Innovation in Globally Distributed Teams: The Role of LMX, Communication Frequency, and Member Influence on Team Decisions

Gajendran, Ravi S.; Joshi, Aparna
November 2012
Journal of Applied Psychology;Nov2012, Vol. 97 Issue 6, p1252
Academic Journal
For globally distributed teams charged with innovation, member contributions to the team are crucial for effective performance. Prior research, however, suggests that members of globally distributed teams often feel isolated and excluded from their team's activities and decisions. How can leaders of such teams foster member inclusion in team decisions? Drawing on leader-member exchange (LMX) theory, we propose that for distributed teams, LMX and communication frequency jointly shape member influence on team decisions. Findings from a test of our hypotheses using data from 40 globally distributed teams suggest that LMX can enhance member influence on team decisions when it is sustained through frequent leader-member communication. This joint effect is strengthened as team dispersion increases. At the team level, member influence on team decisions has a positive effect on team innovation.


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