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Chiaburu and Harrison found evidence that co-worker actions predict the perceptual, attitudinal and behavioural outcomes of their colleagues even net of the influence of the direct leaders. Literature examining how team member relationships can affect creativity and innovation at work Dunegan et al.

However, literature on the quality of dyadic relationships e. Olsson et al. The dyadic relationship between peers reporting to the same manager and belonging to the same team co-worker exchange relationship, hereafter CWX Sherony and Green can be measured in terms of the respect, trust and mutual obligation between them Jacobs ; Jones Differences in the quality of these relationships may influence the individual perception about the environment and its consideration as appropriated to develop ideas.

However, the complexity and the interdependence of tasks performed within a team can also affect interactions and the frequency of communication among team members Man and Lam In this study, we analyse the direct and indirect effects of high-quality co-worker relationships on team performance, measured in terms of research output, taking into account the potential influence of job complexity and interdependence task on the perception of a creative team environment.

This paper aims to make several contributions, the first of which is to synthesize, from the extensive literature on CWX and LMX, evidence of the important role played by the quality of dyadic relations within a team in determining a creative environment, irrespective of their leaders. Second, our study sheds light on creativity processes by showing how relationships at work combine with job complexity and task interdependence to generate an appropriate environment for creativity. Third, we test the team environment for creativity as a mediator between average team quality co-worker relationships and team performance, showing that relationships among peers reporting to the same leader can foster innovative output.

Last, we use objective measures for research output Olsson et al.

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Kratzer et al. A creative team environment can be defined as a work environment that encourages and supports creativity among its members Gilson et al. Therefore, a creative team environment can be understood as a group of stimuli encouraging and supporting creativity where interaction and exchange with others can influence and determine such a perception. Although extensive research shows leaders as key players in determining climate and work environments for creativity and innovation Amabile et al. The success of a relationship is based on the exchange of benefits, either intrinsic or extrinsic, as well as on normative obligations.

At work, social environments are frequently defined by the co-workers Clay and Olitt CWXs have been studied in relation to work attitudes Sherony and Green ; Wikaningrum , burnout and work motivation Fernet et al. Love and Dustin noted that a supportive environment encourages change-oriented behaviour and fosters generating and implementing new ideas. Members need to feel comfortable enough to take risks, exchange information and encourage the search for new ideas and solutions Amabile et al.

Friendly and supportive behaviour allows followers to share knowledge and resources Graen and Uhl-Bien ; Jones , a process that is especially important when new tasks are to be undertaken. When co-workers achieve high levels of trust, respect and mutual obligation, they can interact more frequently and more effectively, sharing information and feeling comfortable enough to generate new ideas Baer and Oldham It then becomes easier to promote a creative team environment Amabile et al. Such an environment fosters positive feedback, cooperation and willingness to help Kluger and DeNisi Zhou and George argue that co-workers play a crucial role in the perception of creativity and innovation through constant feedback Agrell and Gustafson Albrecht and Hall observed that suggesting new ideas is risky, since changes to a previously established order subject innovators to scrutiny from the rest of the members in an organization; high-quality relationships with team members reduce this risk.

With higher averages for the dyads within a team relates to a more positive perception of creative team environment. Given that perception of the environment is the result of socially constructed interactions Schneider , much of what team members perceive is dependent on the attitudes and perceptions of the other team members. In that way, we expect that:. Hypothesis 1. Team average of CWXs will be positively related to creative team environment. At the end of the s and during the s, researchers including Woodman et al.

Creativity may be encouraged by interaction with others and willingness to help Diliello et al.

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For instance, Baer and Oldham showed a correlation between support for creativity received from supervisors and co-workers and openness to experiment. Hackman points out that, in some cases, new ideas may be either rejected or ignored, while in others they appear attractive and receive practical support.

Sharing these ideas with the rest of the group may increase opportunities to produce new ideas, although it also implies that team members must consider the ideas of others Paulus Creativity requires examining old problems from different perspectives, combining unrelated processes and products to make something new. According to Madjar , emotional and informational support from co-workers creates a pool of resources and enhances creative performance.

