When Team Identity Helps Innovation and When It Hurts: Team Identity and Its Relationship to Team and Cross-Team Innovative Behavior

Robert C. Litchfield*, Zahide Karakitapoğlu-Aygün, Lale Gumusluoglu, Matthew Carter, Giles Hirst

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    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. The present research explains these mixed effects through intra- and intergroup aspects of social identity theory and the concept of team reflexivity. Effects of team identification on team innovative behavior were expected to be contingent upon team reflexivity, such that team identification would be positively related to team innovative behavior only when team reflexivity was high. 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 was further expected to be 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, 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
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
    Volume35
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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