Managing formalization to increase global team effectiveness and meaningfulness of work in multinational organizations
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Global teams may help to integrate across locations, and yet, with formalized rules and procedures, responsiveness to those locations’ effectiveness, and the team members’ experiences of work as meaningful may suffer. We employ a mixed-methods approach to understand how the level and content of formalization can be managed to resolve these tensions in multinationals. In a sample of global teams from a large mining and resources organization operating across 44 countries, interviews, observations, and a quantitative 2-wave survey revealed a great deal of variability between teams in how formalization processes were enacted. Only those formalization processes that promoted knowledge sharing were instrumental in improving team effectiveness. Implementing rules and procedures in the set-up of the teams and projects, rather than during interactions, and utilizing protocols to help establish the global team as a source of identity increased this knowledge sharing. Finally, we found members’ personal need for structure moderated the effect of team formalization on how meaningful individuals found their work within the team. These findings have significant implications for theory and practice in multinational organizations.
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