Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Virtual Team Alliance (VTA): Extending Galbraith's Information-processing Model to Account for Goal Incongruency

TitleThe Virtual Team Alliance (VTA): Extending Galbraith's Information-processing Model to Account for Goal Incongruency
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsThomsen, J, Levitt, RE, Nass, CI
Date Published03/1999
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAgency Theory, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Computational Organizational Design, Contingency Theory, Goal Incongruency, Information Processing, Professionals, Project Organizations, Semi-Routine Tasks, Stanford University
AbstractThis paper introduces a new computational organizational analysis and design model, called the Virtual Team Alliance (VTA) , that builds on the Virtual Design Team (VDT) (Jin and Levitt, 1996). VDT operationalized aspects of Galbraith's information-processing view of organizations, but it assumed tasks to be routine and project participants to have completely congruent goals. VTA extends Galbraith's framework implemented in VDT in two ways: (1) it addresses less routine tasks with some flexibility in how they are performed, and (2) it treats project participants as teleological professionals with potentially incongruent goals. Because tasks in the VT A model are flexible, differences in goals may influence which solution approach project participants prefer; thus, goal incongruency can have profound implications for the performance of project teams. VTA integrates economic agency theories about supervisor-subordinate behavior and social psychological theories about peer-to-peer behavior with respect to information processing in the presence of goal incongruency. We describe how VTA actors comprise a complex system that is endowed with fragments of canonical information-processing micro-behavior. The canonical micro-behaviors in VTA include exception generation, monitoring, selective delegation of authority, searching for alternatives, clarifying goals, stearnrolling, and politicking. The VTA model simulates the micro-level communication and coordination behavior of actors within the organization, including the impact of goal incongruency between individual actors, in order to determine the emergent, aggregate project behavior and performance. To Galbraith's sociological analysis, based on information-processing "organizational physics," we add new "organizational chemistry" notions based on social psychological and economic agency theories.
PDF Link
Citation Key1224