When team identity helps innovation and when it hurts: team identity and its relationship to team and cross-team innovative behavior

Robert Litchfield, Matthew Carter, Giles Hirst, Lale Tomruk Gumusluoglu, Zahide Karakitapoğlu Aygün

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although the success of team-based organizations requires innovative behavior within and across teams, little research has considered how to foster both types of activity. This is problematic as strong team attachments such as team identification may have mixed effects on team innovative behavior, and may even negatively impact cross-team innovative behavior. We explain these mixed effects through intra- and intergroup aspects of social identity theory and the concept of team reflexivity. We propose that effects of team identification on team innovative behavior are contingent upon team reflexivity, such that team identification is positively related to team innovative behavior only when team reflexivity is high. We also propose that where a team’s innovative behavior involves working across team boundaries with other teams, i.e. cross-team innovative behavior, this interaction between team identification and reflexivity is further qualified by perceived interdependence with another team. In a sample of 61 Turkish research and development (R&D) teams comprising 305 employees and 61 team leaders, we find that the association between team identity and team innovative behavior was moderated by team reflexivity as predicted. Further, team identity was positively associated with cross-team innovative behavior only when reflexivity and perceived interdependence between teams were both high, and negatively associated when reflexivity was low and perceived interdependence between teams was high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-366
JournalJournal of Product Innovation management
Volume35
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Litchfield, R., Carter, M. R., Hirst, G., Tomruk Gumusluoglu, L., & Karakitapoğlu Aygün, Z. (2017). When team identity helps innovation and when it hurts: team identity and its relationship to team and cross-team innovative behavior. Journal of Product Innovation management, in press, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpim.12410. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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