What is it about?

We explore the effects of Multiple Team Membership (MTM) on employee stress and turnover. MTM involves individuals being part of more than one team concurrently, often seen in dynamic work environments. For instance, an IT specialist might work in their primary technology team while also contributing to a product development team. Similarly, a consultant could be involved with multiple client projects simultaneously, each with distinct roles and objectives.

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Why is it important?

This research is crucial for multi-teamers as it highlights the impact of MTM on employee stress and turnover. Traditional MTM studies often study it by counting the number of teams a person belongs to (MTM number). However, we suggest two alternative approaches: MTM switching, which focuses on how often employees switch their attention between teams, and MTM coreness, which assesses how much an individual prioritizes one team over others. Our study, involving 1,345 knowledge workers in 4,329 project teams, reveals that these new dimensions, particularly MTM switching and coreness, are more closely related to outcomes like emotional exhaustion and turnover. A key finding is that MTM switching, or how frequently a person switches between teams, relates to increased work-related stress. MTM coreness may decrease stress, because it allows for deeper involvement in one team and avoids the confusion of constantly switching between multiple teams, but only when team members have previously worked together.


It was a great pleasure to collaborate with my co-authors and the participating organization, with whom I share a long-standing and valued relationship. Our research demonstrates that merely counting the number of teams an individual belongs to falls short of capturing the impact of multiple team memberships. Instead, a more insightful approach is to examine how multi-teamers manage their involvement across multiple teams.

Hendrik van de Brake
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: More than just a number: Different conceptualizations of multiple team membership and their relationships with emotional exhaustion and turnover., Journal of Applied Psychology, December 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/apl0001168.
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