Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Global Teams; Geographically Dispersed Teams; Virtual Teams; Temporal Dispersion; Time Zone Differences; Temporal Networks; Temporal Brokerage; Individual Performance;
Members of global teams are often dispersed across time zones. This paper introduces the construct of temporal brokerage, which the authors define as being in a position within a team’s temporal structure that bridges subgroups that have little or no temporal overlap with each other.Although temporal brokerage is not a formal role, the authors argue that occupying such a position makes an individual more likely to take on more coordination work than other members on the team. The authors suggest that, while engaging in such coordination work has advantages in the form of enhanced integrative complexity, it also comes with costs in the form of a greater workload relative to other members.The authors further argue that the increased integrative complexity and workload that result from occupying a position of temporal brokerage have implications that go beyond the boundaries of the focal team, spilling over into other projects the individual is engaged in. Specifically, the authors predict that being in positions of temporal brokerage on global teams decreases the quantity but increases the quality of an individual’s total productive output.The authors find support for these predictions across two studies comprising 4,553 individuals participating in global student project teams and 123,586 individuals participating in global academic research teams, respectively. The framework and findings presented in this paper contribute to theories of global teamwork, pivotal roles and leadership emergence in global teams, and social network theory.