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Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Behavioral Sciences and Leadership

Publication Date



Journal of Organizational Behavior

Document Type



This paper introduces a team form called an “implementation team”—a team charged with designing and leading the implementation of an organization-wide change strategy—and investigates this teamtype in a context ripe for change, U.S. public school systems. Unlike prior teams research that has focused on teams as diagnostic collectives or strategic decision-making bodies, this study forwards the notion that teams can be used to implement organizational change. In this study, we examined how positional and tenure diversity and work context relate to team member learning, a critical factor in sustaining organizational change. Results from 25 school district instructional improvement strategy teams over two years challenge some basic assumptions regarding what constitutes a “real team.” We find that some taken-for-granted aspects of teams, such as team member stability, may not be central or even appropriate when considering “real teams” in this change context; rather than stability of team membership, the stability of members’ roles may matter most. We conclude by suggesting that scholars further investigate this team form and reframe, reconsider, and renew their conceptualizations of “real teams,” especially for teams engaged in implementing organizational change.

Publisher City

Hoboken, NJ


teams; implementation; organizational change; leadership; strategy



Implementation teams: A new lever for organizational change.



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