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Team autonomy, information exchange and team innovation performance: the moderating role of team conflict

Bao Li (College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Wanming Chen (College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Changqing He (College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Yuwen Zhang (College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 13 June 2022

Issue publication date: 26 September 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Team autonomy is thought to be important for team innovation performance. However, the theoretical basis of the relationship between team autonomy and team innovation performance is not well understood, and previous studies have found inconsistent relations between them. Based on motivated information processing in groups (MIP-G) theory, this paper aims to explain how and when team autonomy could influence team innovation performance from a new team-level perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a two-wave, time-lagged survey design, the authors collected data from 340 members of 86 teams in China. PROCESS 3.0 for SPSS was used to test hypothesized relationships.

Findings

The results show that team autonomy is positively related to team information exchange. Team information exchange mediates the positive relationship between team autonomy and team innovation performance. Furthermore, the positive relationship between team autonomy and team information exchange is stronger with less task conflict, which runs contrary to the hypothesis. Additionally, relationship conflict does not adjust the impact of team autonomy on team information exchange.

Originality/value

This study provides a new perspective to explain the mechanism between team autonomy and team innovation performance at team level from the information processing approach, specifically, MIP-G theory. It also incorporates team conflicts as important contextual factors to answer the call for a wider study of boundary conditions in the team autonomy research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclosure statement: This manuscript is an original work that has not been submitted to nor published anywhere else. The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article. Data used in the research are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Funding: This research was supported by grants funded by the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 20BGL203).

Citation

Li, B., Chen, W., He, C. and Zhang, Y. (2022), "Team autonomy, information exchange and team innovation performance: the moderating role of team conflict", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 860-881. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-01-2022-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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