During team meetings, expressing negativity about other team members’ ideas and contributions – that is, negative disagreements – can derail team processes and harm team productivity. If team members want to improve their meetings and reduce negativity, which aspects are relevant starting points? This chapter discusses the complexity of this question by considering the interplay of team attributes, individual characteristics, and verbal interaction dynamics that may evoke negative disagreements in meetings. To this end, this chapter relies on existing behavioral and survey data of 259 employees nested in 43 team meetings that were analyzed using statistical discourse analysis. The results of this analysis highlight several potential starting points for reducing negativity in workplace meetings. First, we discovered that team attributes matter, as teams with a lower overall level of job satisfaction were more likely to experience negative disagreements during their meetings. Second, at the individual level, we found a significant gender effect such that women were more likely than men to start negative disagreements. Third, individual team members reporting lower organizational trust were more likely to start negative disagreements. Finally, counter to previous work on interaction dynamics during meetings, we could not identify specific verbal behaviors that triggered negative disagreements. In terms of practical implications, we discuss how managers can increase organizational trust and job satisfaction (e.g., through ensuring justice and improving job design) in order to encourage more positive meeting interactions.
Gerpott, F., Chiu, M. and Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2020), "Multilevel Antecedents of Negativity in Team Meetings: The Role of Job Attitudes and Gender", Meinecke, A., Allen, J. and Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (Ed.) Managing Meetings in Organizations (Research on Managing Groups and Teams, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 143-161. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1534-085620200000020007Download as .RIS
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