The analysis of knowledge integration in collaborative engineering teams
Date of Issue2012
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
While it is often reported that collaboration in product design team is difficult because individuals bring with them their own language, terminology, perspectives and detailed knowledge, these claims rely on personal accounts and recollections. The lack of quantitative measures makes it challenging to identify individual-level differences and their influence on group-level behaviour. This paper presents a new method to measure the coherence of team communication at a linguistic level to ascertain the extent to which individuals share a common language and terminology. We then relate individual coherence to group performance in terms of collaboration process and design outcome. The research is based on a study of experienced product designers in China. The study shows that teams with high levels of semantic coherence between each participant and between each participant and the group are likely to have high quality collaboration processes. The team members’ high semantic coherence, however, is not strongly correlated to a high-quality design outcome.
Journal of engineering design