Danger for High Performing Employees

In today’s performance oriented world, high performing employees are valued by organizational leaders. But are they valued as much by their colleagues?

Invariably, average performers will at some point compare themselves with the high performers in the workplace. This can be great when high performers are good role-models and motivate their colleagues to increase their own productivity. For many, being associated with a high performer can feel good and can lead to an increase in self-esteem. […]

How Leader Humility Boosts Team Performance

Should leaders be humble or proud? Surprisingly, humble leaders inspire others to be humble as well—their humble behavior is actually contagious. Not only that, but a humble team will focus more on promotion and perform better. Leaders show humility by accepting employees’ ideas, pointing out their strengths, and being able to accurately assess their own strengths and weaknesses.

Empowering Leadership Leads to Success for Virtual Teams

The recent increase in virtual teams—or teams of geographically dispersed members—is likely due to advances in technology, the ability to hire irrespective of location, and the cost savings associated with needing less office space. With the growing pervasiveness of virtual teams, there is also a growing need to understand the leadership styles that promote virtual collaboration and successfully manage remote workers. […]

Shared Leadership Can Boost Team Performance

How is shared leadership different from ordinary leadership? Traditional models of leadership involve a formal leader who holds authority and power and has a set of followers. The leader delegates, makes decisions, and holds followers accountable.

In contrast, the idea of shared leadership relies more on the sharing of authority, power, and influence. Teams that have more shared leadership still have a formal leader; however, their leader is willing to pass authority to the team when it is appropriate. Is shared leadership good for teams? If so, how do we transition from more traditional models of leadership to a model of shared leadership? Researchers (Chiu, Owens, & Tesluk, 2016) examined 62 teams across a variety of organizations in Taiwan to find out. […]

Show Me the Money: The Influence of Money on Workplace Behavior

Different people view money in different ways, either as the root of all evil or the source of all things good. While you may fall squarely into either of these categories, few can deny that money has a psychological significance beyond its mere usefulness. But how does it affect your behavior? Can pursuit of money make you more selfish? Can it make you less cooperative? New research (Beus & Whitman, 2016) uses athletes from the NBA and NHL to explore how behavior is affected when money is on the line. […]

How Does Individual Employee Recognition Help the Team?

Individual employee recognition for a job well done is important. Many organizations have programs that formally recognize employees for their achievements, such as “employee of the month” or “star performer” awards. These awards typically focus on highlighting the performance of single employees. Given that most employees work within teams, how does singling out one team member impact the rest of the team? New Research (Li, Zheng, Harris, Liu, & Kirkman, 2016) explores the positive spillover effects that recognizing an individual team member can have on the rest of the team.


The Pros and Cons of Being a Jerk at Work

At some point, we’ve all met a jerk at work. These people may have reckless abandon for the feelings of others. They may be loud, rude, obnoxious, tactless, crass, or forceful. On the other hand, we sometimes see or hear examples of jerks achieving renowned success in the business world. Successful jerks are oftentimes known for their originality and creativity, and for their entrepreneurial achievement. New research (Hunter & Cushenbery, 2015) explores whether being a jerk has certain advantages, or if the so-called benefits of being a jerk are really just a lot of hot air.


Team Building: Encouraging Your Team to Eat Together is a Recipe for Success

Organizations are constantly looking for new ways to foster trust, respect, and team building among employees, and new research (Kniffin, Wansink, Devine, & Sobal, 2015) suggests a relationship between eating behavior and team performance. The researchers surveyed a group of 395 firefighting officers from 13 American firehouses.


Power Disparity on Teams: Now We Know When It Works

Power is what makes people obey even when they don’t want to, and power disparity on teams refers to a situation in which power is not evenly distributed among team members. Imagine a situation in which a powerful and experienced executive works with several junior associates on a project. This might be called high power disparity, because one person will have all of the power.


Goal orientation.FB

Goal Orientation: Helping Team Performance or My Own Performance?

Not all people are motivated by the same things, and goal orientation is one way that psychologists classify what makes people tick. You might think of goal orientation as the basic underlying goal that explains what you do and why you do it. New research (Dietz, van Knippenberg, Hirst, Restubog, 2015) shows how a certain type of goal orientation can only sometimes help performance, depending on the situation.



