How Organizations Support Distributed Project Teams: Key Dimensions and Their Impact on Decision-Making and Teamwork Effectiveness
July 21, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – Work in distributed project teams is always a challenge for organizations. Many researchers have studies different aspects of distributed project teams, as witnessed by the impressive number of papers published in the last decade. However, it appears that the dimensions related to organizational support have still not received much attention in empirical studies. This study investigates the dimensions of organizational support in distributed project teams that contribute most to the quality of the decision-making process and teamwork effectiveness in distributed project teams. Design/methodology/approach – The initial intent of this research was to test a theoretical model on the basis of data from the field, namely real-life situations. A two-step approach (qualitative and quantitative method) was used. The research model was tested in a sample of experienced project managers on distributed project teams.Findings – The results suggest that strategic staffing and training and tools provided to team members have a positive impact on the quality of decision making and teamwork effectiveness. Team autonomy is more salient and influential in fostering decision quality in a highly culturally diverse context. Our findings also re-confirm the link between the quality of decision making and team effectiveness. Thus, teams are perceived as vehicles for identifying and integrating various individual viewpoints and combining knowledge.Practical implications – This study underscores the importance of selecting practices that enhance the recognition of team members’ contributions in the context of distributed project teams. It is now clear that managers cannot treat these distributed project teams in the same way as conventional teams. Several intervention and support methods are possible. This research contributes to identifying which of them are the most appropriate in this context.Originality/value – This study contributes to research on distributed project teams and on organizational support theory. It highlights the importance of understanding the processes or dimensions underlying the consequences of perceived organizational support. It bolsters the need to select practices that enhance the recognition of team members’ contributions and treat them favourably in the context of distributed project teams.
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