Confrontation and the rules of the game in product development - the micro processes
Observations from two car projects are analysed. Video-recordings of two sequences showing team members trying to use confrontation to make other members change their behaviour and pay more attention to the provision of current information on release status to colleagues. The problem is formulated against a background of decision quality and creativity which are assumed to improve with `programmed conflict'. Such a conflict is present almost by design when representatives of Production Control participate in decisions on design changes in late stages of the product development process. It is found that confrontation seems to be inconclusive, arguments in general in the observed projects seemed to be incomplete. This is probably because several con-texts are mobilised when members of different specialities interpret what is meant by an argument. An alternative approach to analysis using a modernised version of Speech Act theory (Cooren 2000) is used. A new kind of polyphony is indicated.
Göteborg University. School of Business, Economics and Law