Workforce Diversity: Does Diversity Training Improve Creativity?

Workforce diversity has become a major organizational issue for most companies in the 21st century, and with good reason; we’ve come a long way from the mono-cultural workplaces that dominated the business world just a few short decades ago. Organizations of all sizes tell us in corporate press releases and social media posts that, within their company, “Diversity drives innovation and creativity!” However, research tells us that’s not necessarily a given.


How to Make Meetings Productive

How to Make Meetings Productive: The Role of Employee Participation

We wouldn’t think that the purpose of meetings is to encourage employee participation. After all, meetings are held for a variety of specific work-related reasons. But the results of these meetings can vary incredibly. Productive meetings can include the successful collaboration of ideas, while unproductive meetings can result in decreased morale in employees. How can we do better? New research (Yoerger, Crowe, & Allen, 2015) investigated the relationship between participation in decision-making, or PDM, and employee engagement in the context of meetings.


Climate Uniformity

Climate Uniformity: A New Concept with Important Organizational Outcomes

When it comes to research on organizational climate, the concept called “climate uniformity” is the new kid on the block. In fact, new research by González-Romá and Hernández (2014) is the first to actually collect data and start to determine what this concept means for organizations. The results are intriguing, as they found that the degree of climate uniformity is related to communication, conflict, and even team performance. So now you might be asking, what in the world is climate uniformity?


Lack of Supervisor Justice Leads to Team Cohesiveness

Lack of Supervisor Justice Leads to Team Cohesiveness

Supervisor justice sounds like a good thing, and it is. This term refers to leaders who treat their employees fairly, and when speaking specifically about interpersonal justice, it means that they treat their employees with dignity and respect. Past research has highlighted the positive outcomes that occur when supervisor justice is at a high level, for example, employees will be more committed to the organization. However, a new study (Stoverink, Umphress, Gardner, & Miner, 2014) found the opposite. When supervisor justice is perceived to be lacking, there could be a positive benefit for employees who work on teams.


Fix the Negative Relationships that Affect Team Performance

How to Fix the Negative Relationships that Affect Team Performance

Nearly all companies and organizations use teams to get work done, but can negative relationships be preventing that from happening? As common as teamwork is, the dynamics that make a team actually work are often overlooked. Whether the team is temporarily thrown together or a permanent fixture, how the individuals get along is an essential factor in how well the team performs. Every individual has their differences, and frequently this can lead to disagreements or negative relationships amongst members of a team.


Is It Lonely At the Top? The Victimization of High Performers

High Performers are defined as the group of talented employees that increase both team and organizational performance.

Previous research has suggested that individuals high on cognitive ability are more likely to experience workplace victimization, and High Performers might be the target of interpersonal harm.

The current study by Eugune Kim and Theresa Glomb extends this line of research by examining the extent to which High Performers are victimized due to group members’ envy, and whether work group identification can reduce this potential negative consequence of high performance.


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.


Successful Leadership for Virtual Teams: Strategies to Increase Performance

Successful leadership for virtual teams is becoming an increasingly important issue in the workplace. Due to increasingly sophisticated technologies, organizational globalization and flexible work structures, virtual teams are steadily growing in popularity, and more traditional leadership research may have somewhat limited application.


How to Create Successful Work Teams

Teamwork plays an essential role in the success of many organizations. But what factors determine whether work teams will succeed or fail?

This question is an important one for I-O psychologists, and research by Chun and Choi (2014) has provided new insights into how managers can form successful work teams by considering the role members’ needs and intragroup conflict play in overall group performance.


An Easy Recipe for Improving Team Performance on Creative Tasks

Leaders and I-O Psychologists are always trying to discover new ways to improve team performance. New research by Ellis, Mai, and Chrisitan (2013), has found an interesting new way to do this for creative tasks. When team members have different approaches to achieving goals, team performance may improve.


