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Asymmetry in structural adaptation: The differential impact of centralizing versus decentralizing team decision-making structures

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  • Hollenbeck, John R.
  • Ellis, Aleksander P.J.
  • Humphrey, Stephen E.
  • Garza, Adela S.
  • Ilgen, Daniel R.

Abstract

This study tested predictions derived from Structural Adaptation Theory (SAT) on the longitudinal effects of centralizing and decentralizing decision-making structures in teams. Results from 93 four-person teams working on a command and control simulation generally supported SAT, documenting that it was more difficult for teams to adapt to a centralized decision-making structure after formerly working within a decentralized structure, than it was to adapt in the alternative direction. The negative effects of centralized shifts were mediated by efficiency and adaptability, in the sense that former decentralized teams experienced the negative aspects of centralization (lack of adaptability), but not the positive aspects (efficiency). The dangers of employing structural reconfiguration to solve certain problems in teams are discussed, especially if these changes are based upon expectations generalized from cross-sectional research that did not directly observe teams that experienced true structural change.

Suggested Citation

  • Hollenbeck, John R. & Ellis, Aleksander P.J. & Humphrey, Stephen E. & Garza, Adela S. & Ilgen, Daniel R., 2011. "Asymmetry in structural adaptation: The differential impact of centralizing versus decentralizing team decision-making structures," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 64-74, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:114:y:2011:i:1:p:64-74
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Beersma, Bianca & Hollenbeck, John R. & Conlon, Donald E. & Humphrey, Stephen E. & Moon, Henry & Ilgen, Daniel R., 2009. "Cutthroat cooperation: The effects of team role decisions on adaptation to alternative reward structures," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 131-142, January.
    2. Bonaccio, Silvia & Dalal, Reeshad S., 2006. "Advice taking and decision-making: An integrative literature review, and implications for the organizational sciences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 127-151, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nahrgang, Jennifer D. & DeRue, D. Scott & Hollenbeck, John R. & Spitzmuller, Matthias & Jundt, Dustin K. & Ilgen, Daniel R., 2013. "Goal setting in teams: The impact of learning and performance goals on process and performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 12-21.
    2. Tröster, Christian & Mehra, Ajay & van Knippenberg, Daan, 2014. "Structuring for team success: The interactive effects of network structure and cultural diversity on team potency and performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 245-255.
    3. Johnson, Michael D. & Hollenbeck, John R. & Scott DeRue, D. & Barnes, Christopher M. & Jundt, Dustin, 2013. "Functional versus dysfunctional team change: Problem diagnosis and structural feedback for self-managed teams," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 1-11.

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    Keywords

    Teams Structure Adaptation;

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