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Whereas motivation and coordination losses in teams have been investigated for quite some time, systematic research on performance gains in teams (often called “synergetic effects”) only emerged recently. The purpose of the present paper is to clarify the concept of process gains (or synergy) in teams, and to introduce recent findings from basic psychology that can be very valuable for the management of high performing teams.
Based on the definition of synergy as process gain during teamwork compared with a clear baseline (team potential), this review develops specific requirements for the empirical demonstration of synergetic effects in teams. Moreover, a brief history of research on process gains in teams is provided, followed by an outlook on current and future trends in this field.
Although this research is still in its pioneering days, various triggers of process gains in teams have been already derived theoretically and/or demonstrated empirically, among them social support from fellow team members, perceived indispensability for the team outcome, the development and/or selection of experts for task and team processes, use of multiple perspectives and information, team learning, and social identification processes.
Understanding the preconditions and underlying mechanisms of process gains in teams enables managers to trigger performance levels of teams that exceed what can be expected based on the individual team members' capabilities alone. Moreover, the estimation of a team's potential provides a helpful standard for the assessment of the ongoing team performance.
Process gains in teams and related laboratory research have been largely neglected in the managerial literature so far. This paper and the current special issue are among the first to introduce a clear definition of process gains in teams, and to suggest concrete trigger factors of synergetic effects in teams based on systematic research.
This chapter examines the role of team processes in predicting overall effectiveness for multidisciplinary teams charged with commercializing new technologies. Theory…
This chapter examines the role of team processes in predicting overall effectiveness for multidisciplinary teams charged with commercializing new technologies. Theory suggests that both social- and task-related processes are essential in order for diverse teams to achieve their full potential. Furthermore, these team processes evolve over time, creating even more complexity related to technology commercialization. A panel of teams is surveyed over time to capture this dynamism and the role of key social and task processes. Results suggest that social team processes, such as cohesion and identification, predict affective performance (i.e., team satisfaction and commitment). Objective team performance is primarily a function of task cohesion and trust. Furthermore, affective performance serves as a mediator between social team processes and objective performance for these high-tech teams. Post-hoc analyses examine the differences in the development of both task and social processes for high- and low-performing teams. High-performing teams have higher levels of task-focused interaction, functional conflict and task cohesion early on in the commercialization process as compared with low-performing teams. Effective teams establish key social processes early on, which provides the foundation for team success.
Libraries have faced many periods of grim economic realities. These periods of hardship have forced libraries to strive for more efficient organizational structures. Many…
Libraries have faced many periods of grim economic realities. These periods of hardship have forced libraries to strive for more efficient organizational structures. Many of these improved organizational structures have been the result of mergers and/or consolidations. This phenomenological study describes the lived experiences of the merger design team of a large and complex library organization.
Results indicated the experience of the participants touched upon each of Bolman and Deal’s (2008) four frames: political, human resources, structural, and symbolic. The merger design team’s effectiveness on task is congruent with the model of team effectiveness proposed by Hackman (2002). Lastly, the role of underlying assumptions, espoused values and beliefs, and artifacts that makes up the organization’s culture falls within the parameters set forth by Schein (2004).
Mental model convergence occurs as team members interact. By collecting information and observing behaviors through their interactions, team members’ individual mental…
Mental model convergence occurs as team members interact. By collecting information and observing behaviors through their interactions, team members’ individual mental models evolve into shared mental models. This process requires a cognitive shift in an individual's focal level. Specifically, the individual assigned to the team must shift his or her focus from thinking about the team domain using an individual perspective to thinking about it from a team perspective. Thus, mental model convergence may be the key to understanding how individuals are transformed into team members. This chapter presents a framework describing the mental model convergence process that draws on the extant research on group development and information processing. It also examines temporal aspects of mental model convergence, the role of mental model contents on the convergence process, and the relationship between converged mental models and team functioning. Preliminary evidence supporting the framework and the important role that converged mental models play in high-performing teams is provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications of this mental model convergence framework for research and practice.
