Teamwork- How Team Personality Influences Individual Behaviors


In most work places, teamwork is a common feature that can have many benefits for organizational productivity and competitiveness.

But not all group dynamics are helpful or add value, so a fair bit of research has been done on the behaviors that produce desired outcomes. Much of it has looked at how someone’s personality affects whether they would be helpful or not. But few researchers have looked at the impact “team personality” has on individual actions.

The team of researchers behind a new study on teamwork and cooperation sought to examine the extent to which group dynamics ultimately influence individual behaviors.



Group norms are the accepted, unofficial standards that members of a group follow, which help to evaluate the behavior of individuals. These norms help individual group members identify which behaviors would be permissible within a certain situation and which would not.

Some groups have norms that promote greater interdependence, and therefore appreciate helping behaviors more that groups which don’t adopt these norms. In general, groups with co-operative norms have higher performance and satisfaction.

This study investigated the influence Team Personality (i.e. those characteristics that define a group) would have on encouraging these norms and its subsequent impact on individual helping behaviors.



Researchers were interested in examining two primary traits at the group level– extroversion and agreeableness.

Agreeableness is essentially about cooperation with others, while extroversion concerns the sociability of the individual. Given the social characteristics of individuals with these traits, teams that are characterized by such individuals tend to show greater cohesion and work-load sharing, but less friction.

The researchers believed that a group with a large number of individuals who ranked high on extroversion and agreeableness would have high levels of cooperative group norms, which is a strong predictor for an increase in individual helping behaviors.



Researchers found that the level of extroversion within a group’s team personality impacted the adoption of cooperative norms, even when there was quiet a difference in extroversion levels amongst individual members.

A high level of extroversion implies a greater degree of assertiveness and influencing of others to accept certain norms. So, even if there are only a few team members who rank high on extroversion, they’re still influential. The norms accepted within this group then influence individual helping behaviors.

Agreeableness was different. Only where there was little difference on agreeableness between team members would it quickly facilitate the adoption of co-operative norms. If there was a lot of difference between team members, then the emergence of co-operative norms was often hampered.



Cooperative norms and high levels of helping behaviors can greatly enhance a team’s output. This study showed that team personality does affect these aspects.

The results have implications for managers wanting to facilitate the change of group norms, as well as those bringing a new individual on to a team.

In short, understanding both the team personality and the individual personality are important for finding a good fit, and also important for influencing helping behavior outcomes.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – July 2014

Take a look at I/O AT WORK’s Top 5 most popular article reviews for July 2014 on Conflict, Star Performers, Inconsistent Leadership, Leading Virtual Teams and more!

5.The Secret Recipe for Good Workplace Conflict

Job conflict sounds like a bad thing. But when the circumstances are right, conflict leads to an exchange of valuable information and eventually increased job satisfaction. This new study examines the conditions under which these positive outcomes occur, and provides useful directives for how leaders can harness the positive effects of workplace conflict.

 4. Are You Managing and Keeping Your Star Performers?

In the evolving workforce of the 21st century, there is a tendency for star performers to produce a disproportionate amount of output compared to the average performer. Despite this trend there has been very little shift in how we treat and manage star performers, often treating and paying them the same as average performers. The result is higher turnover among stars. How important are star performers and what can we do to better manage and retain them?

 3.The Pitfalls of Inconsistent Leader Behavior

Can bosses rectify bad leader behavior by suddenly becoming extra nice? Research shows that this kind of inconsistency could actually be a detriment to employee health. Only employees with high self-esteem or high “quality of work life” will be able to cope with such inconsistency and benefit from the boss’s quick turnaround.

2. Leading Virtual Teams: An Investigation of Leadership and Structural Supports
Virtual teams are becoming increasingly necessary as work teams interact across geographical lines and cultures. Established models of leadership are much harder in this context, but various solutions may help counter the difficulty of leading a virtual team. New research shows that shared leadership and supplemental structural supports may help enhance performance, mitigating some of the difficulties associated with virtual leadership.

1. Employee Start Time: Does the Early Bird Get the Worm?
Most of the time, we assume that early morning individuals are perceived more positively than their late-rising counterparts due to being evaluated as more productive and responsible. A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology specifically examines how employees’ start times relate to the perception of their work ethics and subsequent supervisor performance ratings.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – June 2014

Check out I/O AT WORK’s Top 5 most popular article reviews for June 2014 on Diversity, Stereotypes, Work Teams, Deceptive Candidates and more!

