Is the project ‘mine’ or ‘ours’? A multilevel investigation of the effects of individual and collective psychological ownership

Ieva Martinaityte*, Claudia Sacramento, Kerrie L. Unsworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Challenging the dominant view that individual psychological ownership (IPO) is only relevant at the individual and collective psychological ownership (CPO) at the group level, we developed a multilevel model of psychological ownership. We distinguished theoretically and empirically between two types of ownerships and test how IPO and CPO effect individual and team behaviours. Data were obtained across three-time points from 186 members and their managers in 39 project teams from multiple countries. Results revealed that, at the individual level, both IPO and CPO were positively related to individual engagement which, in turn, related to individual creativity. However at the group level, group-mean IPO was negatively related to team engagement, while group-mean CPO was positively related to team engagement. Team engagement, in turn, was positively related to team creativity. This study sheds light on IPO and CPO as being independent constructs with distinct positive and negative effects on individual and team processes and outcomes. Practitioner points: In a team project, it is important for every member to feel personal ownership towards the project as it drives individuals to invest more effort and be more creative in the project. At the same time, managers should be aware that individual ownership minimizes collective effort. Teams with high individual ownership are less collectively engaged, which in turn diminishes team creativity. Managers should invest time in making each team member feel like a project owner, but also focusing on teams developing a feeling of collective ownership (‘This is our project’) if they expect higher team dedication and more creative project outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Early online date17 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2019

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Ownership
Psychology
Creativity
Psychological ownership
Psychological Models
Psychological Tests
Anniversaries and Special Events

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Martinaityte, I., Unsworth, K.L. and Sacramento, C.A. (2019), Is the project ‘mine’ or ‘ours’? A multilevel investigation of the effects of individual and collective psychological ownership. J Occup Organ Psychol. , which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12300.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Keywords

  • creativity
  • engagement
  • multilevel
  • psychological ownership

Cite this

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abstract = "Challenging the dominant view that individual psychological ownership (IPO) is only relevant at the individual and collective psychological ownership (CPO) at the group level, we developed a multilevel model of psychological ownership. We distinguished theoretically and empirically between two types of ownerships and test how IPO and CPO effect individual and team behaviours. Data were obtained across three-time points from 186 members and their managers in 39 project teams from multiple countries. Results revealed that, at the individual level, both IPO and CPO were positively related to individual engagement which, in turn, related to individual creativity. However at the group level, group-mean IPO was negatively related to team engagement, while group-mean CPO was positively related to team engagement. Team engagement, in turn, was positively related to team creativity. This study sheds light on IPO and CPO as being independent constructs with distinct positive and negative effects on individual and team processes and outcomes. Practitioner points: In a team project, it is important for every member to feel personal ownership towards the project as it drives individuals to invest more effort and be more creative in the project. At the same time, managers should be aware that individual ownership minimizes collective effort. Teams with high individual ownership are less collectively engaged, which in turn diminishes team creativity. Managers should invest time in making each team member feel like a project owner, but also focusing on teams developing a feeling of collective ownership (‘This is our project’) if they expect higher team dedication and more creative project outcomes.",
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