Marketing's integration with other departments

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Virginia Tech


In light of greater emphasis on horizontal management and team-oriented approaches to product development/management, there is a growing need to better understand interdepartmental integration. To meet this need, this dissertation proposed a model of interdepartmental integration, which distinguished integration as a composite of interaction and collaboration. Incorporating contingency and sociotechnical theories, two main research propositions were developed and served as the foundation for the proposed model: 1) an individual department's attributes will influence its interaction behavior and 2) attribute differences between departments will influence departments' collaboration.

A mail survey of marketing, manufacturing, and R&D managers in 860 electronics firms was undertaken to investigate these two propositions and the hypotheses associated with the proposed model. While study results did not convincingly support the given propositions nor a majority of hypotheses, results did indicate that collaboration has a primary influence on performance. Conversely, interaction was shown to have minimal influence on performance, and in certain cases, was shown to even reduce performance. Among other significant findings, interdependence and cooperative goals were identified as two key antecedents to collaboration.

This dissertation therefore highlights the need for departments to work together (collaborate) versus simply forcing communication through meetings and documented information exchange (interaction). Collaboration appears to be a key means by which all departments and the entire company can achieve and maintain performance success.