Management Department


Date of this Version



Academy of Management Journal 2018, Vol. 61, No. 4, 1403–1430.


Copyright of the Academy of Management. Used by permission.


This study explores the conditions under which shared team task-specific (STTS) experiences in crew-based arrangements may negatively influence team effectiveness.We suggest that the entrained rhythms featured in social entrainment theory act as a dual-edged sword with the potential to generate complacency detriments in addition to the commonly cited synchronization benefits. We argue that the manifestation and influence of the countervailing forces (i.e., synchronization and complacency) on the STTS experience—team effectiveness relationship will depend on salient task characteristics (i.e., frequency and difficulty). More specifically, frequently performed tasks create conditions for complacency tomanifest (generating an inverted-U shaped relationship between STTS experience—team efficiency), whereas infrequently performed tasks do not (generating a positive, linear relationship). We further this distinction by layering on task difficulty that, we posit, acts to amplify the respective negative and positive consequences. Analyses of archival data from 8,236 surgeries performed over one year at a large hospital located in the southwestern region of the United States were consistent with our hypotheses and 30 semi-structured interviews with operating room personnel added richness and precision to our theory. Ancillary analyses on patient post-surgery recovery rate yielded additional insights. Implications and future directions are discussed.