Boundary Multiplicity: Rethinking Teams and Boundedness in the Light of Today’s Collaborative Environment

43 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2012 Last revised: 17 Apr 2015

See all articles by Mark Mortensen

Mark Mortensen

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour

Date Written: April 16, 2015

Abstract

The dynamism, competitiveness, and scope of work forces organizations to utilize teams with boundaries that are fluid, overlapping, and often disagreed upon. These traits – which I argue are frequently not reflected in the way in which we characterize teams in our thinking and theorizing – are all deeply tied to teams’ boundedness. Using a review of the past 25 years of teams research I explore the extent to which these characteristics are reflected in our scholarship. I outline the serious theoretical and methodological implications of this divergence between our theories and teams in practice and identify key issues that arise when theories based on well-bounded teams are applied to unbounded- or weaklybounded teams. I provide concrete recommendations for how to design future studies in terms of both theory and methods and highlight key questions regarding how we think about and in some cases define teams and their boundaries.

Suggested Citation

Mortensen, Mark, Boundary Multiplicity: Rethinking Teams and Boundedness in the Light of Today’s Collaborative Environment (April 16, 2015). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2015/31/OBH. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980698 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1980698

Mark Mortensen (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Organisational Behaviour ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

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