How Service Teams’ Perceived Relationship with Their Leader Affects Performance

02JSR13_Covers.indd[We are pleased to welcome Dr. Alexander Benlian. His article titled Are We Aligned…Enough? The Effects of Perceptual Congruence Between Service Teams and Their Leaders on Team Performance” was recently published in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Service Research.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Before I joined the academia I was a consultant at McKinsey & Company’ Business Technology Office (BTO). At client projects in several service industries (banking, insurance, telecommunication) I witnessed that service teams (e.g., IT helpdesk teams, Loan processing teams) varied greatly in their performance and that this variation was partly due to the service teams’ relationship with their team leader.  This inspired me to take a more in-depth look at the role of alignment and coordination between service teams and their leaders for service performance.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Surprising to me was that there was a clear performance advantage for those service teams that clearly and regularly aligned their goals, tasks and deliverables with their team leader. Even small divergences from a common understanding about responsibilities and commitments led to a loss in performance. Disciplined alignment matters!

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

I think that this study can have an important impact on both future research and practice. Future research—service research in particular—may want to pay more attention to the crucial role of team-leader interactions and their impact on important downstream factors (such as service quality or customer satisfaction). Practitioners may benefit from our study by using similar instruments/methods in their organizations to regularly conduct alignment initiatives that help “synchronize” service teams and their leaders.

Read “Are We Aligned…Enough? The Effects of Perceptual Congruence Between Service Teams and Their Leaders on Team Performance” in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Service Research.Want to be notified of all new articles from the Journal of Service Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Prof_Dr_Alexander_BenlianAlexander Benlian (PhD, University of Munich) is a professor of information systems, especially, electronic services, at Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt), Germany. He was a visiting scholar at universities in Canada and the USA, and currently serves the editorial boards of three journals including the Journal of Service Research. He has published in Journal of Management Information Systems, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Information Systems Journal, European Journal of Information Systems, and Decision Support Systems, among others. His research interests are in web-based electronic services, alignment in service teams, and recommender systems in electronic commerce.
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