Crafting Internal Hybrids: Complementarities, Common Change Initiatives, and the Team-Based Organization


Posted: 13 Oct 1997

Date Written: July 14, 1997


Hybrid governance forms that seek to meld the virtues of both market control and traditional hierarchical control are alluring governance forms. While extensive research has examined such hybrids forms, the research has been restricted largely to external hybrids (market exchanges infused with elements of hierarchical control). Comparatively little research, outside of the M-form literature, has examined internal hybrids (hierarchical forms infused with elements of market control). This paper contends that common change initiatives, such as TQM, reengineering, autonomous work teams, and group-based rewards, are appropriately viewed as attempts to craft internal hybrids by selectively infusing elements of market control within hierarchy. However, these common change initiatives are implemented typically in isolation and, as a consequence, violate patterns of complementarity that both sustain traditional hierarchy or support the stable infusion of market control. Managers overlay new measures on existing, functionally-oriented structures; they implement new structures without new performance measures and without new pay systems; they implement new pay systems, but fail to restructure or develop new performance measures. The paper argues that these violations of complementarity often unravel the bundle of elements that support traditional hierarchy and spiral hierarchies toward fundamental transformation. The clear trajectory of these transformations is toward quite radically, disaggregated organizations structured around teams. The paper presents both logic and evidence supporting the presence of complementarities in common change initiatives.

JEL Classification: G3, L22

Suggested Citation

Zenger, Todd R., Crafting Internal Hybrids: Complementarities, Common Change Initiatives, and the Team-Based Organization (July 14, 1997). OLIN-97-10, Available at SSRN:

Todd R. Zenger (Contact Author)

University of Utah ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
1655 East Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States
801 585-3981 (Phone)
801 581-7939 (Fax)

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