TitleContributing from Inside the Outer Circle: The Identity-Based Effects of Noncore Role Incumbents on Group Relational Coordination and Organizational Climate
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBolinger, A, Klotz, A, Leavitt, K
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Date Published2018
KeywordsDoctoral Program, Management, MBA

To function optimally, most workgroups need an interdependent mix of members in strategically core and noncore roles who work effectively together. However, whereas researchers have investigated the contributions of star performers and strategically core group members, relatively little is known about individuals in noncore roles and how they may facilitate group functioning and contribute to the relational climate of organizations. In this paper, we develop a multi-level, bottom-up model that explains two paths through which employees in noncore roles facilitate the dissemination of relational coordination in organizations. We leverage insights from self-categorization theory and relational coordination theory to explain different ways in which noncore role incumbents attempt to enact their noncore role identities. Then, we describe how the relational stances of those occupying core roles can enable or hinder the identity validation of those in noncore roles, and how validating the role-based identities of members in noncore roles fosters relational coordination at the group level while fostering positive identification with noncore roles. Finally, we theorize how relational coordination facilitated by noncore role incumbents contributes to the relational climate of the organization, which subsequently motivates core role incumbents throughout the organization to support their teammates in noncore roles.