What is the disadvantage of interdisciplinary research

How does interdisciplinarity affect work performance in project teams?

Today, a large part of the work and inquiries that arise in companies is bundled in the form of project work. There is also an increased interest in management concepts that include lean management, reengineering and total quality management. This trend is causing an increase in work in project teams, especially in interdisciplinary teams within companies. This form of work had decreased significantly in the course of the 1970s and is now clearly moving back into the focus of companies. But how does this process affect the work behavior and performance of employees?
Many studies from business can show that working in teams has a positive effect on the productivity of a company. Some even go so far as to raise group work as a key concept for lean structures. Unfortunately, scientific research within the economy is less concerned with the impact of interdisciplinarity within a team on the services provided. This article is therefore preferably based on research results from social work and partly from nursing research. An attempt is made to adapt the assumptions made within these disciplines to the area of ‚Äč‚Äčeconomics.


Teamwork in general is a popular form of collaboration and is primarily needed to cope with complex tasks that require a wide range of knowledge. A distinction is made in companies between project teams, task teams, optimization teams and management teams. Project teams in particular are mostly formed to solve tasks that are new and take place outside of day-to-day business. These tasks usually have clearly defined goals and a limited budget.


Interdisciplinarity is generally understood to be a connection between individual disciplines in terms of content and content. This includes, for example, the joint processing of a problem or question. This results in interdisciplinary communication, which through the exchange of content creates added value that goes beyond the sum of the individual disciplines. In connection with project work, this means putting together an interdisciplinary team made up of specialists from various areas.

Interdisciplinary cooperation in project teams

After defining the individual components of interdisciplinary teams, the way in which they work will now be examined more closely. Many of the advantages that a working group from different disciplines offers are obvious. Team members no longer have to familiarize themselves with the most varied of fields, but experts from the respective directions can work on relevant knowledge. The individual team members are also challenged to new ways of thinking and the ideas and trains of thought on individual problems are passed on through the interdisciplinary dialogue. In addition, interdisciplinary project teams encourage independent work and individual responsibility for individual team members. This strengthens the identification with and the commitment within a company. Problems that arise from this form of work cannot be dismissed out of hand either. It can happen that the expertise of the individual disciplines is diluted by the team and the level of the group suffers as a result. The definition of the individual framework conditions for project implementation also leads to far more effort than would be the case with homogeneous teams. Just the definition of terms and the selection of methods as well as the approaches often require a lot of time and capacity between people who are used to working completely differently. Working in interdisciplinary teams is a very arduous process that requires total dedication. So why should you accept these disadvantages? Interdisciplinary project teams work particularly well in new, innovative areas and are powerful in the areas of generating ideas and new developments. In these fields, teams that combine different disciplines are essential and cannot be replaced by anything. The combination of different ideas and approaches ensures that these teams usually have unusual and innovative approaches that can lead to extraordinary results.


The framework conditions for working in interdisciplinary groups are first of all the clear definition of the project goals and the equal role determination of the individual members and disciplines. Furthermore, the respect of the individual team members among one another and their openness and tolerance towards new things are important requirements. In addition, all those involved in interdisciplinary teamwork should be able to work flexibly and autonomously and at the same time allow themselves time for collaboration.


Working in interdisciplinary teams has both advantages and disadvantages. In addition, it is difficult to test its efficiency, since a comparison with homogeneous groups is difficult. In general, it can be stated that the interdisciplinary teamwork is a laborious process, which requires a sense of purpose, commitment and tolerance from the members. However, it has become an integral part of today's business world, as it is able to work on and solve problems where individual disciplines would fail on their own.

written by Julia Neuhaus



Womack, J., Jones, D., & Roos, D. (1991). The second revolution in the auto industry.
Wahren, H. K. E. (1994). Group and team work in companies. Walter de Gruyter.
Schuhmacher, F., & Geschwill, R. (2008). Employer Branding: Human Resources Management For Corporate Management. Jumper.
Kocka, J. and U. B. Z. f. I. Research (1987). Interdisciplinarity: practice, challenge, ideology, Suhrkamp.
Kump, B. (2011). I can do something you can't: Synergies in interdisciplinary teams. knowledge.blitz (48). http://www.wissensdialoge.de/Interdisciplinarity Nicole Walter. Handelsblatt. December 8th, 2007, 10:00 am. Imperialists become frontier workers. http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/oekonomie/nachrichten/interdisciplinaritaet-in-der-vwl-aus-imperialisten-haben-begrenzgaenger-seite-all/2902990-all.html