When Powerful Leaders Hinder Team Performance

When we think of powerful leaders, we often imagine people who can get others to do what they wish. After all, power and leadership, by definition, involve the capacity to control or influence the behaviors of others. However, this study by Tost and Larrick shows that having more powerful leaders can actually harm team performance.


Step Aside Extroverts! Introverts and Neurotics Comin’ Through

Currently, the I/O community seems to be abuzz dispelling myths and commonly held misperceptions about individual differences as they relate to “the Big Five” personality dimensions. The recent release of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has now made it cooler than ever to be an introvert, and I/Os are stepping up their efforts to provide emperical proof that introverts indeed “have got it goin’ on.”

The present research by Bendersky & Shah (2013) not only builds on research regarding ‘the dark sides of extraversion,’ but also adds to existing literature on “the bright sides of neuroticism.” Yes. You read that correctly. For all of you highly emotional, anxious people out there, this one’s for you.


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

Team building is one of the hottest and most studied topics in the world of I/O psychology today. More and more organizations are beginning to realize and benefit from the synergies that result when people pool their knowledge, skills, resources, and creative efforts to achieve a common goal. What’s the secret to building effective work teams? Well, as anyone who has ever worked in a group setting will tell you, a team is only as good as its leader.


Holding Leaders Accountable: Does it Work?

We can all agree that leaders are more effective when they engage in behavior that benefits the team, instead of self-serving behavior that benefits nobody but themselves. How do we inspire the leadership behavior that we desire? One popular way to curb self-serving leadership behavior is by increasing accountability, or the extent to which leaders will have their actions made public, and will be required to stand behind these actions. New research (Giessner, van Knippenberg, van Ginkel, & Sleebos, 2013) shows that this approach may lead to mixed results.


With OCBs and Justice For All (IO Psychology)

Topic: Organizational Justice, Teams, Citizenship Behavior, Performance Appraisal
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2012)
Article: Examining Retaliatory Responses to Justice Violations and Recovery
Attempts in Teams
Authors: J.S. Christian, M.S. Christian, A.S. Garza, A.P.J. Ellis
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Should managers deal fairly with their employees? Well yes, of course, if they are concerned about being nice people or perhaps want to be told the correct location of the
holiday party. But what if managers are only concerned with bottom-line organizational effectiveness, profit, and ruthless getting-ahead in life? For these types, research by
Christian, et al. (2012) has shown that treating employees unfairly can lead to certain negative workplace outcomes.


Can’t we just get along? Team personality and conflict (IO Psychology)

Topics: Teams, Personality, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2012)
Article: Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to
improve performance.
Authors: Bret H. Bradley, Anthony C. Klotz, Bennett E. Postlethwaite, & Kenneth G. Brown
Reviewed By: Aaron Manier

Team members need to get along in order to perform well. Unfortunately, we’re all different people, so sometimes conflict arises. Often this conflict arises around different takes on the team’s task. However, scientific understanding of the relationship between task conflict and effective team performance has been inconclusive.


Creativity is More Than Thinking Outside the Box (IO Psychology)

Topic: Teams, Creativity
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Cognitive team diversity and individual team member creativity: A cross-level interaction
Authors: S. J. Shin, T.-Y. Kim, J.-Y. Lee, & L. Bian
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

A creative team is a joy to own. But how can an organization ensure that their team is acting as a cohesive, effective, creative unit? It turns out that it is oh so simple, but maybe not as rudimentary as you’d think. Join me as we venture outside the box!


Team Intimacy and Organizational Interventions: Emphasizing Team Cohesion May be More Effective (IO Psychology)

Topic: Teams, Development
Publication: Human Resource Management Review (JUN 2012)
Article: Too Close for Comfort? Distinguishing Between Team Intimacy and Team Cohesion
Authors: Rosh, L., Offermann, L. R., & Van Diest, R.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Within IO psychology, research on teams has become increasingly important in recent years. As organizations have begun to use teams for a wider variety of roles and purposes, it has become necessary for both researchers and practitioners to gain a better understanding of how teams work and how they can be designed to operate most effectively. Two constructs that have received research attention in the realm of teams include team intimacy and team cohesion. Although these constructs may appear to be very similar from the outside, Lisa Rosh and colleagues argue that there are important differences between these constructs, and that they are best conceptualized as distinct constructs.


