Exploring Team Overlap and Knowledge Diversity in Fluid Teams: an Empirical Study in Robotic Surgery

Valentina Iacopino, Valentina Iacopino, Marco Tonellato, Daniele Mascia, Alessandro Lomi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In organizations that focus on the execution of team-based tasks, the concept of team overlap refers to the extent to which individuals, who are part of a team involved in the execution of one task, are concurrently members of other teams. Organizations thus learn to better match individuals to tasks by constantly reconfiguring fluid teams that integrate diverse knowledge possessed by external overlapping members with knowledge possessed by focal members. Combining existing theories, original fieldwork and data on 1671 robotic surgery operations performed by more than 100 surgeons within a large university polyclinic during a four-year period, we study the relation between team overlap, knowledge diversity and team performance. We reconstruct operational performance in terms of surgery times recorded automatically by a robot surgeon operated by two human surgeons. We account for knowledge diversity among surgeons by measuring heterogeneity of experience profiles, accumulated performing surgeries in different clinical categories. After controlling for a series of individual and clinical factors, we find that team overlap is positively related to team performance, documenting an increased knowledge sharing among surgeons embedded in communities of shared external partners. Furthermore, we find that experience heterogeneity of shared external partners is negatively related to team performance but its effect is mitigated when the experience of focal members is also heterogeneous, and thus teams possess the necessary absorptive capacity to integrate external knowledge. We conclude by discussing implications for organization theory and team reconfiguration dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
Pages1
Number of pages1
VolumeVOLUME 2019, ISSUE 1 / AUGUST 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019

Conference

Conference79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
CityBoston, Massachusetts, USA
Period9/8/1913/8/19

Keywords

  • Robotic surgery
  • Teams

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