Addressing performance tensions in multiteam systems: Balancing informal mechanisms of coordination within and between teams

Ziegert, J. C., Knight, A. P., Resick, C. J., & Graham, K. A. (In Press). Addressing performance tensions in multiteam systems: Balancing informal mechanisms of coordination within and between teams. Academy of Management Journal.

Abstract. Due to their distinctive features, multiteam systems (MTSs) face significant coordination challenges—both within component teams and across the larger system. Despite the benefits of informal mechanisms of coordination for knowledge-based work, there is considerable ambiguity regarding their effects in MTSs. To resolve this ambiguity, we build and test theory about how interpersonal interactions among MTS members serve as an informal coordination mechanism that facilitates team and system functioning. Integrating MTS research with insights from the team boundary spanning literature, we argue that the degree to which MTS members balance their interactions with members of their own component team (i.e., intrateam interactions) and with the members of other teams in the system (i.e., inter-team interactions) shapes team- and system-level performance. The findings of a multimethod study of 44 MTSs composed of 295 teams and 930 people show that as inter-team interactions exceed intrateam interactions, team conflict rises and detracts from component team performance. At the system level, balance between intra- and inter-team interactions enhances system success. Our findings advance understanding of MTSs by highlighting how informal coordination mechanisms enable MTSs to overcome their coordination challenges and address the unique performance tension between component teams and the larger system.

Start-Up Teams: A Multidimensional Conceptualization, Integrative Review of Past Research, and Future Research Agenda

Knight, A. P., Greer, L. L., & de Jong, B. (2020). Start-up teams: A multidimensional conceptualization, integrative review of past research, and future research agenda. Academy of Management Annals, 14, 231-266.

Abstract. Academic interest in start-up teams has grown dramatically over the past 40 years, with researchers from a wide variety of disciplines actively studying the topic. Although this widespread interest is encouraging, a review of the literature reveals a lack of consensus in how researchers conceptualize and operationally define start-up teams. A lack of consensus on the core phenomenon—a foundational part of a strong paradigm—has stifled the systematic advancement of knowledge about start-up teams, which has downstream implications for the viability of this field of research. To advance the development of a stronger paradigm, we present a multidimensional conceptualization of start-up teams that is derived from points of consensus in existing definitions. Our multidimensional conceptualization accounts for the fact that, although all are under the umbrella of the concept of “start-up team,” start-up teams vary in a set of key ingredients—ownership of equity, autonomy of strategic decision-making, and entitativity. This conceptualization serves as a framework for reviewing and beginning to integrate past research on start-up teams. It also serves as a framework for guiding and informing an integrated program of future research on start-up teams. By introducing a multidimensional conceptualization of start-up teams, we highlight the value of considering the defining ingredients of start-up teams for furthering a stronger paradigm.

On the emergence of collective psychological ownership in new creative teams

Gray, S. M., Knight, A. P., & Baer, M. (2020). On the emergence of collective psychological ownership in new creative teams. Organization Science, 31, 141-164.

Abstract. We develop and test a theoretical model that explains how collective psychological ownership—shared feelings of joint possession over something—emerges within new creative teams that were launched to advance one person’s (i.e., a creative lead’s) preconceived idea. Our model proposes that such teams face a unique challenge—an initial asymmetry in feelings of psychological ownership for the idea between the creative lead who conceived the idea and new team members who are beginning to work on the idea. We suggest that the creative lead can resolve this asymmetry and foster the emergence of collective psychological ownership by enacting two interpersonal behaviors—help seeking and territorial marking. These behaviors build collective ownership by facilitating the unifying, centripetal force of team identification and preventing the divisive, centrifugal force of team ownership conflict. Our model also proposes that collective ownership positively relates to the early success of new creative teams. The results of a quantitative study of 79 creative teams participating in an entrepreneurship competition provided general support for our predictions, but also suggested refinements as to how a creative lead’s behavior influences team dynamics. The findings of a subsequent qualitative investigation of 27 teams participating in a university startup launch course shed additional light on how collective ownership emerges in new creative teams launched to advance one person’s idea.

Using recurrence analysis to examine group dynamics

Knight, A. P., Kennedy, D. M., McComb, S. A. (2016). Using recurrence analysis to examine group dynamics. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 20, 223-241.

Abstract. This article provides an accessible introduction to recurrence analysis—an analytical approach that has great promise for helping researchers understand group dynamics. Recurrence analysis is a technique with roots in the systems dynamics literature that was developed to reveal the properties of complex, nonlinear systems. By tracking when a system visits similar states at multiple points in its life—and the form or pattern of these recurrences over time—recurrence analysis equips researchers with a set of new metrics for assessing the properties of group dynamics, such as recurrence rate (i.e., stability), determinism (i.e., predictability), and entropy (i.e., complexity). Recent work has shown the potential value of recurrence analysis across a number of different disciplines. To extend its use within the domain of group dynamics, the authors present a conceptual overview of the technique and give a step-by-step tutorial on how to use recurrence analysis to study groups. An exemplar application of recurrence analysis using dialogue-based data from 63 three-person student groups illustrates the use of recurrence analysis in examining how groups change their focus on different processes over time. This is followed by a discussion of variations of recurrence analysis and implications for research questions within the literature on groups. When group researchers track group processes or emergent states over time, and thus compile a time series dataset, recurrence analysis can be a useful technique for measuring the properties of groups as dynamic systems.

Fall 2016 Courses

Foundations for Effective Leadership (MBA), August to September, 2016

The focus of this 1st year Core MBA course is you–your characteristics, your attributes, and your interpersonal skills. This course presents a framework for thinking about how individual attributes and and interpersonal skills provide leadership potential. Through experiential exercises and interactions with your colleagues, this course will enable you to gain deeper insights into your current strengths as a leader and developmental opportunities for the future.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Deepen your self awareness by enhancing your insight into (1) your personal characteristics and attributes; (2) your interpersonal, social, and leadership skills; and, (3) your approach in working in groups and teams.
  • Improve your leadership effectiveness by enhancing your capacity to (1) identify your own leadership strengths and weaknesses and (2) understand how your assets and liabilities combine with others’ in groups and teams.

Group affect

Barsade, S. G., & Knight, A. P. (2015). Group affect. Annual Review of Organizational Behavior and Organizational Psychology, 2, 21-46.

Abstract. Over two decades of research has indicated that group affect is an important factor that shapes group processes and outcomes. We review and synthesize research on group affect, encompassing trait affect, moods, and emotions at a collective level in purposive teams. We begin by defining group affect and examining four major types of collective affective constructs: (a) convergence in group affect; (b) affective diversity, that is, divergence in group affect; (c) emotional culture; and (d) group affect as a dynamic process that changes over time. We describe the nomological network of group affect, examining both its group-level antecedents and group-level consequences. Antecedents include group leadership, group member attributes, and interactions between and relationships among group members. Consequences of group affect include attitudes about the group and group-level cooperation and conflict, creativity, decision making, and performance. We close by discussing current research knowns, research needs, and what lies on the conceptual and methodological frontiers of this domain.