As other researchers have done previously, we conceptualize innovation not as a linear process but as a cyclical one (e.g., Van de Ven, Polley, Garud, & Venkataraman, 1999…
As other researchers have done previously, we conceptualize innovation not as a linear process but as a cyclical one (e.g., Van de Ven, Polley, Garud, & Venkataraman, 1999), which consist periods of innovation initiation, implementation, adaptation, and stabilization (West, 1990). Within this cycle it is possible to distinguish two major components: the beginning of the cycle, which is dominated by the generation of ideas that is generally also designated as creativity; whereas the dominant activity at the end of the cycle which is the implementation of ideas (hereafter referred to as the implementation of innovation). Creativity is then likely to be most evident in the early stages of the innovation process, when those in teams are required to develop or offer ideas in response to a perceived need for innovation. Creative thinking is also likely when teams proactively initiate proposals for change and consider their initial implementation. As the innovation is adapted to organizational circumstances, there is less need for creativity. At the outset of the process, creativity dominates, to be superseded later by innovation implementation processes. Of course, it can be argued that creativity is important throughout the innovation process, but in general, the requirements for creative ideas will be greater at the earlier stages of the innovation process than the later stages.
Team creativity presents an interesting dilemma. On one hand, organizational teams are increasingly being asked to produce creative outcomes rapidly and within tight…
Team creativity presents an interesting dilemma. On one hand, organizational teams are increasingly being asked to produce creative outcomes rapidly and within tight timelines. On the other hand, teams need sufficient time to explore different perspectives, play with ideas, and overcome the process losses that occur from working in interdependent groups. In this chapter, we address this dilemma by developing a model for understanding how teams can maximize the speed of the team creative process. We propose that teams' potential for rapid creativity is a function of aligning the team structure and standardization of the creative process with the team development cycle. When these three elements are aligned, teams are more likely to generate creative outcomes in a rapid manner.
Incivility is widespread in the workplace and has been shown to have significant affective and behavioral consequences. However, the authors still have a limited…
Incivility is widespread in the workplace and has been shown to have significant affective and behavioral consequences. However, the authors still have a limited understanding as to whether, how and when discrete incivility events impact team performance. Adopting a resource depletion perspective and focusing on the cognitive implications of such events, the authors introduce a multi-level model linking the adverse effects of such events on team members’ working memory – the “workbench” of the cognitive system where most planning, analyses, and management of goals occur – to team effectiveness. The model which the authors develop proposes that that uncivil interpersonal behavior in general, and rudeness – a central manifestation of incivility – in particular, may place a significant drain on individuals’ working memory capacity, affecting team effectiveness via its effects on individual performance and coordination-related team emergent states and action-phase processes. In the context of this model, the authors offer an overarching framework for making sense of disparate findings regarding how, why and when incivility affects performance outcomes at multiple levels. More specifically, the authors use this framework to: (a) suggest how individual-level cognitive impairment and weakened coordinative team processes may mediate these incivility-based effects, and (b) explain how event, context, and individual difference factors moderators may attenuate or exacerbate these cognition-mediated effects.
This chapter reports on a longitudinal quasi-experimental field study within an organizational design of a global consumer products manufacturer moving toward…
This chapter reports on a longitudinal quasi-experimental field study within an organizational design of a global consumer products manufacturer moving toward high-performance work systems (HPWSs) in North America by integrating business centers and self-directed work teams (SDWTs) coupled with 13 other action-levers within an integrated and bundled high-performance organizations (HPOs) re-design. The results of this organizational design effort are assessed using different types and levels of organizational outcomes (hard record data, behavioral, and attitudinal measures) along a 5-year temporal dimension punctuated by multiple time periods (baseline, during, and after). The organization, which was “built to change” (Lawler & Worley, 2006), in this research had already highly superior or “exemplar” (Collins, 2001) levels of organizational performance. Consequently, the real research question becomes: “What effect does state of the art organizational design and development have on an exemplar organization?” The study also calls into question the field's ability to truly assess exemplar organizations with existing measures of organizational change and development.
Team cognition research continues to evolve as the need for understanding and improving complex problem solving itself grows. Complex problem solving requires members to…
Team cognition research continues to evolve as the need for understanding and improving complex problem solving itself grows. Complex problem solving requires members to engage in a number of complicated collaborative processes to generate solutions. This chapter illustrates how the Macrocognition in Teams model, developed to guide research on these processes, can be utilized to propose how intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) could be developed to train collaborative problem solving. Metacognitive prompting, based upon macrocognitive processes, was offered as an intervention to scaffold learning these complex processes. Our objective is to provide a theoretically grounded approach for linking intelligent tutoring research and development with team cognition. In this way, team members are more likely to learn how to identify and integrate relevant knowledge, as well as plan, monitor, and reflect on their problem-solving performance as it evolves. We argue that ITSs that utilize metacognitive prompting that promotes team planning during the preparation stage, team knowledge building during the execution stage, and team reflexivity and team knowledge sharing interventions during the reflection stage can improve collaborative problem solving.