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Title: Team characteristics and the effectiveness of crossfunctional sourcing teams - an embedded case study in a public organization.
Authors: Verweij, E
Keywords: sourcing teams
public procurement
purchasing organization
team effectiveness
cross-functional teams
Issue Date: 11-Apr-2016
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: Sourcing is one of the most important processes of purchasing nowadays and is often strategic, as it affects the entire organization. It requires input from different disciplines within the organization. More and more companies use cross-functional sourcing teams although many initiatives do not provide the expected results. Consequently, it is important to know which factors impact cross-functional sourcing team effectiveness. Cross-functional sourcing teams differ in many important ways from other type of teams. Prior research shows many team characteristics have an influence on team effectiveness. However, these characteristics are hardly investigated for functional sourcing teams in a public context Therefore, the aim of this study was to empirically investigate the relationships between team characteristics directly, mutually or as mediators/moderators and their impact on cross-functional sourcing team effectiveness in a public procurement environment. The study involved an embedded case study among three cross-functional sourcing teams combining document analysis and semi-structured interviews. Analysis entailed within case analyses, followed by a cross-case analysis. The results of the study indicate that factors in the organizational and environmental context are important characteristics with an impact on sourcing team effectiveness. Task and knowledge dependence were found to stimulate communication and contribute to the general sourcing team effectiveness. Interpersonal cohesion appeared to be related to communication in all teams. Teams with greater interpersonal cohesiveness indicated more personal and open communication and greater informal frequency of within-team communication. Apparently, task work communication has a positive impact on task cohesion and interpersonal cohesion has a positive impact on interpersonal communication. Teams should be aware of the negative effects of the temporary absence or permanent leave of a team member with good skills and knowledge. A replacement can lower task cohesion. An important conclusion is that a stable team with no changes in roles and membership during the entire sourcing project is likely to show a strong task cohesion. This study identified the risk of researcher bias and different understandings of the meaning of some concepts. Avenues for future research are making use of an independent researcher for conducting the interviews, an alternative approach to construct measurement, better distinction and further refinement of the concepts, conducting a theory testing research, applying an additional differentiation in objective measures of the concept sourcing team effectiveness, selecting teams with a more recent team assignment, research with more public organizations and sources of data to be able to generalize, making a comparison of public and private organizations, more research on contextual factors, a longitudinal research and, studying also differences in characteristics of a team assignment instead of only team characteristics. Some practical recommendations are to start a sourcing project with an analysis of the environment to create valuable insights; to recognize procedural, organizational, environmental or judicial limitations; to create extra time for team activities and an office space where team members can meet on a regular basis and, identifying key interdependencies. Team managers should be aware that member skills and personal chemistry are important criteria during the selection of new team members, select team members whose skill set is aligned with the goals and the level of representation each needs during each project phase, communicate all sourcing goals from the beginning and repeat regularly to create a common bond and a clear big picture and, take actions to promote greater team communication.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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