Barczak et al. De Dreu and West showed that team members need to share knowledge and work in order to transform innovative ideas into feasible processes, products or services. High-quality relationships among colleagues who cooperate, share feedback and provide mutual support may improve with the frequency and quality of communication. Recently, a meta-analysis by Chiaburu et al. In sum, an environment that facilitates intense interactions among team members, constant feedback and a comfortable and safe environment for the presentation of new ideas is likely to foster creative output Zhou and George In parallel, research on team innovation Anderson and West ; Keller ; West , ; West et al.

Rousseau et al.

Anderson and West developed a measure of climate for workgroup innovation that included vision, participative safety, task orientation and support for innovation see also Mathisen et al. This type of environment generates safety during interactions with other members Paulus ; Edmonson Gu et al. All in all, research shows that an environment which promotes the exchange of information, tolerance of errors and psychological safety clearly encourages creative and innovative results Gu et al. Hypothesis 2: Creative team environment will be positively related to team performance.

Taken together, hypotheses 1 and 2 allow us to consider the mediating role of the team creative environment in the relationship between team average co-worker relations and team performance Amabile et al. Stoker et al. Wong et al. Eisenbeiss et al. Finally, more recently, Rousseau et al.

Like support for innovation, a creative environment favours a flow of supportive behaviour on the part of team members. Hypothesis 3: Creative team environment will mediate the relationship between team average of CWXs and team performance. Task development determines who will be part of the group, which roles members will undertake, how they will have to work as a team and which processes will be performed individually or collectively Richter et al. This implies that the task is directly related to varying degrees of creativity and innovation.

In general terms, creative tasks are ill-defined, complex and challenging, characterized by high levels of autonomy and by variety in abilities needed, identity and feedback. These types of task, in turn, usually strengthen intrinsic motivation, benefiting creativity Amabile We propose that job complexity moderates the relationship between co-worker relationships and team creative environment for two reasons. First, the more complex the tasks, the more motivated, satisfied and productive employees feel.

There are several studies focusing on the relationship between work complexity and creative responses from employees. Hatcher et al. Oldham and Cummings concluded that employees with personal creative skills are drawn to complex tasks, as these provide them with the tools to develop their potential, whereas simple and automatic tasks may inhibit their potential.

Second, complex and difficult tasks result in higher intrinsic motivation; task complexity may mean that more feedback is necessary between colleagues Van der Vegt et al. Complex tasks generally require more interaction within the group, higher coordination and interdependence Wood Complex tasks can therefore be characterized as being ambiguous, ill-structured and complicated, which means that group members need cooperation and coordination to carry them out successfully.

Thus, the more complex the tasks, the greater the need for mutual support and understanding among team members. In contrast, simple tasks require only established procedures, rendering discussion and coordination unnecessary Man and Lam Recently, Wang et al. However, when team members cannot work independently to each other when completing a task, holding good relationships among them becomes vital to create an appropriated environment. Johnson and Johnson called the attention to the benefits of designing task with high interdependence, citing its positive effects on learning, achievement, cognitive complexity of thought and relationships.

In the same line, other authors Shea and Guzzo ; Wageman have identified interdependence of the task as a potential key element for group effectiveness. High levels of interdependence of the tasks increase the level of coordination, communication, support and information sharing in individualist tasks Johnson , thus influencing in the levels of social interaction. Interdependence of the task should allow interaction of members, risk taking and open discussions; therefore, consequently, the levels of cooperation and collaboration should be high, promoting high climate for creativity and innovation.

However, for all this happening, the team needs to hold strong and good relationships among its members.

Virtual Teams for New Product Development – An Innovative Experience for R&D Engineers

Furthermore, the higher the job complexity, the higher the need for cooperation and collaboration and the need to work as a team to create a suitable environment for creativity. For these reasons, we argue that in situations of high job complexity, high levels of interdependence of the tasks and of CWX are needed in order to develop a suitable creative environment. On the opposite side, if the job is less complex or interdependence of task is low, CWX plays a much weaker role in the development of a climate for creativity.

All the previous arguments lead us to the following hypothesis:. Hypothesis 4: There is a three-way interaction among job complexity task interdependence and team average of CWXs on creative team environment, in such a manner that the relationship between team average of CWXs and creative team environment will be reinforced when job complexity and task interdependence are both high.

