Cross-functional collaboration in high-tech startups pursuing the lean startup strategy

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för företagande och ledning

Abstract: The research presented in this thesis is focused on high-tech startups pursuing a strategy referred to as the "lean startup concept". In order for this concept to be effective, cross-functional collaboration between marketers and engineers is required. However, such collaboration is, according to much research, far from unproblematic, as many studies show that the two professions find it difficult to cooperate. In light of such alleged collaborative difficulties put together with the need for cross-functional efforts required by the lean startup approach, the purpose of this thesis is to identify factors that influence the cross-functional collaboration achieved between marketers and engineers. We have fulfilled this purpose through conducting case studies in two Swedish high-tech startups, which are pursuing the lean startup strategy. Our findings suggest that it is important for lean high-tech startups that seek to improve their cross-functional collaboration to be explicit about the value of integration and functional interdependencies. Furthermore, efforts should be directed towards making the employees understand each others´ viewpoints and allowing them to take part in decision-making and organizational planning. Moreover, another important factor that contributes to cross-functional collaboration is communication. Finally, we conclude that the lean startup approach not only requires cross-functional collaboration, but also facilitates it, especially when applied in a firm employing a relatively small number of people. The findings of this thesis contribute to research in the form of a framework that can be used to identify factors that influence the cross-functional collaboration achieved in startups pursuing lean.

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