The rise and fall of collective identity: Understanding antecedents and inhibitors of social identification in distributed teams
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
The diverse backgrounds of distributed team members can pose unique challenges during decision-making processes. Notable of these is the gradual emergence of social identities, where individuals seek to form new social groupings within the temporal context of a project. However, our understanding of social identity within distributed teams remains nascent. Drawing on Social Identity Theory (SIT) and in-depth case study findings, we investigate the impact of social identity on decision-making in a distributed healthcare systems development team. Contrary to SIT, we see the dissolution of distinct social groupings and rise of individualism within the project. Based on our findings, we discover five inhibitors which can impede social identification in distributed teams: role ambiguity, absence of a collective vision, transfer of ownership, lack of shared history, and incompatible personalities. We extend SIT to include antecedents of collective identities (e.g. distinctiveness, prestige, salience of out-group), as well as inhibitors which foster individualism.
Decision-making , Social identities , Social Identity Theory , SIT , Distributed collaboration , Distributed teams , Systems development
McCarthy, S., O'Raghallaigh, P., Fitzgerald, C. and Adam, F. (2021) 'The rise and fall of collective identity: Understanding antecedents and inhibitors of social identification in distributed teams', Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Kauai, Hawaii, USA, 4-8 January, pp. 545-554. doi: 10.24251/HICSS.2021.066