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Journal ArticleDOI

Team boundary activity: a review and directions for future research

07 Aug 2017-Team Performance Management (Emerald Publishing Limited)-Vol. 23, pp 273-292
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the literature on team boundary activity to trace how boundary activity has evolved as a construct and examine the dimensions of team boundary activities and their relationships, highlighting the need for a deeper examination of the dimensions and why buffering and reinforcement are required.
Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is an examination of the literature on team boundary activity to trace how team boundary activity has evolved as a construct and examine the dimensions of team boundary activity and their relationships. It highlights the need for a deeper examination of the dimensions of buffering and reinforcement, and why buffering and reinforcement are required. It presents the case of why it is important to study this topic and maps out areas for future research. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews conceptual and empirical papers published on team boundary activity in reputed journals between the years 1984 and 2016. Findings The focus of research in team boundary activity has been on external interactions of the team (boundary spanning), and very few papers have studied the activities through which the team defines and defends its borders (boundary strengthening). These boundary-strengthening activities can be equally important for innovation and learning in externally dependent teams. Further, there is a need to clearly distinguish these constructs from other variables like team identification. Another area that has here-to not been researched is the relationships between the dimensions of team boundary activity. Last, there is a need to consider a wider range of antecedents, outcomes and moderators of team boundary activity. Research limitations/implications This paper is based on past empirical and conceptual papers, identified using search terms such as team boundary activity, team boundary spanning and external communication. Other related areas can also be explored for identifying variables of interest. Originality/value As opposed to previous reviews which focused mainly on team boundary spanning, this paper considers all dimensions of team boundary activity, with special focus on buffering and reinforcement. It proposes a 2 × 2 framework to explain the effect of boundary-spanning and boundary-strengthening activities on the achievement of team objectives. It examines the cyclical nature of relationship between team boundary activity and team performance. It highlights measurement issues in the area of team boundary activity.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that boundary spanning, which increases the permeability of the team boundary, can coexist with the strategies of disengagement, such as boundary buffering and boundary reinforcement, which reduce permeability.
Abstract: Knowledge brokering teams are increasingly deployed in the public sector to promote coordination and integration across previously separated practices. Permeability of external boundaries surrounding such teams is, however, often taken for granted and has so far received relatively little attention. To address this gap, this article presents the findings of an in-depth qualitative longitudinal case study of a knowledge brokering team operating in the fragmented healthcare context. It argues that boundary spanning, which increases the permeability of the team boundary, can coexist with the strategies of disengagement, such as boundary buffering and boundary reinforcement, which reduce permeability. The tension between these seemingly opposing strategies can be resolved through selective permeability, whereby the strength of the external team boundary varies depending on the out-group with which the team interacts, the out-group's mode of participation, the individual boundary spanner(s) deployed and the stage of the boundary spanning project.

19 citations


Cites background or result from "Team boundary activity: a review an..."

  • ...While it has been proposed that strategies of engagement and strategies of disengagement compete against each other (Choi 2002), their interaction at the same team boundary has so far received little empirical attention (Dey and Ganesh 2017)....

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  • ...…emphasis on identifying and delineating its ideal types, with strategies of engagement (Quick and Feldman 2014) and disengagement (Lynn 2005) often treated separately, whereas the interplay between these seemingly opposing strategies remains largely overlooked (Hernes 2004; Dey and Ganesh 2017)....

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  • ...…concurs with the previous findings about the role of leadership in enabling team boundary spanning (Edmonson et al. 2001; Edmondson 2003; Dey and Ganesh 2017), but suggests that the source of such ‘boundary-shifting’ influence may be located at the organizational level rather than within the…...

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The proposed bidirectional view on boundary buffering adds perspective to team boundary management theory and identifies common risk elements of project complexity and environmental uncertainty not typically associated with the need for buffering activities.
Abstract: Two challenges faced by automotive component design projects within contracted design agencies are (1) specification changes requested by the manufacturers and (2) product information or core technology knowledge leakage to external actors. We examine the effects of targeted boundary activities that address these challenges under the contingencies of environmental uncertainty and project complexity.,Based on Boundary management theory, a bidirectional model of boundary buffering was conceptualized in the context of design agency teams developing automotive components. A survey is derived from the proposed model. Regression analysis is performed using empirical data from 234 auto component design projects in Chinese design agencies.,Boundary buffering activities that strengthen outside-in boundaries and inside-out boundaries directly improve the final design quality. Further, the magnitude of effect for outside-in buffering on design quality is enhanced under environmental uncertainty, while the impact of inside-out buffering on design quality is enhanced under project complexity.,Boundary activities should consider differences in boundary targets, directional flow of information, and context of scope.,Automotive component design agents should attend to both outside-in and inside-out boundary buffering, especially under conditions of environmental uncertainty or project complexity.,The proposed bidirectional view on boundary buffering adds perspective to team boundary management theory. Specific contingencies include common risk elements of project complexity and environmental uncertainty not typically associated with the need for buffering activities.

