Multiteam Leadership
Examining Leadership in Complex Network Environments

Project Personnel:

Leslie A. DeChurch (PI), Georgia Institute of Technology
C. Shawn Burke (Co-PI), University of Central Florida
John E. Mathieu (Consultant), University of Connecticut
Christian J. Resick (Consultant), Drexel University
Toshio Murase (PhD Student), University of Central Florida/Northwestern University
Miliani Jimenez (PhD Student), University of Central Florida
Daniel A. Doty (PhD Student), University of Central Florida/Georgia Institute of Technology
Lauren Benishek (PhD Student), University of Central Florida

Funded by: United States Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
(Contract #W91WAW-08-C0028; 03/01/2008 – 10/30/2010)

     Modern organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on the outputs of collectives of interdependent individuals. While there is an abundance of research interested in the processes of single teams or units, there is a dearth of research examining more complex structures and, particularly, the points at which teams interact with one another. Much like individual performance outcomes, the outcomes of single teams are typically not the ultimate criteria in organizations, but rather exist at a level higher than the work teams, but lower than the organization itself. One perspective which intends to fill this gap in the literature is that of the multiteam system (MTS) which focuses specifically on the processes that exist between teams working interdependently towards a common goal. These units of inquiry have only recently received attention from organizational scientists, but have the potential to explain the critical roles through which leaders affect collective performance.
     We apply the MTS perspective in order to study the unique effects of leadership on the states, processes, and performance of complex interdependent collectives. Leaders are required to fulfill the needs of their subordinates through a core set of processes which change based on both the internal and external environment. The complexity of the MTS compounds these responsibilities by requiring the leader to balance both intra- and inter-team issues. Additionally, many MTSs will likely have multiple levels of leadership that have the capacity to focus on either or both of these issues. This brings up three core questions about the effects of leadership in an MTS: (1) How does it impact the behavioral structure and, in turn, (2) the emergent states, and, lastly, (3) process and performance? Further complicating this situation is that the expected structure necessitates multiple leadership roles which can be filled by any number of individuals who will likely not have the same abilities, relationships, or authority. This will create an internal environment will uniquely impact the processes based on the interaction between the pattern of these leadership behaviors and the MTS structure. With this, three additional research questions about the MTS arose: To what extent does the (4) trust and (5) communication environment impact the effect of leadership on the MTS processes, states, and performance and (6) effect these processes, states, and performance directly.

Procedure
     This report utilized two laboratory based studies in order to directly manipulate the phenomena and relationships of interest. The studies were composed of small groups (6 participants) whose structure modeled the theoretically meaningful patterns of interdependence found in a real-world MTS. We study these processes using both traditional psychometrics and sociometric measures in order to completely capture the effects of interest. We analyzed these data in various ways in order to appropriately answer our full set of research questions.

Findings
     The data summarized in this report yield a substantive addition to the literature on MTSs and the effects that leaders have within organizations.  Our findings indicate a complex set of relationships that we would expect between leadership, the internal processes and states of the MTS, and performance. It was found that the effects of different levels of leadership were contingent on the leadership behaviors occurring at the other levels. (1) Though the effects were not consistent for all MTS states and processes, a general trend was found that leadership at the higher-level would interfere with the effects of leadership at the lower-level.  Specifically the information sharing and communication structures of the MTS were impacted by these interactions. (2) Further, these affected behavioral structures of the MTS were found to be related to the developing cognitive structures.  These effects were found to exist between the amount of inter-team communication and the quality of the cognitive structures such that the more inter-team communication, the less developed the transactive memory system. (3) The cognitive structures were then found to impact the quality of the task-related behaviors and the subsequent MTS-level performance above and beyond the effect of team-level performance.
     In addition the effects of leadership directly on the processes and states within an MTS and the subsequent relationship with performance, we manipulated the structure of two of the intermediate processes (trust & communication) and their effects on the relationships between two types of leadership structures and subsequent affect, behavior, cognition, and performance. (4) Collective leadership was found to improve affect, behavior, and cognition in decentralized communication structures only when trust was high.  This shows that the effectiveness of collective leadership in MTS is contingent on the level of trust. (5) Similarly, it was found that a match between the leadership and communication structures improved the affect, behavior, and cognition within an MTS. Beyond their effect on the impact of leadership, trust and communication are expected to have direct effects on affect, behavior, cognition, and performance. (6) These effects were found for everything except affect such that those with centralized communication structures performed better when trust was low and those with decentralized communication structures performed better when trust was high.