When Does Conflict Improve Team Performance? (IO Psychology)

Topic: Teams, Conflict, Culture, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2012)
Article: Reaping the Benefits of Task Conflict in Teams: The Critical Role of Team Psychological Safety Climate
Authors: B.H. Bradley, B.E. Postlethwaite, A.C. Klotz, M.R. Hamdani, K.G. Brown
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

There’s a battle in the meeting room! Tempers flare, fists pound the table, insults are hurled, a chair flies through the air! No, this is probably not the best way to get things done. But what happens if team members engage in spirited debate that is strictly focused on the work at hand? Will that be productive? According to research by Bradley, Postlethwaite, Klotz, Hamdani, and Brown (2012), the answer depends on the type of team climate already in place.


Goals for Groups (IO Psychology)

Topic: Goals, Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2011)
Article: The Effect of Goal Setting on Group Performance: A Meta-Analysis
Authors: A. Kleingeld, H. van Mierlo, L. Arends
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

He shoots, he scores! No, not those kind of goals. We’re talking about workplace goals—the kind that are used to help improve performance. And while past research has shown that goals do improve performance for individuals, a new meta-analysis by Kleingeld, van Mierlo, and Arends (2011) confirms that goals can help groups as well.


Tension at the Top: Why Women at the Executive Level May Not Welcome Other Women to the Club

Topic: Evidence-Based Management, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes (SEP 2011)
Article: Female Tokens in High-Prestige Work Groups: Catalysts or Inhibitors of Group Diversification?
Authors: Duguid, M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Workplace diversity is a goal that many (and hopefully most or all) organizations aspire to. In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on incorporating previously underrepresented groups, and especially women, into high-prestige work groups at the highest levels of the organization. Among the many benefits that might come from the addition of women to high-prestige groups, it is commonly believed that other women may be inspired by the level of authority and success that women in elite positions have achieved. However, a new paper by Michelle Duguid challenges this logic, suggesting that this “inspirational” role is one that women may embrace with some reservations.


How Leaders Sharing Organizational Values Boosts Team Performance

Topic: Leadership, Teams, I/O Psychology
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: Person-Organization Value Congruence: How Transformational Leaders
Influence Work Group Effectiveness
Authors: Hoffman, B.J., Bynum, B.H., Piccolo, R.F., & Sutton, A.W.
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Why is it that some leaders or managers are adept at “rallying the troops” while some seem to be ignored? The former may be a transformational leader. Transformational leaders are those that inspire their subordinates by instilling a sense of mission and purpose to attain long-term goals. These types of leaders have already been shown to positively influence work group effectiveness, but the question of “why” still remains. In an attempt to understand some of the underlying factors governing this relationship, Hoffman and colleagues tested if person-organization and person-leader value congruence at the group level mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and group effectiveness.


Trust in the leader is important for team performance

Topic: Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Cognition-based and affect-based trust as mediators of leader behavior influences on team performance
Authors: Schaubroeck, J., Lam, S. S. K., & Peng, A. C.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

Little research has explored the role that trust in the leader plays on team performance. This study examined that relationship and provided support for a model of affect-based and cognition-based trust in the leader mediating (linking) the relationship between leader behavior patterns and team performance.


There to Serve: Servant Leadership and Team Success

Topic: Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Antecedents of Team Potency and Team Effectiveness: An Examination of Goal and Process Clarity and Servant Leadership
Authors: Hu, J. & Liden, R. C.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Teams are used in a wide variety of organizations for a wide variety of purposes. While teams can be useful to organizations in many ways, there are risks as well. By forming individuals into collective teams, organizations must risk conflict and competition amongst group members. Generally, it is also necessary to have one or more individuals lead a team. In essence, teams can yield very positive results, but they must be designed and managed thoughtfully. A new article by Jia Hu and Robert Liden addresses how a particular type of leadership – servant leadership – might be especially useful in guiding teams to success.


