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Professions and inter-disciplinary teamwork in socially embedded bureaucracies: Synthesis and hypotheses on the impact of informal and formal organization


  • Daniel B. Cornfield

    () (Vanderbilt University)


In order to maximize their productivity, inter-disciplinary multi-occupation teams of professionals need to maximize inter-occupational cooperation in team decision making. Cooperation, however, is challenged by status anxiety over organizational careers and identity politics among team members who differ by ethnicity-race, gender, religion, nativity, citizenship status, etc. The purpose of this paper is to develop hypotheses about how informal and formal features of bureaucracy influence the level of inter-occupation cooperation achieved by socially diverse, multi-occupation work teams of professionals in bureaucratic work organizations. The 18 hypotheses, which are developed with the heuristic empirical case of National Science Foundation-sponsored university school partnerships in math and science curriculum innovation in the United States, culminate in the argument that cooperation can be realized as a synthesis of tensions between informal and formal features of bureaucracy in the form of participatory, high performance work systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel B. Cornfield, 2005. "Professions and inter-disciplinary teamwork in socially embedded bureaucracies: Synthesis and hypotheses on the impact of informal and formal organization," Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, IET/CICS.NOVA-Interdisciplinary Centre on Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, vol. 1(1), pages 27-36, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ieu:journl:v:1:y:2005:i:1:p:27-36

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