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Time Pressure, Performance, and Productivity

Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Review of Group and Team-Based Research

ISBN: 978-1-78190-030-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-031-4

Publication date: 19 September 2012


Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to explore the question of whether there is an optimal level of time pressure in groups.

Design/approach – We argue that distinguishing performance from productivity is a necessary step toward the eventual goal of being able to determine optimal deadlines and ideal durations of meetings. We review evidence of time pressure's differential effects on performance and productivity.

Findings – Based on our survey of the literature, we find that time pressure generally impairs performance because it places constraints on the capacity for thought and action that limit exploration and increase reliance on well-learned or heuristic strategies. Thus, time pressure increases speed at the expense of quality. However, performance is different from productivity. Giving people more time is not always better for productivity because time spent on a task yields decreasing marginal returns to performance.

Originality/value of chapter – The evidence reviewed here suggests that setting deadlines wisely can help maximize productivity.



Moore, D.A. and Tenney, E.R. (2012), "Time Pressure, Performance, and Productivity", Neale, M.A. and Mannix, E.A. (Ed.) Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Review of Group and Team-Based Research (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 305-326.



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