Is Bureaucracy Bad for Creativity? That Depends on You

Topic: Creativity, Strategic HR, Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: How does bureaucracy impact individual creativity? A cross-level investigation of team contextual influences on goal orientation-creativity relationships
Authors: Giles Hirst, Daan Van Knippenberg, Chin-Hui Chen, & Claudia A. Sacramento
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Bureaucracy and creativity. They might seem like mortal enemies—we often think of red tape and paper work as the killer of creative thinking—but it doesn’t have to be! Really, it depends on your employees. When we talk about goal orientation (why people do what they do), we usually take about three types of people. First, you have your learning-oriented workers. These are the ones who do what they do for sheer enjoyment of the work. They are intrinsically motivated. Second, you have your performance-prove-oriented employees. These workers want to show you how good they are. Third and finally, you have your performance-avoid workers. These are your risk-adverse employees—the rule followers. They all respond to bureaucracy differently, particularly when it comes to creativity.


Joining Teams and Going Overboard!

Topic: Teams
Publication: Academy of Management Review
Article: Multiple team membership: A theoretical model of its effects on productivity and learning for individuals and teams
Authors: M.B. O’Leary, M. Mortensen & A.W. Woolley
Reviewed By: Jade Peters

A team is a set of individuals, bound to work together towards a shared goal or outcome. The number of teams an employee is involved in and the variety of the teams are important factors when addressing the employee’s learning and productivity


Do We Have Organizational Support? Let’s Not Agree to Disagree

Topic: Teams, Job Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2011)
Article: When Managers and Their Teams Disagree: A Longitudinal Look at the
Consequences of Differences in Perceptions of Organizational Support
Author: M.R. Bashshur, A. Hernandez, V. Gonzalez-Roma
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Your manager likes Chinese food, classical music, Ohio State football, and is a lifelong Democrat.  You, on the other hand, love Mexican food, heavy metal, went to Michigan, and have a ten inch GOP tattoo across your back.  Will workplace productivity suffer?  Hopefully not.  But what if you believe your organization fails to adequately support your work team, while your manager thinks they’re doing a fine job?  According to research by Banshur, Hernandez, and Gonzalez-Roma (2011), this scenario could lead to poor productivity and poor attitudes.


Teams Behaving Badly: A Combination of the People and the Environment

Topic: Ethics, Teams, Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Thick as Thieves: The Effects of Ethical Orientation and Psychological
Safety on Unethical Team Behavior
Authors: M.J. Pearsall & A.P. Ellis
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Individuals faced with ethical dilemmas are always free to choose between their perceptions of right and wrong. But some situations are more complicated than that. What happens when an entire team must collectively decide what to do? What factors might sway the group decision in favor of acting unethically? According to research by Pearsall and Ellis (2011), certain types of groups are more prone to ethical violations than others.


Time for Teamwork: When Aspects of Collectivism are Most Beneficial

Topic: Goals, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (March, 2011)
Article: The power of “we”: effects of psychological collectivism on team
performance over time
Authors: Erich C. Dierdorff, Suzanne T. Bell, and James A. Belohlav
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Collectivism, in essence, is the orientation of a group’s members toward a similar set of goals and for their mutual wellbeing as a team.  A group composed of collectivistic members should be more cooperative and will likely show a higher degree of citizenship behavior amongst its team members.  However, can certain aspects of collectivism be damaging?  The authors of this study set out to determine the interplay of psychological collectivism and team performance over the course of time.


Group Culture and Speaking Up

 Topic: Culture, Teams, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Speaking Up in Groups: A Cross-Level Study of Group Voice Climate and Voice
Authors: E.W. Morrison, S.L. Wheeler-Smith, & D. Kamdar
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Think of the last time you had an important suggestion to make while at work.  Did you say it?  According to research by Morrison, Wheeler-Smith, and Kamdar (2011), the answer may reveal as much about the beliefs of the people you work with as it does about you. 


Does Helping Hurt the ‘I’ in Team?

Topic: Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (DEC 2010)
Article:  Why Seeking Help From Teammates Is a Blessing and a Curse: A Theory of Help Seeking and Individual Creativity in Team Contexts
Authors: Jennifer S. Mueller & Dishan Kamdar
Reviewed By:  Kerrin George

Increased information sharing among individuals can harness unique perspectives that will create new ideas.  One way that information is shared within teams is through seeking help and helping fellow teammates.  Often overlooked, however, is the question of whether this increased demand of helping within teams may come with potential negative consequences with respect to creativity.  

