The Cross-Level Relationship Between Project Team Learning and Project Team Identification: A System of Action Perspective Open Access
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This study examined the relationship between project team learning and project team identification through the lens of a system of action. The basic research question guiding this study was, "Do project team learning actions predict project team identification?" This study used survey methodology to examine data from 1100 individuals in 72 independent project teams in a large technology and engineering company. Project team identification was measured at the individual level of analysis and project team learning actions were measured at the project team level of analysis. The project team learning survey included separate measures for total project team learning and for each of four subsystems of learning. Because the measurements were at separate levels of analysis, hierarchical linear models were used to examine the relationships. Project team learning was found to predict project team identification (coefficient = 0.28, p < 0.01). In addition, all four of the project team learning subsystems were found to predict project team identification as follows: memory and meaning learning actions (coefficient = 0.27, p < 0.01), action and reflection learning actions (coefficient = 0.22, p < 0.01), dissemination and diffusion learning actions (coefficient = 0.22, p < 0.01), and environmental interface learning actions (coefficient = 0.24, p < 0.01). This study contributes to the theoretical literature on organizational learning and organizational identification because it reveals the cross-level nature of the relationship between collective level learning actions and individual level identification. The relationships found in this study strengthen and support theoretical propositions that organizational and contextual factors relate to identification. The results of this study also have practical implications for managers. It is more important than ever to understand the impact of organizational actions on members. This study contributes to understanding the impact of project team learning actions on project team identification and research has shown that higher levels of identification result in positive outcomes for individuals and organizations. Managers may be able to enhance project team learning capacity, potentially leading to positive outcomes.