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Belbin role diversity and team performance: is there a relationship?

Ronald Batenburg (Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands, and NIVEL, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Wouter van Walbeek (Deloitte Consulting, Amstelveen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Wesley in der Maur (Deloitte Consulting, Amstelveen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 9 August 2013




This paper aims to test the relationship between team role diversity and team performance, as one of the main assumptions behind the highly cited and used Belbin model and test.


Data were collected among 24 teams of 144 students that participated in different rounds of a management game. All students performed a Belbin role self‐test prior to the management game. Performance of the teams was measured by the grade they received for the year‐end report written, and the financial results they achieved at the end of the management game.


No relationship was found between team role diversity and team performance. Also, it was found that the Belbin role of the team leader was not related to team performance as well. The only significant relationship found was between the individual study results of the team members and the grade they received for the year‐end report.

Research limitations/implications

Results might change if team performance is measured by other indicators, such as the level of in‐team collaboration or collective motivation.

Practical implications

It should not be expected that creating diversity of roles within teams automatically leads to better performance. Continuous improvement, recognizing the phase team development is in, should also be in place to balance team members and support their performance.


This paper contributes to the empirical testing of assumptions and ideas behind Belbin's model and test. Given its limitations, it provides new triggers to conduct more, similar empirical research.



Batenburg, R., van Walbeek, W. and in der Maur, W. (2013), "Belbin role diversity and team performance: is there a relationship?", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 901-913.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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