theory of project interdependencies in high tech R & D environments

Devesh Verma, Kingshuk K. Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


In today's intensely competitive market place, high technology firms are challenged with the task of managing multiple-concurrent research and development (R & D) projects with constrained resources. As success in the business world depends on the ability to do more with less, it is important for these high technology firms to understand why certain projects consume less monetary resources but still achieve superior product development outcomes. To address this question, we develop a theoretical framework for understanding the interdependencies between projects and their relationship to project performance in a multiple-concurrent R & D environment. The framework is developed through multiple-case studies of projects undertaken by a Fortune 500 high technology manufacturing firm. The seven projects that comprised the sample for the multiple-case study were chosen from a larger portfolio of projects belonging to a technology group at the firm's corporate R&D center. The choice of the seven projects was guided by a data envelopment analysis (DEA)-based project performance metric, also proposed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-468
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The empirical setting of our study is a technology group at the corporate R&D center of a major high technology manufacturing firm headquartered in the mid-west of the US. The firm markets its products through world-wide business units. R&D is a focal point of the firm with technology viewed as the key to its market place differentiation. Much of the firm’s R&D activities are carried out at the corporate R&D center. The mission of the corporate R&D center is to provide world-class technologies, processes, and product concepts that fuel the firm’s global growth and profitability. Apart from supporting the product development efforts of the business units, the corporate R&D center also undertakes contract research funded by outside government agencies. However, such contract research is targeted toward technology development rather than product development.


  • Data envelopment analysis
  • High tech R & D
  • Multiple-case study
  • Project interdependencies


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