Utilization and Dissemination of Findings
     This project contributed to the base of knowledge of not only multiteam system theory, but the extent to which leadership and the processes of complex collectives can be measured and understood. In addition to the laboratory experiments described in detail here, a large scale review was conducted to catalog the current state of leadership science. This grant has been cited in 4 journal publications, 2 book chapters, 30 presentations, 3 student theses/dissertations, and 6 grants (see Appendix I for the complete list of references). These efforts have shed light on the problems and prospects of multiple teams working together effectively and will shape future research on leadership and organizations. Two specific contributions are noteworthy.
     First, this project has greatly expanded the amount of information available about multiteam systems. Specifically, this is the first project that has directly manipulated leadership behaviors, leadership structure, and MTS configuration and relate these factors directly back to important MTS phenomena and performance.
     Second, this project systematically examined the trends in the study of organizational leadership within the organizational science. This allows for holes in the current base of leadership theory to be uncovered and further focus all future research in order to more fully capture the pertinent aspects and conditions.

Publications:
Refereed Journal Articles

Hiller, N.J., DeChurch, L.A., Murase, T., & Doty, D. (2011).  Searching for Outcomes of Leadership: A 25-Year Review. Journal of Management, 37, 1137-1177.

DeChurch, L.A., Hiller, N.J., Murase, T., Doty, D., & Salas, E. (2010). Leadership across levels: Levels of leaders and their levels of impact. Leadership Quarterly, 21, 1069-1085.

Resick, C.J., Murase, T., Bedwell, W., Sanz, E., Jimenez, M., & DeChurch, L.A. (2010). Mental model metrics and team adaptability: A multi-facet multi-method examination. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, & Practice, 14, 332-349.

DeChurch, L.A., & Zaccaro, S.J. (2010). Teams won’t solve this problem. Human Factors, 52, 329-334.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

Zaccaro, S.J., & DeChurch, L.A. (2011). Leadership forms and functions in multiteam systems. In S.J. Zaccaro, M.A. Marks, & L.A. DeChurch (eds.), Multiteam systems: An organizational form for dynamic and complex environments. Taylor & Francis.

Murase, T., Jimenez, M.J., Sanz, E., Resick, C.J., & DeChurch, L.A. (2011). Leadership and collective cognition. In E. Salas, S. Fiore, & M. Letsky (eds.), Theories of team cognition: Cross-disciplinary perspectives.

Presentations:
DeChurch, L.A., Murase, T., & Doty, D. (2011, May). Multiteam system effectiveness: Leadership, communication, and trust within and between teams. In R. Rico & L.A. DeChurch, Multiteam systems processes and effectiveness: A new era for teams research. Symposium to be conducted at the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Congress, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Burke, C. S., DiazGranados D., DeChurch, L. A., Salas, E. (2011, April). Looking at goal conflict in multiteam systems: An empirical investigation. In Park, G., DeShon, R. (Co-Chairs), Managing multiteam systems: Theoretical and empirical advances. Symposium conducted at the 26th Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Chicago, IL.

Wax, A., Huang, M., DeChurch, L.A., & Contractor, N. (2011, February). Impact of team faultlines on socio-cognitive networks and team performance. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Conference for the International Network of Social Network Analysis, St. Petersburg, FL.

Murase, T., & DeChurch, L. A. (2011, February). Bringing the actor back into the network: Examining the relative validity of actor attribute-adjusted networks on team performance. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Conference for the International Network of Social Network Analysis, St. Petersburg, FL.

DeChurch, L.A., Doty, D., Murase, T., Jimenez, M., Seely, P., & Sanz, P. (2011, February). Collaboration within and across teams: Leadership forms and network structures. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Conference for the International Network of Social Network Analysis, St. Petersburg, FL.

Doty, D., Murase, T., & DeChurch, L.A. (2010, August). Structural changes in multiteam systems: Examining team dynamics with a network analytic perspective. Paper presented at the meeting of the Academy of Management, Montreal, Canada.

DeChurch, L.A., Hiller, N.J., Murase, T., & Doty, D. (2010, August). Leadership across Levels: A Twenty-Year Review. Paper presented at the meeting of the Academy of Management, Montreal, Canada.

DeChurch, L.A., Resick, C.J., & Doty, D. (2010, June). Structural changes in multiteam systems. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, Trento, Italy.