Chi et al. We held telephone conversations with all team leaders to obtain more information about the structure of these teams and their availability for participation in this study. Team members are mostly university professors, scientists, engineers and technicians. In the first step, we mail out a questionnaire collecting information about our variables: co-worker exchange relationships, creative team environment, job complexity and task interdependence. We accounted a total of questionnaires, constituting a final sample of 81 teams. The teams ranged in size from 3 to 17 members leaders included , with an average size of 5.

Leadership, Management, and Innovation in R&D Project Teams by Leon Mann - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

We used the CWX scale from Sherony and Green , who slightly modified LMX-7 Graen and Uhl-Bien , to capture the quality dyadic relationship among co-workers in terms of respect, trust and mutual obligation. Team members answered a complete scale of six items for each of their co-workers in a team. Crombach alpha indicated a good internal consistency, being equal to 0.

We measured creative team environment using Gilson et al. Members were asked whether the team as a whole is encouraged to introduce changes or to try new things even when these are not useful. Crombach alpha was 0. We used the three-item scale from Gilson and Shalley that measures the degree that each team member needs the rest of the team to complete his or her task. The unit of analysis in this study is the scientific research team. The number of published papers per team ranged from 0 to 25, with a mean of 6.

We originally thought about considering the number of new products developed by the team, but it was zero in most cases being the average amount of new products less than 1, the reason for which we discarded it as a variable to our analysis. Simonton demonstrated that scientific productivity is related to experience and length of stay within the field.

We measured team member tenure as the number of months working within the team. Cohen and Bailey have shown different types of relationship between team size and effectiveness, with curvilinear or direct effects; therefore, both tenure and team size have been included as control variables affecting team creative environment and team performance.

Leader-Member Exchange LMX , understood as the quality of the relationship that the leader holds with each of the subordinate Graen and Uhl-Bien , has also been acknowledged to affect how the team member perceives the environment is adequate for innovation Dunegan et al. The LMX-7 consists of seven items that characterize various aspects of the relationship between supervisor and subordinate, including trust, support and mutual respect.

We have included the team average LMX as a control variable that affects team creative environment. We also calculated LMX within-team standard deviation as differences in co-workers relation to the team leader has been acknowledged to affect team environment Bakar and Sheer If the team average scores for creative team environment, job complexity and task interdependence reflect a shared reality within each group, the scores obtained from individual team members should be similar.

This similarity can be measured using the inter-group agreement coefficient r wg and the inter-class coefficient, ICC 1 and ICC 2 Bliese and Halverson The average results for r wg when using the uniform distribution were 0. The mean r wg scores that suggested strong within-team agreement Biemann et al.

The results for ICC 1 were 0. These numbers suggest that the scores obtained from variance analysis depend on membership in a specific team Bliese and Halverson The reliability of the team-level means was calculated by ICC 2 Cole et al. This index measures reliability in terms of group consistency, yielding scores of 0. The levels of all of these coefficients satisfy the suggested criteria for data aggregation Gilson et al.

It should be noted that the case of CWX is different to other variables, such as creative team environment, job complexity or task interdependence, as CWX is not really a team-level but a dyad-level variable. Different levels should be taken with care so that they do not lead to further confusion Kozlowski and Klein There are no reasons to expect a very high agreement between the perspectives of all co-workers within a team as the quality of the relationships vary across dyads.

The mean inter-group agreement coefficient r wg was 0. We used SPSS to obtain the descriptive statistics of the variables involved in the analysis. The average team co-worker exchange was relatively high, being on average 3. When analysing more of the variable CWX in depth, we found that the within-team standard deviation of CWX was on average 0.

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Putting on the thinking cap: Using neuroIS to understand information processing biases in virtual teams.

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Leadership in virtual teams: Oxymoron or opportunity? Organizational Dynamics, 31 4 , Erasmo Escala - Santiago, Chile. Journal Supported by. Ireland Kathryn Cormican Ph. User Username Password Remember me. Framework Proposal for Open Please share your general feedback. You can start or join in a discussion here.

Visit emeraldpublishing. Findings — Given a low level of electronic system and process integration, the frequency of personal contacts makes a significant contribution to explaining success variance. Practical implications — Knowing what is important in a particular project configuration makes it possible to take informed action with respect to the success criterion.

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