5.Diversity Climate Cues in Recruitment: Do They Really Work?

Diversity in the workplace has become an increasingly important topic in recent years. A new study examines the draw of diversity during the hiring process, with a focus on how a prospective employee’s perception of an organization’s diversity climate may ultimately affect their interest in pursuing a given job.


4.Breaking the Mold: How Challenging Gender Stereotypes Reduces Bias

It’s a well-known fact that gender stereotyping has historically played a role in organizational leadership selection. But a new study suggests that job candidates who do not fit the stereotypical mold are viewed more objectively, resulting in more fair decisions during the selection process. The research suggests that exposure to those that break the stereotypical mold can also provide inspiration for other women.


3.How to Create Successful Work Teams

Teamwork is essential to organizational success. But assembling a team that can work together effectively can make all the difference in whether a given project succeeds or fails. A new study suggests members’ individual needs play a significant role in intragroup conflict, and should be strongly considered when putting a work team together.


2.Interviews: How to Identify a Deceptive Job Candidate

The applicant interview is crucial in finding the perfect candidate for a given position. But what happens when applicants use deceptive impression management to weasel their way into a job. A new study examines how organizations can try to alleviate the problem by selecting interviewers capable of detecting when an applicant is being deceptive.


1. Welcome to the Future: Investigating Mobile Devices as Assessment Platforms

In the past, the advent of greater access to computers and the Internet inexorably changed the methods by which organizations recruited talent, and also the way in which possible hopefuls searched for and applied to these organizations. A new study suggests that assessment via mobile phone could be the wave of the near future.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – May 2014

Check out I/O AT WORK’s Top 5 most popular article reviews for May 2014. Take a look and see if the most popular article surprises you!

5. The Impact of Envy on High Performers in the Workplace

Employees who work harder and achieve more are highly valued by employers. But all too often these high performers’ achievements and rewards attract the envy of their peers. A new study examines the role jealousy plays in workplace victimization, as well as factors that could help organizations avoid this sort of bullying altogether.


4. Feedback and Organizations: The Importance of a Feedback-Friendly Culture

Feedback in the workplace is essential for employee development and advancement. A new study suggests that creating a feedback-friendly culture can help boost employee performance and improve the company’s overall well-being. It also offers tips for how leaders can create a feedback-friendly culture.


3. How Shared Leadership Impacts Team Effectiveness

In “A meta-analysis of shared leadership and team effectiveness,” the authors analyze 42 different studies and three categories of leadership styles (new-genre, traditional, and cumulative) to gain a better understanding of how Shared Leadership ultimately impacts team effectiveness in the workplace.
2.Taking control back: Surviving an Abusive Supervisor

Abusive supervisors have become increasingly common in recent years, and can have a devastating effect on workplace morale and productivity. A new study examines how employees can maintain job performance while dealing with an abusive supervisor, and ultimately found that the individual’s personality has a more significant effect than their choice of coping strategy.


1. Thriving At Work Rather Than Just Going Through the Motions

Do you want to excel at what you do, instead of just going through the motions? A new study on thriving at work finds that employees who are more hopeful, efficacious, resilient, optimistic, and have supportive supervisors are more likely to succeed, which in turn is related to greater self-development and work performance.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – April 2014

Below are I/O AT WORK’s Top 5 most popular article reviews for April 2014. Check it out and see if the most popular article surprises you!

5. How Organizations Can Fast-Track Transitioning Leaders

Employees transitioning into leadership roles need to quickly adapt to new expectations and responsibilities– skills that often come from experience. But a new study suggests that supervisors facilitate leader development, both by showing great leadership during the training phase and by telling crucial info on areas of responsibility and reporting channels right up front.


4. Why Try to “Fit” In at Work? The Importance of Work Engagement and Person-Job Fit

As organizational restructuring and downsizing lead to tougher competition for jobs, it’s become more crucial than ever for organizations to maximize each employee’s person-job fit. A new study finds that highly engaged employees tend to increase their own person-job fit by changing the physical and interpersonal attributes of their work in order to meet the needs of the position. In other words, they work harder to fit in better.



