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Job‐related skill heterogeneity and action team performance

José M. De La Torre‐Ruiz (Department of Management, School of Economics and Business, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
J. Alberto Aragón‐Correa (Department of Management, School of Economics and Business, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Vera Ferrón‐Vílchez (Department of Management, School of Economics and Business, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 2 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on job‐related skill heterogeneity and action team performance by considering that team members may differ in the levels of their job‐related skill, as well as in the way their job‐related skill is spread over the different dimensions of the task.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were used from 30 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams collected over 21 seasons (1986/1987 through 2006/2007). The total number of team‐seasons analyzed was 584.

Findings

A positive relationship was found between job‐skill level heterogeneity and action team performance that declines as average job‐skill level in the team grows. Furthermore, action teams showed poorer performance when their members with a low job‐related skill level have a high specialization.

Practical implications

From the practical perspective, it is of special interest to an action team manager to know that job‐related skill heterogeneity has a positive influence on team performance – mainly when the average job‐related skill level in the team is low – and that highly specialized members may have a negative influence on action team performance.

Originality/value

The results contribute to the team literature by focusing on action teams. This kind of team has not received attention despite their increasing importance within organizations. Additionally, using sports teams as a sample offers the possibility of gathering a large amount of objective job‐related skill data as well as the possibility of testing hypotheses in a relatively controlled environment, but with real actions instead of experimental actions.

Keywords

Citation

De La Torre‐Ruiz, J.M., Aragón‐Correa, J.A. and Ferrón‐Vílchez, V. (2011), "Job‐related skill heterogeneity and action team performance", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 7, pp. 1061-1079. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251741111151145

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited