This research contributes to the intra-organization, inter-organization, and new product development (NPD) management literature by studying the impact of a firm's internal organizational design on the communication within and performance of NPD projects conducted with strategic alliance partners. The empirical data were collected from three in-depth case studies of network lead companies (NLCs) operating in different industries. The three NLCs have different internal organizational designs, ranging from very flexible "organic" to very rigid "mechanistic." In each NLC, a successful new-to-firm product development project was chosen for further detailed investigation. First, we identify the role the alliance's NPD project characteristics and industry characteristics play in determining the "intensity level" and "media richness" of communication required between the alliance's NPD project partners. Then, we examine how the internal organizational design influences the actual intensity and media richness of communication of the alliance's NPD project that matches our assumptions of what is required. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.