The Interaction of Control Systems and Stakeholder Networks in Shaping the Identities of Self-managed Teams

Maria Carmela Annosi, Nicolai Juul Foss, Federica Brunetta, Mats Magnusson

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    Team identity has received little research attention even though an increasing number of firms are moving to team-based organizations and there is evidence that teams form identities. We explore the extent to which team identity can be institutionalized as a central organizing principle of team-based firms. We argue that managerial and stakeholder interventions shape the self-construction of team identity as well as the team’s commitment to specific work objectives. We also suggest that team identity becomes isomorphic to organizational identity because of pressures related to: (1) the presence of a dense network of managers and stakeholders, which orients teams towards a focus on certain aspects of the higher-order identity; (2) the use of team routines and regular feedback loops, which force alignment with the organizational identity; and (3) the use of coordinating roles aimed at promoting, ratifying and reinforcing the convergence of identity within the team. We analyse multiple cases from a major multinational corporation in the telecommunications industry, which we examine through the lens of a multi-level model of controls involving the micro, meso and macro organizational levels. We expand and refine the model in the process.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalOrganization Studies
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)619–645
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Managerial control
    • Organizational control
    • Organizational identity
    • Team identity

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