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Freedom to Cooperate: Gaining Clarity Into Knowledge Integration in Information Systems Development Teams

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2 Author(s)
Janz, B.D. ; FedEx Inst. of Technol., Univ. of Memphis, Memphis, TN, USA ; Prasarnphanich, P.

The specialized knowledge that exists among information systems development (ISD) teams must be shared and integrated to successfully develop systems solutions. Unfortunately, knowledge sharing and integration continues to be problematic. In this study, we seek out those antecedent characteristics that ISD teams should possess to facilitate the collaboration and knowledge integration necessary for enhanced performance. We propose cooperative learning theory as a lens to understand knowledge integration activities in ISD projects. We suggest that knowledge integration behaviors are discretionary, and that ISD professionals must feel autonomy in deciding to engage in them. We investigate whether the effects of autonomy on cooperative learning and of cooperative learning on work outcomes vary depending on the types of autonomy present in ISD teams. A research model is proposed, and it is empirically tested through a study of 206 ISD professionals from 38 ISD teams. Our findings suggest that autonomous teams engage more frequently in cooperative learning behaviors, and consequently perform more effectively and are more satisfied. We also find that relationships exist between the type of autonomy present in teams and the resultant elements of cooperative learning and work outcomes.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 4 )