STAYING APART TO WORK BETTER TOGETHER: TEAM STRUCTURE IN CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAMS

Lindsay E. Larson*, Alexandra M. Harris-Watson, Dorothy R. Carter, Raquel Asencio, Leslie A. Dechurch, Ruth Kanfer, Stephen J. Zaccaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Organizations often leverage cross-functional teams to create innovative solutions and products, yet collaboration across functional boundaries is inherently challenging. Research on small teams has largely suggested that, to facilitate team creative outcomes, subgroups should integrate across functional boundaries by increasing communication. In contrast, research on larger cross-functional teams (e.g., multiteam systems) has suggested that too much communication across knowledge domains can worsen team out-comes. Using a quasi-experimental design, we investigate the influence of these two different team structures on cross-functional team communication and subsequent innovation outcomes. Contrary to the prevailing recommendation for an integrated team structure in small teams, results illustrate that integrating teams, and the resultant extensive cross-functional communication, does not enhance team innovation outcomes. Rather, teams with greater functional subgroup differentiation, though exhibiting relatively less cross-functional communication, exhibit greater cross-functional synthesis. These results suggest important implications for managers of cross-functional knowledge integration work, as well as the future study of cross-functional teamwork of all sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-338
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Discoveries
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial relations

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'STAYING APART TO WORK BETTER TOGETHER: TEAM STRUCTURE IN CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAMS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this