RSM product development research wins MIT SMR award

A research paper co-written by Dr Fabian Sting of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) won the 2016 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize by MIT Sloan Management Review. The article explores how encouraging help speeds up product development projects.

The prestigious US$2,500 research award goes to the three authors of the research paper; Dr Fabian Sting of RSM, Prof. Christoph Loch of University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, and Dirk Stempfhuber, head of product development at manufacturer Roto Frank in Germany. Fabian Sting is an associate professor of operations management in RSM’s Department of Technology and Operations Management.

Behaviour and communication

The article, Accelerating Projects by Encouraging Help, was published in volume 56 of MIT Sloan Management Review. It discusses the challenges of ensuring that new product development projects stay on track. Researchers Sting, Loch and Stempfhuber say part of the problem can lie with how project team members behave and communicate – within and across projects. Project employees identify and speak up for project troubles when it is already too late. However, a novel approach that triggers help for problems is successfully overcoming such behavioural difficulties and encouraging greater team co-operation.

Effective co-operation systems

The paper highlights how effective co-operative behaviour can be ‘built into’ project management systems via a simple process innovation, says Dr Sting. “Many academics call for more co-operation in the face of uncertainty, but we are oftentimes lacking the knowledge on just how to do it. The Roto case demonstrates how an effective system of co-operation can be developed for project environments,” he says.

Read Dr Fabian Sting’s summary of the research paper in RSM Discovery magazine.

Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

Professor Richard Beckhard was an MIT Sloan School of Management faculty member for more than 20 years. On his retirement in 1984, Professor Beckhard’s colleagues established this award in his honour to be conferred by MIT Sloan Management Review. The award is given annually to an outstanding paper on the subject of planned change and organisational development.

All MIT Sloan Management Review articles about of planned change and organisational development in a given year are automatically eligible for the Beckhard Prize and are considered by an independent panel of judges.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading research-based business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

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