Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 29 Number 3 2012 pp. 43-86

Toward an Integrated Model of Group Development: Disruption of Routines by Technology-Induced Change

Garfield, Monica J and Dennis, Alan R

ABSTRACT: Current research argues that the most prominent models of group development (the linear stage model and the punctuated equilibrium model) are simply different lenses for studying the same phenomenon. We argue that the two models are distinct (groups do not simultaneously follow both models) and that the key to understanding their use lies in routines. We studied six newly formed groups whose members came from the same organization that worked on similar projects over a seven-week period. Three groups worked nonmediated and three groups used a collaboration technology that was new to them. The three nonmediated groups followed the punctuated equilibrium model and the three collaboration technology groups followed the stage model. We argue that groups that enact the shared routines common in their organizations will experience a different group development path than those groups whose shared routines are disrupted and which must adapt to a new technology. When group members enact shared routines (which they may share due to having a common organizational culture), they can quickly begin work, and group development follows the punctuated equilibrium model. When groups cannot enact shared routines, they must first negotiate how they will work before work can begin, so group development follows the stage model. Thus, the introduction of new collaboration technology (or any new technology or work process) influences how group development occurs.

Key words and phrases: case study, collaboration technology, field experiment, group development models, mixed methods, routines