Innovation teams vary in terms of team members’ proximity, i.e., the degree to which all team members are in direct vicinity over the duration of the project. The proximity of team members, however, has potentially important implications for the collaborative working of teams. In this paper, we develop and test hypotheses relating team members’ proximity to the performance-relevant team collaborative processes included in Hoegl and Gemuenden’s [Organization Science 12 (4) (2001) 435] teamwork quality framework, i.e., communication, coordination, balance of member contributions, mutual support, effort, and cohesion. Using data from 430 team members and team leaders of 145 software development teams, the results of the regression models show that team members’ proximity is significantly related to teamwork quality. However, the magnitude of the relationship between proximity and teamwork quality varies among the six facets of teamwork quality. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Bocconi University, Institute of Organization and Information Systems, and SDA Bocconi School of Management, Viale Isonzo 23, 20135 Milano, Italy
Available online 27 September 2004
An extensive body of literature indicates the importance of teamwork to the success of innovative projects. This growing awareness, that “good teamwork” increases the success of innovative projects, raises new questions: What is teamwork, and how can it be measured? Why and how is teamwork related to the success of innovative projects? How strong is the relationship between teamwork and various measures of project success such as performance or team member satisfaction? This article develops a comprehensive concept of the collaboration in teams, called Teamwork Quality (TWQ). The six facets of the TWQ construct, i.e., communication, coordination, balance of member contributions, mutual support, effort, and cohesion, are specified. Hypotheses regarding the relationship between TWQ and project success are tested using data from 575 team members, team leaders, and managers of 145 German software teams. The results of the structural equation models estimated show that TWQ (as rated by team members) is significantly associated with team performance as rated by team members, team leaders, and team-external managers. However, the magnitude of the relationship between TWQ and team performance varies by the perspective of the performance rater, i.e., manager vs. team leader vs. team members. Furthermore, TWQ shows a strong association with team members’ personal success (i.e., work satisfaction and learning).