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Fostering innovative behaviour and dealing with diversity within consulting teams
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Fostering innovative behaviour and dealing with diversity within consulting teams

29 Seiten · 5,91 EUR
(25. April 2013)

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Organisations utilise team-based structures for coordinating work and completing projects (LePine et al. 2008). Teams can be described as a gathering of individuals in the fulfilment of a task, who are interdependent and have a shared responsibility for its outcome. Its members perceive themselves as part of the team. A special type of team that is widespread in organisations is a project team. Project teams commonly exist on a temporary basis and produce unique outcomes like novel products, services or information systems. Project work mainly relates to new, unstructured tasks without a definite solution. Consequently, work on project tasks requires the application of knowledge and expertise to a considerable extent. One sector taking as its main purpose the provision of knowledge about change is knowledge intensive business services (KIBS). KIBS offer specialist knowledge to other organisations in a rapidly changing, uncertain, and internationally oriented economic environment. Particularly in consultancies, the employees have to deal with complex problem situations in order to serve the diversity of customer needs and preferences. Consultants are "people whose work is primarily intellectual and non-routine in nature, and which involves the utilisation and creation of knowledge". Consultants work in project teams to benefit from multiple perspectives. As diversity entails a potential to engender a more careful consideration of the task at hand and to enhance performance, consultancies hire (and try to benefit from) consultants with different educational, social, and cultural backgrounds. According to Wood (2002) "innovation has become the clarion call of modern economic management" (p. 1). This orientation towards a culture of innovation has given rise to economic sectors – such as consultancies – that are oriented toward supporting change. To fulfil the assignment of stimulating a culture of innovation at the client, consultancies are under pressure to achieve innovative solutions. For that reason, innovative behaviour is required of consultants in order to find appropriate solutions for a problem and to develop innovative strategies for their clients. Diversity in teams provides the potential to enhance innovative behaviour when dealing with complex tasks, but it also carries risks for team performance. A Delphi study was conducted to identify (1) according to experts, what aspects facilitate innovative behaviour in consulting teams and (2) which of these identified performance-related aspects are also useful for dealing with diversity in consulting teams.

zitierfähiger Aufsatz aus ...
the authors
Maria Rupprecht

University of Regensburg, studied educational science and (as an advanced minor subject) business studies at the University of Regensburg. Since 2007 she has been working as a Ph.D. student at the University of Regensburg, Institute for Educational Science. Her research focuses on diversity in teams, team learning behaviour, team mental models and innovative behaviour in teams.

Regina H. Mulder

is full professor for educational sciences at the University of Regensburg. She studied sociology in the Netherlands. The most important stages in her work have been at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where she was the vice director of the RISBO research institute. She has published in journals and books on her research interests: various topics in vocational learning and training, professionalism and professional development, and learning in organisations.

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Hans Gruber
Hans Gruber

is full professor for educational sciences at the University of Regensburg. His subjects were psychology, educational sciences and new German literature studies. The most important stages in his career to date have been the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and the University of Regensburg. He publishes frequently in journals and books on his main research topics: professional learning, research on expertise, workplace learning and social network analysis.

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Wilfried Neumann

studies educational science, philosophy and psychology at the University of Regensburg. Since 2008 he has been working as a research assistant, first as a student and then, after he finished his Master's, at the University of Regensburg, Institute for Educational Science. His research focuses on team learning behaviour, diversity and contextual performance in teams.