The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between apparel product development (APD) team characteristics and APD team effectiveness. Apparel product development (APD) describes the process of designing and engineering serviceable, producible, saleable, and profitable apparel products (Glock & Kunz, 2000). This research identified APD team characteristics that contribute to APD team effectiveness, based on the model developed by Campion, Medsker, and Higgs (1993). A total of 160 participants who were APD team managers and their APD team members completed the survey instrument. The participants worked in the areas of design, merchandising, and sales/marketing and represented 22 apparel manufacturers in the U. S.
Both factor analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to accomplish the study’s objectives. Factor analysis resulted in two themes for team characteristics: team interaction and team interdependence. Based on multiple regression analysis, these two themes predicted team member job satisfaction (TMJS) and team member judgment of effectiveness (TMJE). However, multiple regression analysis with these two themes did not predict manager judgment of effectiveness (MJE). This study also examined the correlations between the 11 APD team characteristics measured (potency, workload sharing, communication/cooperation within the team, social support, managerial support, training, self-management, participation, independent feedback/rewards, goal interdependence, and task interdependence) and the three measures of APD team effectiveness (TMJS, TMJE, and MJE). Among the 11 APD team characteristics, potency, workload sharing, communication with teams, and social support displayed the highest correlation (in descending order) with APD team effectiveness.
This research proposed a model describing the relationship between APD team characteristics and APD team effectiveness. This model may serve as a theoretical framework for future APD team research. Results of this study reveal the major APD team characteristics that impact team effectiveness; these characteristics are team spirit and social interaction team characteristics (workload sharing, communication/cooperation within teams, and social support). Results of this study contribute to the knowledge to enhance APD team effectiveness as apparel manufacturers meet the current challenges in product development (e.g. shortening the product-development life-cycle) and in consumer demands (e.g. high-quality, diverse, and competitively-priced products).