More Than Just a Number: Different Conceptualizations of Multiple Team Membership and Their Relationships With Emotional Exhaustion and Turnover. By: van de Brake, Hendrik J; van der Vegt, Gerben S. and Essens, Peter J. M. D. 2024. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol. 109 Issue 5, p714-729.

Many employees are members of multiple teams, and research suggests that this may profoundly affect their stress experiences and work outcomes. We argue that progress in this research area has been hampered by a lack of clarity about what multiple team membership (MTM) is and how to conceptualize it. Prevailing conceptualizations of MTM have focused on the total number of teams an individual is a member of (MTM number). We identify how frequently employees shift their attention between different team contexts (MTM switching) and the extent to which they prioritize one membership over all others (MTM coreness) as alternative conceptualizations that better capture MTM’s consequences for individuals. Our analysis of 1,345 knowledge workers involved in 4,329 project teams shows that MTM number, MTM switching, and MTM coreness differ meaningfully in their antecedents and consequences. MTM switching and coreness (but not MTM number), respectively, relate positively and negatively to multiteamers’ emotional exhaustion and subsequent turnover. The positive consequences of MTM coreness only occur, however, when multiteamers have prior work experience with the members of their teams (i.e., team member familiarity). These findings help to clarify the potential benefits and detriments of MTM and advance the growing literature in this area.