Developing and Managing Cross-Functional Teams: A Multi-Case Study of Brazilian Manufacturing Companies

Márcio Lopes Pimenta, Andrea Lago da Silva, Wendy Lea Tate


The growth of industries and the strong economic base in Brazil require improvements and adaptations in business processes. Cross-functional teams (CFT) may help to companies achieve these improvements. This research looks at characterizing CFT according to application processes, structures, objectives and impacts, considering the context of demand planning and related processes. In-depth interviews with 22 managers were performed in three Brazilian manufacturing companies. A framework to characterize CFT and respective impacts is proposed, including elements such as: procedures, context and goals, power distribution, impacts on cross-functional integration, impacts on teams' performance and on organization's performance. One significant managerial finding is that effective and efficient CFTs need balanced distribution of power among members by effectively establishing and structuring the team. By doing this, managers may observe positive impacts on inter-functional integration and in firm's results. Moreover, teams should permanently perform joint planning to predict unfavorable situations, improve communication and mutual understanding.


Cross-functional teams; Demand and Supply; Cross-functional integration; Impacts of integration; Brazilian firms

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