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Assessing developmental space in teams

Karin Derksen (Faculty of Economics and Business, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Léon de Caluwé (Center for Research on Consultancy, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Joyce Rupert (Department of Innovation Management and Strategy, Groningen University, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Robert-Jan Simons (Netherlands School of Educational Management, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The aim of this paper is to develop an instrument to assess the developmental space that teams create; examine whether creating more developmental space leads to greater satisfaction with team results; and decide which of three models best predicts perceived results.


The paper presents a quantitative study of individuals (N = 257). An instrument was designed to assess developmental space and was validated with a factor analysis. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine whether creating developmental space led to greater satisfaction with team results.


This study confirms the four-factor structure of developmental space suggested by earlier research. Creating more developmental space is positively related to perceived team results.

Practical implications

This research highlights the importance of creating developmental space and provides teams with an instrument to assess their developmental space as a starting point for improvement.


The interactions teams use are crucial in explaining the effects of teamwork, but seem underexposed in team research. Creating developmental space is a relatively new concept, hitherto only researched qualitatively. This empirical study extends and endorses previous research on developmental space by providing a quantitative assessment.



The authors would like to thank Peter Dekker (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) for his support with statistics.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 17th International Workshop on Team Working (IWOT) hosted by TNO: Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, 28-29 November 2013.


Derksen, K., de Caluwé, L., Rupert, J. and Simons, R.-J. (2014), "Assessing developmental space in teams", Team Performance Management, Vol. 20 No. 7/8, pp. 277-293.



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