Examining project commitment in cross-functional teams: Antecedents and relationship with team performance

Kyle Ehrhardt, Janice S. Miller, Sarah J. Freeman, and Peter W. Hom
Journal of Business and Psychology, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 443–461

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test a model positing both antecedents and consequences of project commitment for members of cross-functional teams. Signaling theory and previous research guided study hypotheses.

Design/Methodology/Approach: We collected primary data from 142 team members and 31 team leaders across 24 cross-functional product development teams nested within six manufacturing organizations in the US and Canada.

Findings: Findings suggest that project commitment among team members is an important driver of team performance as rated by the team leader. In addition, several factors contribute toward shaping project commitment among cross-functional team members, including team leaders’ encouragement of self-expectation, as well as team members’ perceptions of an organization’s support for the team project.

Implications: Cross-functional teams are often charged with completing projects critical to the profitability, growth, and even survival of a firm. Especially as we show that members’ project commitment is a meaningful predictor of team performance, managers may draw insight from study results as to what actions may be taken to promote the development of this important psychological state among members of cross-functional teams.

Originality/Value: Use of cross-functional teams for accomplishing a wide variety of firm objectives is becoming commonplace in organizations. Although theorized as an important construct in cross-functional team settings, empirical examinations of the nature and implications of project commitment have been limited. By examining both antecedents and potential team performance consequences of project commitment in multiple organizations, we contribute toward filling this gap.