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|Production and Operations Management
|Bendoly Elliot, Schoenherr Tobias, Bachrach Daniel G, Hood Anthony C
|project management, computers: information, personnel & manpower planning, statistics: empirical
Task interdependence has received a great deal of attention as a critical driver of project dynamics. This study focuses on one of these key dynamics: helping among information technology (IT) implementation project team members. We uniquely distinguish between perceptions of receiving more help than one personally provides to other team members (positive inequity), vs. giving more than one receives (negative inequity). We argue, using an equity theory frame, that members have a tendency to resolve perceived inequity by adjusting subsequent levels of helping, but that the extent of adjustment is moderated by task interdependence. Results from an empirical evaluation of 591 members in 107 IT implementation teams, examined at several points throughout their project cycles, provide insight into these relationships. Extending and bounding equity theory, we find that lower interdependence augments the effect of positive inequity on subsequent helping, but leaves the effect of negative inequity unaffected. Further, we find support for an inverted U‐shaped relationship between the level of subsequent helping in a team and the final cost of implementation. This holds critical implications for project team design and ensuing dynamics.