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Team autonomy and digital transformation: Disruptions and adjustments in a well-established organizational principle

Abstract

The organizational theory literature is reasonably unanimous that team autonomy is a key factor for employee well-being and motivation as well as organizational performance. However, team autonomy is challenged when its processes and outputs need to be aligned with actors and factors external to a team. There are likely challenges and conflicts between team autonomy and the need for coherence in the wider system. Team autonomy has a range of implications and is challenged by a number of factors, such as knowledge complexity and decision-making, learning, large-scale problems, product and technical interdependencies, the use of platforms, virtual collaboration and diversity. Alignment with the external is particularly necessary in multi-team environments with many technical interdependencies, where a single team’s failure to deliver a sufficient level of quality may lead to system-wide consequences. Therefore, teams in complex environments increasingly need to regulate and manage their work in cooperation with internal and external partners and systems. Such dependencies challenge team autonomy. In this special issue of AI&S, we want to address these topics in more detail, particularly in the context of software-intensive organizations and digital transformations. The scope and, thus, the consequences of a team’s work can be far-reaching when the team’s effort and output take place partially or completely in fully digitized contexts and processes. The articles in this special issue show various ways of dealing with the challenge of balancing autonomy and alignment with the external. A key focus is to show the buffering function: how teams, with the help of processes, technology, new organizational forms and time and space are able to find the buffer needed for maintaining team autonomy.

Category

Editorial

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 267704

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • Nord University
  • SINTEF Digital / Software Engineering, Safety and Security
  • University of Oslo
  • Diverse norske bedrifter og organisasjoner

Year

2022

Published in

AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence

ISSN

0951-5666

Publisher

Springer Publishing Company

Volume

37

Issue

2

Page(s)

701 - 710

View this publication at Cristin