DeChurch, L.A. (2010, June). Building a Program of Research: Quantitative Methods. In Postdoctoral and Early Career Scholars Pre-colloquium Workshop. European         Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium. Lisbon, Portugal.

Benishek, L., Resick, C.J., DeChurch, L.A., Jiménez, M., Sanz, E.J., Le, H., & Salas, E. (2010, April). Leader-Team Congruence, Information Exchange, and Multi-Team System Performance. In C.J. Resick & D.A. Doty, Current Perspectives on Leadership in Collective Work Arrangements. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

DeChurch, L.A., Resick, C.J., Doty, D.A., Murase, T., Jiménez, M., Mathieu, J.E., & Burke, C.S. (2010, April). Examining Leadership in Complex Network Environments. In L.A. DeChurch, Multiteam Imperatives for Leadership and Organization. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

Doty, D.A., Seely, P.W., Murase, T., DeChurch, L.A., & Hiller, N.J. (2010). Leadership and emergence in organizations: A meta-analysis. In C.J. Resick & D.A. Doty, Current Perspectives on Leadership in Collective Work Arrangements. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

Rico, R. & DeChurch, L.A. (2010, April). A Multilevel Model of Multiteam Performance. In L.A. DeChurch, Multiteam Imperatives for Leadership and Organization. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

DeChurch, L.A., Hiller, N.J., & Murase, T. (2009, August). The inferential capacity of leadership research: A 20-year review. Paper presented at the meeting of the Academy of Management, Chicago, IL.

Hiller, N.J., DeChurch, L.A., Murase, T., & Doty, D. (2009, August). Does leadership matter? Examining the criterion space of 20 years of leadership research. Paper presented at the meeting of the Academy of Management, Chicago, IL.

DeChurch, L. A., Burke, S. & Salas (2009, July). A multiteam perspective: Coordination within and across teams. In R. Rico, New trends in team coordination. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research, Colorado Springs, CO.

DeChurch, L.A., Zaccaro, S.J., & Marks, M. (2009, April). Multiteam systems: A taxonomy and theoretical refinement. In L.A. DeChurch & C. S. Burke, Multiteam systems: Exploring and emerging organizational form. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, New Orleans, LA.

Doty, D., Murase, T.M., Wooten, S., DeChurch, L.A., & Mathieu, J.E. (2009, April). Modeling multiteam dynamics: Using SURREALISM to investigate complex interteam interactions. In L.A. DeChurch & C. S. Burke, Multiteam systems: Exploring and emerging organizational form. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, New Orleans, LA.

DeChurch, L.A. & Marks, M.A. (2008, April). Leader mental models and multiteam system effectiveness. In L. A. DeChurch & M. A. Marks (Chairs), Leading the team, and above. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Francisco, CA.

Invited Talks

DeChurch, L.A. (2011, April). Network analytic insights into multiteam systems. Invited talk at the DC Area Teams Conference. Arlington, VA.

DeChurch, L.A. (2010, November). Collaboration within and across teams.  Invited presentation at SONIC (Science of Networks in Communities), Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

DeChurch, L.A. (2010, October). Structural analysis of multiteam systems: Integrating organizational and network analytic perspectives. Invited presentation at SONIC (Science of Networks in Communities), Northwestern University.

DeChurch, L.A. (2010, October). Architecting successful MTSs: Designing collaboration-enabling leadership and communication network structures. Invited presentation at NATO Workshop on Collaboration in a Comprehensive Approach to Operations, Toronto, Canada.

Hiller, N.J. & DeChurch, L.A. (2010, May). A quarter century of leadership science. Invited address at the American Psychological Society Annual Meeting, Boston, MA.

DeChurch, L.A. (2010, February). Multiteam systems: An organizational form for complex, dynamic environments. Invited presentation at the College of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.

DeChurch, L.A. (2009, November). Multiteam systems: An organizational form for complex, dynamic environments. Invited presentation at Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France.

DeChurch, L.A. (2009, October). Leadership in team-based organizations. Invited presentation in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida, FL.

DeChurch, L.A. (2009, May). The role of leaders in shaping cognition in teams and teams-of-teams. Invited presentation at the LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

DeChurch, L.A. (2008, October). Leadership and collective cognition. Invited presentation at the workshop, “Developing multi-disciplinary theories and frameworks of shared cognition,” conducted by the Office of Naval Research & UCF Institute for Simulation & Training, Orlando, FL.

DeChurch, L.A. (2008, April). Leadership in team-based organizations. Invited presentation at the University of Central Florida Department of Management, Orlando, FL.