Attaining Individual Creativity and Performance in Multi-Disciplinary and Geographically-Distributed IT Project Teams: The Role of Transactive Memory Systems
Contemporary IT project teams demand that individual members generate and implement novel ideas in response to the dynamic changes in IT and business requirements. Firms rely on multidisciplinary, geographically distributed IT project teams to gather the necessary talent, regardless of their locations, for developing novel IT artifacts. In this team context, individuals are expected to leverage dissimilar others’ expertise for creating ideas during idea generation (IG) and then implement their ideas during idea implementation (II), known as the IGII process. Although much has been done to explain individual creativity, the extant literature offers little theoretical understanding on how to address the double-edged effects of dispersions in both functional expertise (ExpDisp) and geographical locations (GeoDiss)—the two defining characteristics of multi-disciplinary, cross-locational IT project teams—on individual creativity and subsequent performance. Drawing on the IGII framework, we propose transactive memory systems (TMSs) as a plausible team-level solution to tackle the challenge. With a multi-wave multi-level dataset from 141 members and their supervisors from 35 IT project teams, we found that team-level TMS and GeoDiss interactively moderate individual-level IGII processes in multi-disciplinary geographically -distributed IT project teams during both II and IG, but in qualitatively different ways.
Production and Operations Management
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