The structure of a project has a large impact on how an individual operates within a team. This study explores the issue of ambiguity and clarity in regard to project structure. A total of seventeen interviews were conducted with individual members of two teams to explore the role of ambiguity in differentially structured teams. Interviews identified challenges and coping mechanisms adopted by team members. Challenges faced by the standardized team centered on rigidity, standardization, and routines. Members adopted coping mechanisms to address these issues, including precise research, conformity for purposes of efficiency, and structured communication. Challenges faced by the non-standardized team centered on imprecise project nature, visionary objectives, intangible outcomes, and a flat model. Coping mechanisms adopted to address these issues included an open forum model, a focus on tangible outcomes, and a structured team hierarchy. Limitations to this study included the case study method and small sample size. Team leaders and managers can apply the results of this study to future teams in order to better empower their team members and achieve success.
Foster, Katie R., "A Study of the Coping Mechanisms Adopted by Work Groups to Deal with Project Structure" (2012). Honors College. 27.