3. How leaders may affect followers’ resistance to change

Does your organization go through change? I’d be willing to bet that it does, so you may be interested in what kind of impact leaders have on their followers’ intentions to resist organizational change. The authors of this study investigated how the traits, values, and behaviors of leaders explain their followers’ resistance intentions.


2. Can your personality effect how well you adapt to changes in the workplace?
In an ever-changing business world, the ability to adapt quickly to changes in the workplace is incredibly valuable to employers. A new study on “Personality and Adaptive Performance at Work” examines how emotional stability and ambition influence an employee’s ability to handle change. Ultimately, it found that personality was one of several key factors that determine how people adapt.


Writing Opportunities1. Work With Us: Writing Opportunities for Journal Article Reviews

I/O AT WORK is currently seeking graduate-level students in industrial/organizational programs and PhDs to provide content for our informational website that serves the I/O, OE, OD and HR communities. I/O AT WORK helps to bridge the gap between I/O research and it’s practical application by publishing on-line reviews of important, relevant, and applicable research. Our site enables users to stay up-to-date on current research in a highly efficient way. Due to the interest in the site and the demand for increased content, we are currently seeking additional writers. Please email mary.gabbett1 (at) gmail (dot) com for additional information.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – February & March 2014

For 2014, I/O at Work is trying something new. We will be listing our top 5 most popular article reviews by month. Since February was such a short month, we’ve combined it with March. Our list might surprise you so check it out and let us know what you think!


resistance-to-change5. How leaders may affect followers’ resistance to change
Does your organization go through change? I’d be willing to bet that it does, so you may be interested in what kind of impact leaders have on their followers’ intentions to resist organizational change. The authors of this study investigated how the traits, values, and behaviors of leaders explain their followers’ resistance intentions.


4. How Service Employees React to Mistreatment by Rude Customers
We’ve all seen employees in the service industry subjected to abusive behavior by rude customers. A new study by Ruodan Shao and Daniel P. Skarlicki finds that employees’ reactions to mistreatment by customers varies in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. It also suggests several solutions for dealing with the stress such rude treatment often causes.


3. How Positive Events Can Impact Work-Related Stress
Everyone knows that stress can cause health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, and exhaustion. But a new study found that positive events such as a compliment from a supervisor or achieving a work-related goal can go a long way toward improving employee health, suggesting that “positive intervention” can lead to less work-related stress.


2. Are You Promoting Work Engagement, or Workaholism?

There’s a fine line between work engagement and workaholism. The former can lead to positive, dedicated employees; the latter can lead to burnout, bad attitudes, and quitting. Youngkeun Choi examines the differences between the two, offering organizations guidance on encouraging work engagement and discouraging workaholism.


1. Taking Feedback to Heart: How To Find the Coaching In Criticism
All too often, we respond to constructive feedback defensively, getting hurt feelings over what we consider to be criticism of our performance. In their article, Find the Coaching in Criticism, authors Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone suggest six simple steps that can help you take feedback to heart without getting hurt, and instead using it to grow and improve as a person.

Are You Promoting Work Engagement, or Workaholism?

Publication: Social Behavior and Personality (November, 2013)
Article: The Differences Between Work Engagement and Workaholism, and Organizational Outcomes: An Integrative Model
Reviewed by: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor, Ph.D.

All business organizations want their employees to be highly involved in their work (which is also known as Work Engagement), but not obsessive-compulsive about it (a.k.a. Workaholism).

Unchecked workaholism can eventually lead employees to burnout, inclinations to leave the company, and other behaviors that put good organizational citizenship at risk.

But how can organization leaders spot the difference between healthy and unhealthy levels of work engagement, and encourage employees towards the former? In “The Differences Between Work Engagement and Workaholism, and Organizational Outcomes: An Integrative Model,” author Youngkeun Choi offers some guidance.

Knowing The Difference

While at work, truly engaged employees tend to be positive, dedicated, and absorbed in their work (Schaufeli et al, 2002).

From previous research, we know that employees suffering from workaholism usually work excessively hard without finding any enjoyment in it. They tend to be perfectionists, distrusting of their coworkers, and often suffer from poorer mental and physical health.

Encouraging Work Engagement

So what can a business organization do to encourage healthy levels of Work Engagement?