11 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The constraint management process is derived, which demonstrates how teams address constraints at different stages of innovation by applying various tactics.
Abstract: Though increasingly useful for developing complex healthcare innovations, interdisciplinary teams are prone to resistance and other organizational challenges However, how teams are affected by and manage external constraints over the lifecycle of their innovation project is not well understood We used a multimethod qualitative approach consisting of over 3 years of participant observation data to analyze how four interdisciplinary teams across different health systems experienced and managed constraints as they pursued process innovations Specifically, we derived the constraint management process, which demonstrates how teams address constraints at different stages of innovation by applying various tactics Our findings point to several practical implications concerning innovation processes in healthcare: (a) how conditions in the organizational context, or constraints, can impede team progress at different stages of innovation; and (2) the collective efforts, or tactics, teams use to manage or work around these constraints to further progress on their innovations

8 citations


Cites background from "Team boundary activity: a review an..."

  • ...While a substantial literature describes antecedents of boundary spanning practices, less is known about how and for what purposes teams engage in boundary spanning activities during their innovation journeys (Dey, 2017)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The practice of software development continues to evolve in the composition of development teams and the cross-functional nature of software as mentioned in this paper. But managing the boundaries of the team is difficult under...
Abstract: The practice of software development continues to evolve in the composition of development teams and the cross-functional nature of software. Managing the boundaries of the team is difficult under ...

4 citations

References
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Book
01 Jan 1981
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors demonstrate how the many models and theories of organizations can be reduced to a few manageable perspectives, and provide expanded coverage of new economic approaches and strategic management.
Abstract: Demonstrates how the many models and theories of organizations can be reduced to a few, manageable perspectives. This new third edition updates research and theoretical literature, offers expanded coverage of new economic approaches and strategic management and includes comparative studies.

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TL;DR: In this paper, a heuristic framework illustrating recent trends in the literature depicts team effectiveness as a function of task, group, and organization design factors, environmental factors, internal processes, external processes, and group psychosocial traits.

3,568 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, a typology of composition models is proposed to provide a framework for organizing, evaluating, and developing constructs and theories in multilevel research, and five basic forms of composition are described and illustrated.
Abstract: Composition models specify the functional relationships among phenomena or constructs at different levels of analysis (e.g., individual level, team level, organizational level) that reference essentially the same content but that are qualitatively different at different levels (M. T. Hannan, 1971; K. H. Roberts, C. L. Hulin, & D. M. Rousseau, 1978; D. M. Rousseau, 1985). Specifying adequate composition models is a critical component of good multilevel research. A typology of composition models is proposed to provide a framework for organizing, evaluating, and developing constructs and theories in multilevel research. Five basic forms of composition are described and illustrated. Implications of the typology are discussed.

2,630 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a study of the complete life-spans of eight naturally-ocurring teams was conducted and it was found that several project groups did not accomplish their work by progressing gradually through a universal series of stages, as traditional group development models would predict.
Abstract: This study of the complete life-spans of eight naturally-ocurring teams began with the unexpected finding that several project groups, studied for another purpose, did not accomplish their work by progressing gradually through a universal series of stages, as traditional group development models would predict. Instead, teams progressed in a pattern of “punctuated equilibrium,” through alternating inertia and revolution in the behaviors and themes through which they approached their work. The findings also suggested that groups' progress was triggered more by members' awareness of time and deadlines than by completion of an absolute amount of work in a specific developmental stage. The paper proposes a new model of group development that encompasses the timing and mechanisms of change as well as groups' dynamic relations with their contexts. Implications for theory, research, and practice are drawn.

2,269 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bailyn et al. as discussed by the authors used semistructured interviews with 38 new-product team managers in high-technotogy companies, log data from two of these teams, and questionnaires completed by members of a different set of AB newproduct teams to generate and test hypotheses about teams' external activities.
Abstract: We thank Lotte Bailyn, Keith Mumighan. Elaine RtMnanelli, the Center for Innovation Management Studies. Bob Sutton, and tfie anonymous reviewers at Administrative Science Quarteriy for their support and comments. This article focuses on the activities teams use to manage their organizational environment beyond their teams. We used semistructured interviews with 38 new-product team managers in high-technotogy companies, log data from two of these teams, and questionnaires completed by members of a different set of AB new-product teams to generate and test hypotheses about teams' external activities. Results indicate that teams engage in vertical communications aimed at molding the views of top management, horizontal communication aimed at coordinating work and obtaining feedback, and horizontal communication aimed at general scanning of the technical and market environment. Organizational teams appear to develop distinct strategies toward their environment: some specialize in particular external activities, some remain isolated from the extemal environment, and others engage in multiple external activities. The paper shows that the type of external communication teams engage in, not just the amount, determines performance. Over time, teams following a comprehensive strategy enter positive cycles of external activity, internal processes, and performance that enable long-term team success.*

2,097 citations