Conditions Enabling Effective Multiple Team Membership

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Abstract

There is a long tradition of research on work in teams and their increasingly important use as an approach to organizational design. While the implicit assumption has been that individuals work on one team at a time, many individuals are now being asked to juggle several projects and their associated multiple team memberships (MTM) simultaneously. This creates a set of interesting opportunities and challenges for organizations that choose to structure work in this way. In this paper, we review the limited existing research on MTM work. We then present the results of a survey documenting the prevalence of MTM work and the findings from a pilot interview study suggesting a number of challenges, benefits, and enabling conditions associated with MTM work. We discuss the implications for managers working in MTM environments as well as for scholars of teams and, in doing so we describe what we see as key items on the agenda for future research on this topic.