Managing interteam coordination within and between organizations

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To accomplish complex tasks and effectively respond to environmental contingencies, teams must coordinate task-related issues with other teams (i.e., interteam coordination). Regrettably, interteam coordination is often complicated by misunderstandings that can arise from differences in teams’ languages, routines, and goals. In this dissertation I examine organizational structures, team composition strategies, and individual team member characteristics that can help to overcome such difficulties. The results illustrate that reorganizing a bureaucratic organization into a contemporary “multiteam system” organization may improve interteam coordination and teams’ collective performance. Unlike in a bureaucratic organization, teams in a multiteam organization can self-manage their joint efforts without being restricted by formal leaders or work procedures. In addition, results show that composing teams with generalists members who are acquainted with the various work domains in the organization can further enhance interteam coordination. At the same time, teams composed of generalist members may become distracted from their specialist tasks. Results demonstrate that organizations can overcome such downsides by using a group of formal coordinators to support teams’ interteam coordination and realization of specialist tasks. Finally, results identify the coordination capacities that generalist individuals may develop, as well as the motivational forces that may lead members to actually use these capacities. Generalists seemed to develop a socio-cognitive capacity for understanding and responding to unfamiliar others. They appeared to use this capacity for coordinating with other teams’ members when they felt strongly affiliated with the organization.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • van der Vegt, Geert, Supervisor
  • Walter, Frank, Supervisor
  • Essens, Peter, Co-supervisor
Award date29-Oct-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8272-2
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8271-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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