Meta-teams: Getting global work done in MNEs

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To enable flexibility and global integration in multinationals, global teams are becoming more fluid, forming and dispersing rapidly to meet organizational needs. However, current conceptualizations of teams and methodological approaches do not provide a clear understanding of dynamic global teams and how they perform global work in MNCs. To address this problem, we mobilize the ‘teaming’ perspective (Edmonson, 2012) to explore global work in the complex matrix structure of Computer, a large multinational technology company.
Our study includes interviews and observations of 40 global account teams.
The results suggest that an intermediate structure, called a ‘meta-team’, provides a referential space that supports teamwork. Within the meta-team, operational practices and a common mindset provide insights into the behavior and expectations of members. In addition, team substructures form and change to fit the activities. This study contributes to the literature by (i) demonstrating how dynamic global work is performed in multinationals using meta-teams and teaming, (ii) showing how meta-teams address some of the challenges of global work such as fluid collaboration and participation in multiple teams, (iii) providing new insights into how global work is performed in multinationals, and (iv) showing how global work is performed in multinationals. (iii) providing new insights into teamwork in context and temporary work.

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