Agile innovation: The role of team climate in rapid research and development


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr A. Pirola-Merlo, Department of Management, Monash University, PO Box 197, Caulfield East, Melbourne, Victoria 3145, Australia (e-mail:


The impact of team climate on speed of research and development (R&D) project completion was studied in a sample of 33 R&D teams. West's model of team climate for innovation was measured and analysed in relation to project performance ratings, and also in relation to project leaders' estimates of project progress over a 9-month period. Three of the four climate scales (namely participative safety, support for innovation, and task orientation) were significantly correlated with project performance rated by managers and customers, and two scales (namely support for innovation and vision) correlated with project leaders' ratings of project innovation. Additionally, results of hierarchical linear modelling showed that the climate scales participative safety and task orientation each predicted the rate at which projects moved towards completion. Teams with more positive initial ratings of these climate factors progressed significantly faster towards project completion over subsequent months than teams with poorer climate ratings. The results extend previous research that has linked team climate with levels of team innovation and performance, by showing that climate also predicts rate or speed of innovation.