Communications of the IIMA


Workers in today’s business environments are confronted with heavy workloads that reflect not only their regular job expectations but also their involvement in multiple teams at the same time. The majority of the current literature has studied these two topics (multitasking and multiple-team membership) independently. The goal of this paper is to integrate both conceptual outlooks by examining relevant works in both streams of research and merging them into an integrated framework. By analyzing new data collected from focus groups, and taking an individual worker’s perspective, the results of this study suggest that participating in multiple teams simultaneously, fragments workers assigned activities into three levels: individual, project and group. Workers handle these multiplied demands by juggling their individual and team related assignments and multitasking within levels and across levels. This juggling is influenced by situational elements such as deadlines and deliverables, and personal factors such as multitasking skill and expected outcomes. This study is the first to examine individual multitasking activity in conjunction with multiple team duties, and its results highlight an important area for further research.