Mueller and Kamdar (2010) investigated the impact of helping behaviors among teammates on creativity (defined as the creation of new ideas that may feed innovation).  Specifically, they examined the impact of employees’ help-seeking behaviors on their individual creativity, and whether reciprocation of help may diminish this creativity.


Group Job Satisfaction Determined by the Emotional Intelligence of Its Leader

Topic: Leadership, Teams, Emotional Intelligence, Job Satisfaction
Publication: Small Group Research (JAN 2011)
Article: Managers’ Trait Emotional Intelligence and Group Outcomes: The Case of Group Job Satisfaction
Authors: L. Zampetakis & V. Moustakis
Reviewed By: Allison B. Siminovsky

Regardless of the nature of an organization’s end goals, it is in any organization’s best interests to have employees that are satisfied with their jobs.  Individual job satisfaction has been linked to increased performance and higher organizational loyalty, amongst other positive implications.  It has been found in the past that individual job satisfaction and trait emotional intelligence, or one’s emotional self-awareness, are linked, as being able to identify and regulate one’s emotions has had positive effects on job satisfaction. 


The Winning Team!

Topic: Teams
Publication: Leadership Quarterly (OCT 2010)
Article: Self-management competencies in self-managing teams: Their impact on multi-team system productivity
Authors: J. P. Millikin, P. W. Hom, C. C. Manz
Reviewed By: Lauren Wood

The emergence and increasing popularity of self-managed work teams in the past 25 years have lead many business leaders to claim that self-managed teams are the wave of the future. Indeed, self-managed teams have been shown to positively influence organizational outcomes such as customer service and productivity.

However, some research has contradicted these findings suggesting, in fact, that self-managed teams may be overall detrimental to organizational success. Differences in team composition may be the culprit of these varied results; so, which team member qualities contribute to effective self-managed teams within the larger, multi-team system and which hinder productivity?  


Want to Accelerate Transition Into New Leadership Roles?

The first 90 to 100 days are crucial for those moving into new leadership roles. But why is this period so important?  Leaders in new roles are more likely to make errors such as acting too quickly without the necessary information and failing to build relationships and credibility.  To ensure accelerated assimilation and effectiveness into new roles, organizations can help their new leaders experience successful role transitions.


Transformational Leadership: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Topic: Leadership, Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Exploring the Dual-Level Effects of Transformational Leadership on Followers
Authors: X. Wang, J.M. Howell
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

So you want to be a transformational leader…  But what will it take?  Will you be the broad-thinking leader who rouses the group and inspires the masses?  Or will you be the focused, attentive leader who connects with individuals and brings out their best?


Who Leads Diverse Teams to Less (More) Conflict?

Topic: Conflict, Diversity, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (JAN 2011)
Article: When team members’ values differ: The moderating role of team leadership
Authors: K.J. Klein, A.P., Knight, J.C. Ziegert, B.C., Lim, and J.L., Saltz
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The necessity of team-based work coupled with an increasingly diverse workforce makes team-based conflict not only possible, but likely.  A key question is what happens in teams when team members differ in their fundamental values.  Since individuals’ values shape their behaviors and beliefs about how others should behave (at work), value diversity among team members can be a bomb just waiting to explode. 


Maximizing the Benefits of Autonomy in Teams

Topic: Job Design, Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: The impact of autonomy and task uncertainty on team performance: A longitudinal field study (FEB 2010)
Author: J. L. Cordery, D. Morrison, B. M. Wright, & T. D. Wall
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Modern jobs are becoming more interconnected every year. Where once we worked alone in our cubicles, we are now more likely to be part of a team collectively working toward some common goal. Additionally, the nature of work is increasingly reliant on employees’ ability to adapt to new and challenging situations. As such, much effort has gone (and continues to go) into the study of team effectiveness. Giving teams autonomy (freedom over the process through which they achieve their goal) is argued to be key in maximizing performance. However, results in the current literature have been mixed. Mixed results typically indicate the presence of some third important moderating variable that helps to explain why the relationship is different across time, people, or situations.


