Multiple Team Membership and Team Performance: The Moderating Effect of Time Fragmentation

Joost van de Brake & Jonathon Cummings, Groningen, Economics and Business & Duke, Fuqua
Knowledge-intensive work is increasingly carried out by teams whose members are also involved other teams. Multiple team membership (MTM) can increase a focal teams’ performance when members are able to access relevant knowledge from their other teams. At the same time, however, MTM can decrease a focal teams’ performance when members are unable to coordinate work within the team. We examine MTM in a longitudinal study of 5540 teams over 4 years in a large knowledge-intensive organization from the Netherlands. Employing a network perspective on teamwork, we focus on two distinct dimensions of MTM: the number of other teams in which members of the focal team are concurrently involved (breadth of external network), and membership overlap in other teams with members from the focal team (density of external network). In models controlling for characteristics of the teams, we find that membership overlap is positively related to team performance, while the number of other teams is not related to team performance. Furthermore, the effect of MTM on team performance is moderated by time fragmentation: the amount of non-overlapping time spent by members on the task (sparsity of internal network). When time fragmentation is low, both dimensions of MTM are positively related to team performance. When time fragmentation is high, neither dimension is related to team performance. These results have important implications for the design of effective teams and networks.
April, 18 2016 | 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. | 270 Gross Hall

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