The Effect of Team Leader Characteristics on Learning, Knowledge Application, and Performance of Cross-Functional New Product Development Teams

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This study examines how leadership characteristics in new product development teams affect the learning, knowledge application, and subsequently the performance of these teams. Using data from a study of 229 members from 52 high-tech new product projects, we empirically demonstrate that team learning has a strong positive effect on the innovativeness and speed to market of the new products. Moreover, a democratic leadership style, initiation of goal structure by the team leader, and his or her position within the organization were positively related to team learning. Managerial implications of these results are discussed.