Knowledge Gathering, Team Capabilities, and Project Performance in Challenging Work Environments
Business Administration, Management, and Operations
Knowledge gathering can create problems as well as benefits for project teams in work environments characterized by overload, ambiguity, and politics. This paper proposes that the value of knowledge gathering in such environments is greater under conditions that enhance team processing, sensemaking, and buffering capabilities. The hypotheses were tested using independent quality ratings of 96 projects and survey data from 485 project-team members collected during a multimethod field study. The findings reveal that three capability-enhancing conditions moderated the relationship between knowledge gathering and project quality: slack time, organizational experience, and decision-making autonomy. More knowledge gathering helped teams to perform more effectively under favorable conditions but hurt performance under conditions that limited their capabilities to utilize that knowledge successfully. Implications for theory and research on knowledge and learning in organizations, team effectiveness, and organizational design are discussed.