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Team familiarity—Boon for routines, bane for innovation? A review and future research agenda
journal contributionposted on 2022-12-01, 22:15 authored by B Muskat, A Anand, Christine ContessottoChristine Contessotto, A H T Tan, G Park
Teams play a vital role in achieving an organization's goals, so achieving high levels of team familiarity is regarded as essential to HRM strategies. This paper aims to stimulate the debate on team familiarity: the effectiveness, antecedents, outcomes, and theoretical underpinnings. Our systematic literature review uses a VOSviewer-based bibliometric analysis, combined with qualitative thematic analysis. The current dominant viewpoint is that team familiarity leads to positive performance outputs at work, higher team performance and organizational success. Existing studies also agree that familiarity enhances team cognition and takes time to develop. However, we reveal that existing studies use a limited range of theoretical underpinnings, remain vague on the meaning of “time” and “how long it takes for teams to become familiar”, and avoid critical discussions on potential counterproductive outcomes that may lead to a decline in team performance. Based on these gaps, we suggest advancing the team familiarity literature and provide ideas for future research. Overall, we argue that whereas team familiarity is favorable for routine and structured contexts, it might be less effective for innovative task environments. Our future research agenda also suggests 1) advancing the theoretical underpinnings around team relationships, social roles, and team formation; 2) engaging in discussion on the key antecedent “time”, with longitudinal studies to reveal which moments matter most in devolving team familiarity; 3) considering positive social outcomes for individuals and groups; and importantly, 4) contributing fresh knowledge on potential counterproductive outcomes and U-shaped developments in innovation work.