The Impact of General and Firm Specific Coordination Experience on Team Performance: Evidence from the Electronic Games Industry
Team managers accrue valuable team-specific coordination experience and skills when they work together repeatedly and develop team familiarity. However, team composition often changes from one project to another, hampering the development of team familiarity and limiting its impact on team performance. We propose that coordination skills, like other facets of human capital, may be both general and firm-specific, and accordingly, that they develop through general and firm-specific forms of coordination experience. In particular, we argue that general coordination skills result from teaming experience, that is, general experience working with others; and that firm-specific coordination skills result from same-firm experience, that is, experience working with the same firm’s coordination routines. Using data on teams working on electronic games released in the U.S. between 1995 and 2007, we investigate whether these forms of coordination experience improve firm performance. We find that both teaming experience and same-firm experience are positively associated with the commercial success of electronic games. In addition, we find that the benefits of these forms of coordination experience extend to teams with all levels of familiarity. Our results have implications for the theory of learning and coordination in teams and for the practice of team design in project-based organizations.