Shared Responsibility and Coordination Behaviors in Temporary Teams

47 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

Date Written: November 19, 2016


This paper introduces the construct of team shared responsibility — a shared belief held by members of a team that they are equally committed to a common purpose — and models its effects on team formation and coordination in temporary teams. Findings from of a comparative field study of temporary teams in hospital emergency departments (EDs) show that this shared belief was associated with mutual helping, group engagement and team coordination, and with team members interpreting their temporary groups as teams. But groups that did not have this shared belief avoided interaction, did not help each other, and did not consider themselves to be teams, even though they were co-located, interdependent, and structured similarly to the other teams. These findings help explain the discrepancy between studies that show teams to be generative and beneficial for workers and studies that show that workers often resist or undermine team work designs: close interdependence is tolerable when team members have a sense of shared responsibility, but seems unfair or risky when team members believe they are unequally yoked.

Keywords: Teams, Shared Beliefs, Shared Responsibility, Qualitative Research

Suggested Citation

Valentine, Melissa, Shared Responsibility and Coordination Behaviors in Temporary Teams (November 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Melissa Valentine (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

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