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It is About Time: Temporal Considerations of Team Adaptation

Team Dynamics Over Time

ISBN: 978-1-78635-404-4, eISBN: 978-1-78635-403-7

ISSN: 1534-0856

Publication date: 4 August 2017



On the path to accomplishing task work, teams may face disruptive events like budget issues, equipment failures, and membership change that trigger adaptation. While recently researchers have clarified the team adaptation nomological network, our objective is to extend theory by providing a roadmap about various ways in which temporal considerations may complicate the impact of adaptation triggers on team adaptation and in turn adaptive outcomes.


We present three adaptation temporal considerations (i.e., timing, duration, and frequency) that may change the way team adaptation unfolds in response to a given adaptation trigger. We further explore and offer propositions about how the impact of adaptation timing, adaptation duration, and adaptation frequency differ by the type of adaptation trigger (i.e., task-based or team-based) experienced by the team.

Research implications

By examining adaptation to task-based or team-based triggers from a temporal perspective researchers may better explain why the timing of when the team adapts across its lifecycle (adaptation timing), how long the team takes to adapt (adaptation duration), and the recurrent need to adapt (adaptation frequency) is more or less likely to lead to positive adaptive performance outcomes.

Practical implications

Organizations may benefit from setting up teams for success by helping members understand that there are inherent differences in the adaptation triggers they face including temporal expectations. Organizations may see value in providing initial and on-going support to teams so they are better able to adapt when needed and mitigate negative effects due to adaptation timing, adaptation duration, and adaption frequency.



Kennedy, D.M. and Maynard, M.T. (2017), "It is About Time: Temporal Considerations of Team Adaptation", Team Dynamics Over Time (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 29-49.



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