Want teamwork? Then get pride – with fair treatment and leaders who demonstrate the right values

Topic: Fairness, Leadership, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: Cooperating when “you” and “I” are treated fairly: The moderating role of leader prototypicality
Authors:  David De Cremer, Marius van Dijke, and David M. Mayer
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

More and more research is examining how teams work together to achieve common goals.  One aspect of teams that is important for successful outcomes is the extent to which team members engage in cooperative behavior (rather than self centered).   A new model presented by De Cremer, Van Duke, and Mayer (2010) indicates that cooperation amongst team members is highest when a) members feel that both they and their fellow members are receiving procedurally fair treatment from their leader, and b) the leader him/herself embodies the team’s values and norms.  While that may seem like a mouthful, listen up: this new research may just provide that extra piece that’s missing from your teamwork puzzle.


Status Inequality Within Teams? Could Be Trouble

Topic: Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: Beyond Status: Relating Status Inequality to Performance and Health in Teams
Authors: A.M. Christie, J. Barling
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Okay everyone, who’s excited about the new basketball season?  I/O Psychologists are!  In fact, Christie and Barling (2010) did a recent study that analyzed NBA players to determine if “status inequality” is related to lower performance.  They found a relationship if the low status players also exhibit uncooperative behavior.


Minority Opinions: A Vital Role in Team Success

Topic: Teams, Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (SEP 2010)
Article: A Multilevel Model of Minority Opinion Expression and Team Decision-Making Effectiveness
Authors: G. Park, R.P. DeShon
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Pop quiz, hot shot.  There’s a meeting in a conference room. Your team seems to reach quick consensus, but with a flash of independent thought, you see through the group’s flawed logic and are baffled by their oversights.  You must now decide if you should rock the boat and voice your minority opinion. What do you do?


I’ll Have What She’s Having … An Explanation for Inaccurate Group Decisions

Topic:  Decision Making
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: Knowing others’ preferences degrades the quality of group decisions (MAY 2010)
Author: A. Mojzisch, S. Schulz-Hardt
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Not too long ago I wrote a review about a technique for generating ideas called “brainwriting.” According to Heslin (2009), asking individuals to generate ideas independently before pooling them with a group is likely to improve the final quality of ideas (compared with traditional group brainstorming) – largely because this independent initial process eliminates social pressures associated with group decisions. A recent article by Mojzisch and Schulz-Hardt (2010) provides some support for these ideas.


To Give Is To Get In Work Teams

Topic: Goals, Performance, Teams
Publication: Human Performance
Article: What you do for your team comesback to you: A cross-level investigation of individual goal specification,team-goal clarity, and individual performance
Authors: S. Sonnentag and J. Volmer
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Much of today’s work is done by workteams. Even if an employee’s work is self-contained, it is often combined with the work of other team members. Cleary then, individual performance is vital for determining the team’s level of overall performance. But how do employees’ inputs into the team impact their own performance?


Hands-on practice increases creativity in teams

Topic: Creativity, Teams
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2010) Article: First, get your feet wet: The effects of learning from direct and indirect experience on team creativity
Authors: F. Gino, L. Argote, E. Miron-Spektor, G. Todorova
Reviewed By: Jared Ferrell

It is a widely accepted fact that experience leads to creativity, but the question posited by the authors in this study was whether a certain type of experience leads to more creativity. This study focused on differences in team creativity between teams who had direct task experience (learning by doing), indirect task experience (vicarious learning), or no task experience.


Why Work Group Satisfaction Matters

Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Job Performance, Teams
Publication: Personnel Psychology (SPRING 2010)
Article: Satisfaction, citizenship behaviors, and performance in work units: A meta-analysis of collective construct relations
Authors: D.S. Whitman, D.L. van Rooy, and C. Viswesvaran
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The happy worker is the productive worker, right?  Not necessarily.  Indeed, much of the past research on job satisfaction (which is extensive, to say the least) suggests that at the individual employee level, job satisfaction and performance are weakly related.  This finding, however, tends to go against common sense.  Doesn’t it seem reasonable to believe that employees who are satisfied at work perform better than those who are not as satisfied or dissatisfied at work?  It apparently does to many researchers and thus the search for clarification continues.


