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How asymmetrical task dependence and task interdependence interact: An individual level study into the effects on affective reactions

Simon B. de Jong (Department of Organisation Studies, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
P. Matthijs Bal (Department of Management & Organization, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether research and practice on task design and work teams could benefit from a more nuanced perspective on task (inter)dependencies among team members. Prior research often overlooked that task interdependence captures the average exchange of resources, while asymmetrical task dependence captures the inequalities within an individual's work relationships. To date, no study on work teams has combined the two aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from 262 individuals working in 67 work teams. Multilevel and bootstrapping analyses were used.

Findings

Drawing from interdependence theory and power-dependence theory it was argued, and subsequently found, that asymmetrical task dependence interacts with task interdependence, and affects the job satisfaction of individuals and their affective commitment to their team.

Practical implications

A key practical implication is that both asymmetrical task dependence and task interdependence should be taken into account when optimizing intra-team task dependencies, for instance when (re-)designing jobs or teams.

Originality/value

This study contributes to research on asymmetrical task dependence within work teams, by investigating its interaction with task interdependence, its effects on the affective reactions of workers, and its effects on the individual level of analysis.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the reviewers and session participants of the Academy of Management conference, as well as the scholars of the IFPM group at the University of St Gallen (CH) and the members of the OB/HRM group at the University of Groningen (NL) for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Citation

B. de Jong, S. and Matthijs Bal, P. (2014), "How asymmetrical task dependence and task interdependence interact: An individual level study into the effects on affective reactions", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 1115-1132. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-12-2012-0385

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited