Policy Seminars

Speaker: Bradley Staats
Hierarchy, Team Familiarity,
and Capability Development:
Evidence from Indian Software Services
Date/Place/Time: Friday, January 9, 2009 1:30PM - 3:00PM
UCLA Anderson School C303
What is the source of organizational capabilities? This paper examines one potential source
bringing together conceptual streams from strategy and organizational theory on the
determinants of learning to examine how team familiarity (i.e., previous shared work experience)
influences the development and effectiveness of organizational capabilities. I explore the
separate effects of hierarchical team familiarity (a manager’s experience with front-line team
members) and horizontal team familiarity (front-line team members’ experience with one
another) on team performance. I also consider whether these distinct measures of team
familiarity moderate the relationship between project complexity and team performance. Using
data on all software development projects completed over a three-year period at a large Indian
firm in the global outsourced software services industry, I find that hierarchical team familiarity
is positively related to a project’s being on budget and on schedule, while horizontal team
familiarity is positively related to the quality of a project’s overall performance. With respect to
budget and schedule performance, I also show that hierarchical team familiarity moderates the
impact on performance of a project’s complexity. This study’s empirical analysis demonstrates
that organizational capabilities grow through the development and strengthening of ties between
organizational actors.
Link to paper (if available): Click here for paper