The best solution is to provide job resources for its employees. In this article, Choi found that both social support from colleagues and supervisory coaching have a positive impact on Work Engagement, leading to employees who approach their jobs with more vigor, dedication and absorption.

To the organization’s benefit, employees with greater work engagement more often reported that they didn’t intend to quit, and that they were more likely to help others and be a good organizational citizen.

Discouraging Workaholism

What can an organization do to discourage Workaholism among its employees?

Perhaps not surprisingly, the solution is the same: Provide job resources. According to Choi’s research, when ample job resources were available, fewer characteristics of workaholism were reported, regardless of the demands of the job.

Choi concluded that providing resources such as performance feedback, supervisory coaching and colleagues’ support is the key to developing engaged workers who don’t fall into the trappings of becoming workaholics.

Top 5 Most Popular Article Reviews – January 2014

I/O at Work is trying something new for 2014. We will be listing our top 5 most popular article reviews by month. Take a look at the list and see if anything surprises you. We’re always open to feedback so if you find this top 5 format helpful please let us know!


Who-You-Know.700 5. Problem Solving at Work: It’s Not What You Know, but WHO You Know

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Abusive-Supervisor.7004. Consequences of Abusive Supervision

Schools have adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying. But what about bullying in the workplace? A new study on abusive supervision suggests that supervisor aggression can create emotional exhaustion among employees, ultimately leading to feedback avoidance.


Executive Coaching.700

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There is a lot of buzz around the term “Executive Coach” so what does an executive coach do and what do you need to know before you hire one?


Emotional-Intelligence.3002. Managing Your Emotions: Four Simple Steps to Success

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Burnout.7001. Can Personality Predict Burnout?  *Most Popular Review*

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How Power Distance Agreement Improves Performance in the Workplace

Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, November 2013
Article: Leader–Team Congruence in Power Distance Values and Team Effectiveness: The Mediating Role of Procedural Justice Climate
Reviewed by: Ben Sher

Research in I-O psychology suggests that, when leaders and their employees share similar attitudes about how work should be done, it creates positive outcomes in the workplace.

A recent study by Cole, Carter, and Zhang (2013) has found that agreement on the appropriate amount of power distance– the disparity in control between employees and their supervisors– can play an especially significant role in workplace harmony, leading to improved performance.

When people expect leaders to assume complete authority and make all decisions, the company’s culture is said to be high on the power distance index. When those leaders are expected to make decisions democratically, using employee input, and employees are assumed to be on equal footing, the culture is said to be low on the power distance index.

As part of the study, researchers examined the extent to which leaders and their employees agreed on power distance expectations. When this agreement was higher, two positive outcomes were usually found: Team performance improved, as did organizational citizen behaviors (when employees go beyond their formal job descriptions to benefit the organization).

But why did this happen? The authors found that, when leaders and employees had similar expectations regarding power distance, there was agreement as to who should be making the decisions. For example, when high power distance was expected, all parties agreed that the leader should be making decisions unilaterally.

This type of agreement leads to a perception of procedural justice, or the feeling that employees are being treated fairly. In our example, the employees do not expect to make decisions, and perceive it as fair when they are not asked to do so. Procedural justice was ultimately associated with higher job performance and organizational citizenship behaviors.

The authors concluded that organizations should find ways to discover the power distance expectations of leaders and their employees. When agreement is low, the organization can then take steps to help correct the mismatch and train leaders to better suit their followers. Ultimately, this knowledge of team members’ preferences can be an important step towards improving overall team performance.

Top 10 HR Stories 2013

I/O at Work has had a busy year bringing you the latest findings in I/O research and its applications in the HR world. Our writers have reviewed some of the most useful research articles enabling our readers to stay informed about new HR strategies and developments. Below is a list of our top 10 HR stories of the year in descending order. Check the list for important and useful information and let us know if you’re surprised by #1 .


10.  Are turnover rates and organizational performance related?



9. Further predictors of academic performance



8. Whistle While You Look For Work



7. Talking about my generation: Exploration of the impact of generation on motivation



6. Empowering Leaders vs. Directive Leaders: Which is more effective?



5. How to get Promoted: Lessons from the movie Office Space



4. Does a Job Furlough Affect Performance?



3. How to Become Indispensable



2. Leave a Penny, Take a Penny: Effective Giving



1. Dealing with Difficult Customers: address the problem, not the emotion