On alliance teams: conceptualization, review, and future research agenda

Martijn van der Kamp, Brian Tjemkes, Valérie Duplat, Karen Jehn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With organizations working together more readily than ever before, it is becoming increasingly common to have teams of individuals from different organizations. These “alliance teams” bring together people across organizations to achieve collaborative outcomes. There is a lack of consensus among researchers on how to conceptualize an alliance team and fragmentation of the research across fields and theoretical perspectives has inhibited the development of a coherent body of knowledge on alliance teams. We aim to bring greater conceptual clarity and integrate the research on alliance teams by analyzing existing definitions of alliance teams to inductively arrive at a conceptualization of alliance teams along three key dimensions: factionalism, team scope of responsibility, and team entitativity. We then systematically review the diverse literature and derive three key research foci: diversity, goal ambiguity, and team connectivity to other teams. Our review shows that the three-dimensional (3D) conceptualization opens up valuable research opportunities and stimulates research across dimensions and foci when examining alliance team functioning and effectiveness. We use alliance team leadership, a critical topic in alliance team research, as an illustration of how the 3D conceptualization can help integrate and advance research on alliance teams. We conclude by providing a future research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1413
Number of pages32
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • 3D conceptualization
  • alliance team leadership
  • alliance teams
  • diversity
  • entitativity
  • factionalism
  • interorganizational teams
  • literature review

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