Lunchtime Seminar - How many is too many? Effects of Multiple Team Membership on Performance and Creativity
Speaker: Prof. Mary Beth Watson-Manheim
Abstract: In today’s hyper-competitive and dynamic environment, organizations are called on to deliver faster and higher quality products than ever before. In response to this trend, employees are often concurrently working on multiple project teams that may be comprised of geographically dispersed team members. This work arrangement, which we refer to as Multiple Team Membership (MTM), has advantages in that employees can leverage knowledge across projects and use gaps in time and tasks in one project to accomplish tasks related to other projects. Despite these advantages, use of MTM poses several challenges. In particular, working across different projects and teams with varying cognitive demands beyond a certain point can take a toll on an individual’s ability to focus, solve problems, and be creative. For example, individuals may have less time to exploit and explore information available from different teams, reducing their chances of learning from the different teams on which they work.
The goal of this research is to examine the effect of working across concurrent projects on individual performance and creativity. Specifically, we ask – at what point do the benefits of MTM cease to become beneficial and begin to hinder employee performance and creativity? Further, we examine how MTM affects individual project knowledge, variety of sources utilized to arrive at a solution, and workload. The research findings are expected to help organizations where individuals work in multiple teams manage such teams to produce better outcomes.
Authors: Prof. M. B. Watson-Manheim, University of Illinois at Chicago, Prof. M. Ahuja, University of Louisville, Prof. P. Rahmati, University of Georgia
Short Bio: Mary Beth Watson-Manheim is Professor of Information Systems in the Information and Decision Sciences Department, College of Business Administration, and in the Communication Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was named a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar to India in 2009. She is actively involved in research on the implications of a global and ICT–intensive workplace for individuals and organizations. Her research has been published in many leading journals and conferences and has received national and international awards, including winner of the AIS 2012 Best Publication of the Year in Information Systems Discipline. She holds a number of conference and journal editorial positions, including Senior Editor of Information Systems Journal. She served as Division Chair (2016-17) of the Academy of Management’s OCIS (Organizational Communication and Information Systems) Division and as Program chair for this Division in 2015.
Prof. Watson-Manheim holds a Ph.D. degree in Information Technology Management from Georgia Institute of Technology and was previously on the faculty of the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. Before pursuing her Ph.D., she was employed for 10 years in the telecommunications industry.