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Influence of team composition and task complexity on team performance

Malcolm Higgs (Henley Management College, Greenlands, UK)
Ulrich Plewnia (Ford Werke GMbH, Koln, Germany)
Jorg Ploch (Ford Werke GMbH, Koln, Germany)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




The purpose of this paper is to describe a research study which is designed to explore the interrelationship between team diversity and task complexity in terms of its impact on performance.


Team diversity was operationalised using the Belbin Team Role model. Task complexity was assessed through a questionnaire completed by team members and performance was assessed by using a questionnaire completed by the manager to whom the team reported. In total, 28 teams participated in the study. The 28 teams encompassed 270 members.


The results of the study demonstrated a clear relationship between team composition (diversity), complexity of task and team performance. Diversity was found to be positively related to performance for complex tasks and negatively related for straightforward tasks.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that there can be benefit in considering the complexity of a task or project before assembling a team. The degree of complexity could inform the mix of individuals to be included in the team in terms of diversity of personal traits. The study took place within a single organisation and therefore care must be taken in generalizing the findings without evidence from further research.


The results of this study provide a potentially useful framework for establishing high performance teams.



Higgs, M., Plewnia, U. and Ploch, J. (2005), "Influence of team composition and task complexity on team performance", Team Performance Management, Vol. 11 No. 7/8, pp. 227-250.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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