The What, the Who, and the How: Coordination Experience and Team Performance In the Electronic Game Industry
38 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 13, 2010
Team design significantly impacts organizational performance in knowledge and creative industries, in which products are developed by project-based teams. Team members’ expertise in what they do, that is, in the tasks they perform and the hierarchical roles they fulfill, is critical to teams’ success. Equally important is the ability to coordinate complementary expertise and interdependent activities, which may become easier when team members are familiar with who is on their team. Most project teams are fluid, however, hampering the development of team familiarity and raising the question of how team members coordinate effectively. In this paper we propose and investigate the performance consequences of two alternative coordination mechanisms: shared experience with firm-specific coordination routines, and general experience interacting and coordinating within teams. Using data on development teams working on electronic games released in the U.S. between 1995 and 2007, we find that shared firm experience and teaming experience are positively associated with the commercial success of electronic games, and that these effects are important for teams with both low and high levels of familiarity. Our results have implications for the theory of learning and coordination in teams, and for the practice of team design in project-based organizations.
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