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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
The papers presented in this journal issue reflect the study of work and project teams from three different levels:
the individual contributors to a team;
the group and its impact on the organization and the marketplace; and
the environmental-level issues facing the work or project team.
Teams are affected by an enormous number of variables within the organization, as well as within the marketplace. Marla Hacker of Oregon State University discusses the relationship between the individual-level variables (what she calls "factors"), group-level variables and environmental-level variables in group interaction processes. She identifies these factors as influencing teams which are brought together as project teams or work teams, highlighting the fact that all teams have a unique context, environment, and unique group membership. Her study examines the role of the individual contributor on the team as it relates to team performance as a whole.
Each of the variables mentioned above affects performance of the team and ultimately the company within its marketplace or service community. Dr Hacker's study brings to light the complexity of measuring team performance as related to team dynamics. Her study identifies GPA (grade point average) as the explanation for 35.23 per cent of the variation in the team performance data, identifying that correct skills brought to bear within a team lead to a higher performance differential. No statistically significant relationships were found between any intra-team dynamic variables and team performance.
In "Creating a sustainable competitive advantage through training", Rebecca Burden, management consultant, and Professor Tony Proctor of Chester Business School discuss the importance of performance evaluation in order to relate customer satisfaction to organizational aims. They analyze the evaluation techniques that will ensure that the organization or group-level performance meets the customer's expectations. Burden and Proctor deal with the group and environmental variables of team performance. Their discussion of alternative evaluation techniques is illuminating. Selection of an appropriate evaluation method to accomplish evaluation outcomes desired by management is as much a science as the act of evaluation itself. How often we are a "hammer looking for a nail" as we impose an evaluation technique which is not suited to the specific, unique needs of the organization. This article opens a discussion surrounding effective evaluation techniques for organizations.
The third paper researches the impact of managerial characteristics on the effective management of strategic assets. This article will be of special interest to executive leadership teams. In "The impact of managerial characteristics on strategic assets management capabilities", Drs Pegels and Yang offer insights into the impact of the senior executive team on the management of the firm, demonstrating the impact of the senior executive team on company financial performance in a number of insightful study results.
These papers further our understanding of the complexity and ephemeral nature of teams and teamwork. They also demonstrate the use of locating the team functions under study within one of three contexts: individual, group or environmental.
Linda S. WingEditorlwing@usinternet.com