Learning in Temporary Teams: The Varying Effects of Partner Exposure by Team Member Role

53 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018 Last revised: 25 Jan 2022

See all articles by Song-Hee Kim

Song-Hee Kim

Seoul National University - Business School

Hummy Song

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Melissa Valentine

Stanford University

Date Written: January 25, 2022


In many workplaces, temporary teams convene to coordinate complex work, despite team members having not worked together before. Most related research has found consistent performance benefits when members of temporary teams work together multiple times (team familiarity). Recent work in this area broke new conceptual ground by instead exploring the learning and performance benefits that team members gain by being exposed to many new partners (partner exposure). In contrast to that new work that examined partner exposure between team members who are peers, in this paper we extend this research by developing and testing theory about the performance effects of partner exposure for team members whose roles are differentiated by authority and skill. We use visit-level data from a hospital ED and leverage the ad hoc assignment of attendings, nurses, and residents to teams and the round-robin assignment of patients to these teams as our identification strategy. We find a negative performance effect of both nurses’ and resident trainees’ partner exposure to more attendings, and of attendings’ and nurses’ exposure to more residents. In contrast, both attendings and residents experience a positive impact on performance from working with more nurses. The respective effects of residents working with more attendings and with more nurses is attenuated on patient cases with more structured workflows. Our results suggest that interactions with team members in decision-executing roles, as opposed to decision-initiating roles, is an important but often unrecognized part of disciplinary training and team learning.

Keywords: temporary teams, partner exposure, team familiarity, hierarchy, health care

Suggested Citation

Kim, Song-Hee and Song, Hummy and Valentine, Melissa, Learning in Temporary Teams: The Varying Effects of Partner Exposure by Team Member Role (January 25, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3176306 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3176306

Song-Hee Kim

Seoul National University - Business School ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Hummy Song (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Melissa Valentine

Stanford University ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

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