Dealing with the devil of deviation: managing uncertainty during product development execution


  • This paper is the result of a collaborative effort. The first author was primarily responsible for the empirical investigation, while the second and third author primarily contributed with theoretical development. The fourth author facilitated the empirical research.


This paper examines deviations in complex product development. Based on an extensive case study, using participant observations, interviews, and data from deviation reports, it illustrates the causes, procedures, management challenges of deviations, and organizational roles devoted to deviation management. Based on the rich data material, it furthermore proposes a typology of deviations developed for a better understanding of this significant empirical phenomenon.