Ten Years of Team Goodness

Topic(s): teams

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.

There have been some theoretical advancement in areas 4 and 5 and Mathieu et al. encourage researchers to put some numbers to these theories with some empirical findings.  Studies in the field are more prevalent than they have ever been (which is good) but also present many new problems with their complexity. Note for those of you folks well-versed in this topic:  So far the input-process-output (IPO) and input-mediator-output-input (IMOI) models have served us well, but as teams get more complex, more models accounting for this complexity will be needed.

The take-home message of the article is to embrace the complexity of teams and not to view the complex features as confounds or design problems but to model, assess, and understand them. This embracement may lead to new research paradigms and will hopefully involve the incorporation of qualitative and
quantitative data (And this year’s Nobel Prize in mathematics goes to…). The authors encourage us to keep doing what we’re doing but not to be afraid to go after an idea that may seem a little bit out there.

Note: I am aware there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics, but if we figure this bad
boy out, I think there will be.

Mathieu, J., Maynard, M. T., Rapp, T., and Gilson, L.(2008) Team Effectiveness 1997-2007: A Review of Recent Advancements and a Glimpse Into the Future. Journal of Management, 34(3), 410-76.