Project Management Institute

Decision making within distributed project teams

an exploration of formalization and autonomy as determinants of success

To function effectively, distributed project teams--particularly those composed of inter-organizational collaborations--must possess outlined processes encouraging both formalized and autonomous approaches to decision-making. This article examines a theoretical model for gauging how a distributed project team's organizational autonomy and formal decision-making processes can encourage better decision-making and effective teamwork. In doing so, it overviews the literature on distributed project teams, describing the key concepts and theoretical contributions--particularly those relating to decision-making processes--which can shape how distributed project teams function. It discusses previous studies on understanding and improving a distributed project team's decision-making processes and outlines the authors' conceptual research model and hypotheses on decision making processes as an antecedent for teamwork.
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