The Propensity to Trust

Topic: Trust, Teams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Why do we trust? Moving beyond individual to dyadic perceptions
Authors: M. Yakovleva, R.R., Reilly, and R. Werko
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Trust among employees is a prerequisite to good teamwork.  After all, if employees don’t trust in each other, how are they ever going to work well together?  Trust comes in two basic varieties: The propensity to trust people in general and relational trust, which refers to the assessment of a particular individual’s trustworthiness.  In a recent study by Yakovleva, Reilly and Werko (2010), the authors studied trust between pairs of co-located and virtual coworkers.


Key to Good Boss-Employee Relationships: First Impressions and Then Performance

Topic: Leadership, Personality, Performance
Publication: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (MAR 2009)
Article: The development of leader–member exchanges: Exploring how personality and performance influence leader and member relationships over time.
Authors: Nahrgang, J.D., Morgeson, F.P., and Ilies, R.
Reviewed By: Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

The relationships that form between leaders and their employees have been associated with a number of workplace outcomes including employee satisfaction, performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. However, little research has examined how these leader-member relationships develop over time. Nahrgang, Morgeson, and Ilies (2009) followed 330 leader-member dyads over an eight-week period of time to see how personality and performance impacts the quality of these relationships.


Does Size Matter . . . In Workgroup Effectiveness?

Topic: Teams
Publication:  Small Group Research
Article: Group size, group development, and group productivity.
Author: S.A. Wheelan
Featured by:  Lit Digger

When it comes to workgroup teams, YES! You have already probably noticed that working in larger groups often means less cohesiveness and less participation from group members, and often the opportunity for more free-riding.  But have you ever wondered if group size matters?


Beware of trait dominance in groups: Those people may be full of hot air!

Topic: PersonalityTeams
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.). Why do dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face groups? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance.
Author: C. Anderson, G. Kilduff
Featured by: LitDigger

While attitudes towards group projects run the gamut, most people would agree that one of the trickiest aspects of any group project has to do with how people interact with one another. Many of these interactions involve various perceptions, opinions, and beliefs about the competency of other group members.  And if theory suggests that groups give authority to members who offer the most expertise and experience related to the task at hand, then is there a particular type of personality that may naturally come off as “more competent” than others?


Arranging the Top Dogs for Maximum Effectiveness

Topic: TeamsOrganizational Performance
Publication: The Academy of Management Journal
Article: Top management team functional background diversity and firm performance.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

A key factor that can have a direct effect on an organization’s overall performance is the composition of its top managers.  Teams of top leaders are commonly referred to as top management teams (TMT), and researchers have investigated how various aspects of an organization’s TMT effect its overall performance.


Ten Years of Team Goodness

Topic: Teams
Publication: Journal of Management
ArticleTeam effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future (#34, 2008).
Blogger: Rob Stilson

In 1997, Cohen and Bailey assessed all research that had been done with teams up to that point. From that article, Cohen and Bailey recommended breaking down the team studies into five areas: group cognition, affect, mood, group potency, and collective self-efficacy. Virtual and global teams as well as environmental (institutional) factors into time. Ten years later, Mathieu and crew revisited the Cohen and Bailey article, following up on the results five areas.

The new study notes great progress in the areas of group cognition, group potency and collective self-efficacy, and virtual and global teams, but further research is needed in the areas of affect, mood and the final two mentioned.


Before You Give Me A Hand, Be Sure I Need It

Topic: Teams
Publication: The Journal of Applied Psychology (2008)
Article: Harmful help: the costs of backing-up behavior in teams.
Blogger: Rob Stilson

Warning! The findings of this study have the potential to blow your mind if you follow research on teams.

OK, maybe not “The Matrix blow your mind,” but I did say “whoa” after reading the implications of the study. This research group delved into the dark side of backing-up behavior and came across some interesting and useful findings.