Attaining individual creativity and performance in multi-disciplinary and geographically-distributed it project teams: the role of transactive memory systems

Wei He*, J.J. Po-An Hsieh, Andreas Schroeder, Yulin Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Contemporary IT project teams demand individual members to generate and implement novel ideas in response to the dynamic changes in IT and business requirements. Firms rely on multi-disciplinary, geographically-distributed IT project teams to gather necessary talents, 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research is partially supported by the General Research Fund from
the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (Project# 15502215).

Keywords

  • Expertise dissimilarity
  • IT project teams
  • geographic dispersion
  • transactive memory system
  • idea generation idea implementation
  • cross-level analysis
  • future work
  • creativity

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