Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services

34 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2007 Last revised: 22 Sep 2012

See all articles by Robert S. Huckman

Robert S. Huckman

Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bradley R. Staats

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

David M. Upton

University of Oxford, Said Business School (deceased)

Date Written: July 3, 2008

Abstract

Much of the literature on team learning views experience as a unidimensional concept captured by the cumulative production volume of, or the number of projects completed by, a team. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that teams are stable in their membership and internal organization. In practice, however, such stability is rare, as the composition and structure of teams often changes over time or between projects. In this paper, we use detailed data from an Indian software services firm to examine how such changes may affect the accumulation of experience within, and the performance of, teams. We find that the level of team familiarity (i.e., the average number of times that each member has worked with every other member of the team) has a significant positive effect on performance, but we observe that conventional measures of the experience of individual team members (e.g., years at the firm) are not consistently related to performance. We do find, however, that the role experience of individuals in a team (i.e., years in a given role within a team) is associated with better team performance. Our results offer an approach for capturing the experience held by fluid teams and highlight the need to study context-specific measures of experience, including role experience. In addition, our findings provide insight into how the interactions of team members may contribute to the development of broader firm capabilities.

Suggested Citation

Huckman, Robert S. and Staats, Bradley R. and Upton, David M., Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services (July 3, 2008). HBS Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Research Paper No. 08-019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015569

Robert S. Huckman

Harvard Business School ( email )

Technology & Operations Management
435 Morgan Hall
Boston, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bradley R. Staats (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building, CB#3490
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

David M. Upton

University of Oxford, Said Business School (deceased)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
137
Abstract Views
937
rank
210,580
PlumX Metrics