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Temporal Dynamics in Multiteam Systems: An Integrative Perspective for Future Research and Practice

Team Dynamics Over Time

ISBN: 978-1-78635-404-4, eISBN: 978-1-78635-403-7

ISSN: 1534-0856

Publication date: 4 August 2017



Multiteam systems (MTSs) have been employed across numerous organizations and occupations (e.g., healthcare, emergency disaster response, business, and military) to achieve complex goals over time. As MTSs are inherently different than team level and organizational level theories, this chapter highlights the defining features of these dynamic systems through a temporal lens. Thus, the main purpose of our chapter is to address the challenges and issues concerning MTSs over time in order to provide a future agenda to guide researchers and practitioners.


To explore temporality throughout this chapter, we leverage two key MTSs frameworks along with contributions from the literature to produce a review, which demonstrates the extent of MTS theoretical and practical findings. After reviewing the definitional components of MTSs, we highlight various compositional, linkage, and developmental attributes that operate within a system. We then expand upon these attributes to consider the structural features of the system that enhance boundaries between component teams (i.e., differentiation) and may disrupt the system over time (i.e., dynamism).


After reviewing and integrating current MTS literature, we provide a new conceptual framework for MTSs and their temporal complexities. We offer several methodologies that managers and researchers can employ to assess these complex systems and suggest practical recommendations and areas for future research as we continue to study MTSs.


Our original conceptual framework considers MTSs through a dynamic lens developing over time and suggests the need for future research to build upon this perspective.




This research was made possible in part by support from National Science Foundation grant #1547236 and NASA grant #NNX14AK54G. The views expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the organizations with which they are affiliated or their sponsoring institutions or agencies.


Flynn, M.L., Verhoeven, D.C. and Shuffler, M.L. (2017), "Temporal Dynamics in Multiteam Systems: An Integrative Perspective for Future Research and Practice", Team Dynamics Over Time (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 287-322.



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