Joining Teams and Going Overboard!

Topic: Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Review
Article: Multiple team membership: A theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams
Authors: M.B. O’Leary, M. Mortensen & A.W. Woolley
Reviewed By: Jade Peters

A team is a set of individuals, bound to work together towards a shared goal or outcome. The number of teams an employee is involved in and the variety of the teams are important factors when addressing the employee’s learning and productivity

A recent team membership model shows that the more teams an employee is on the more productive they are up until a point where too many teams become overwhelming and productivity decreases significantly.  On the other hand, the variety of teams an employee is on is important because the variety can really aid in the increase of learning within teams and employees.

Really understanding how team membership can affect productivity and learning will help managers and team leaders become more mindful of the number of teams they assign their employees too and the variety of the teams.  Managers are going to want a productive employee that gets the most learning experience out of the teams that they join.  Employees alike can really benefit from this as well.  Knowing when to join teams and resisting teams they know will overwhelm them can help increase their productivity while they still maintain an increase in learning. 

O’Leary, M.B., Mortensen, M., & Woolley, A.W. (2011). Multiple team membership: a theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams. Academy of management review, 2011(36), 461-478.

human resource management,organizational industrial psychology, organizational management