Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD, Director; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Charles J. Teplitz, DBA


case study, Collective Synergism, decision-making, Leadership studies, team development, time constraints


Advances in technology are challenging our concept of time and cognitive abilities to process and digest information in a dynamic environment. To develop a quality product that meets user's needs and to perform within budget and program milestones, requires the expertise and shared understandings of an intact multidisciplinary team in design decision making. Collaboratively team members need to communicate on solutions for integrated product development, from their different disciplinary perspectives. To survive in today's global competition, time-to-market gives research and development organizations the competitive edge in new product development, using emerging technologies. Therefore, there is a need for qualitative research on teams in the workplace making real decisions under time constraints. This qualitative case study examined the decision making strategies an intact multidisciplinary team used in the workplace to develop the user interface for an information system originating from a concept. The unique feature about this team is that the customer and contractor team members were co-located, involved in the daily decision making activities of new product screen design. The analysis indicated that during the decision making process communication provided the conduit for mutual adaptation and collective learning. Through cross-fertilization, team members had to integrate their fragmented bits of tacit and experiential knowledge to create a teammind or a collective mind to ensure that the product meets the needs of the customer and the contractor. In a complex environment of ambiguity and creativity, the team engaged in a collaborative relationship using dialogue to resolve conflicts, take risks, and negotiate based on requirements. They made decisions from their different disciplinary and organizational affiliation perspectives to produce the required design documentation. A significant implication of this study is that an organizational repertoire of a structured decision making process with feedback loops, provided a methodology to bring closure on design decisions. Although the time constraints and the size of the task were a challenge, through leadership based on expert power and collective learning, the team achieved their objectives. The recommendations include guidelines for program management and the need for research on collectivist cultures to identify how to train teams in new product development.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access