Autonomous but Interdependent: The Roles of Initiated and Received Task Interdependence in Distributed Team Coordination

Marthe Berntzen and Sut I Wong
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 25, Number 1, 2021, pp. 7-28.


Distributed team arrangements are becoming “the new normal”. The present study considers the evolution of electronic commerce into an area where operational interaction and coordination of work occurs when previously only commerce occurred. As more teams are moving online, the need to understand the conditions supporting team coordination is becoming increasingly prevalent. By examining the moderating roles of initiated and received task interdependence on the relationship between perceptions of self-management and coordination in distributed teams, we aim to advance research in the area of e-commerce and benefit distributed teams in current and future practice. Results based on a survey of 101 professionals working in distributed teams indicate that the level of team self-management is positively related to perceived coordination when the level of initiated task interdependence within a team is high, as well as when the level of received task interdependence is low. These findings further indicate that initiated and received team task interdependence represent difference team coupling structures that can enable or hinder team coordination. Theoretical and practical implications for the boundary conditions to sustain coordination in self-managing teams are discussed.