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Small Group Research

An International Journal of Theory, Investigation, and Application

Impact factor: 1.164 5-Year impact factor: 1.604 Print ISSN: 1046-4964 Publisher: Sage Publications

Subjects: Social Psychology, Applied Psychology, Management

Most recent papers:

  • How Does Leader Other-Emotion Appraisal Influence Employees? The Multilevel Dual Affective Mechanisms.
    Liu, X., Zhang, Y., Liu, C.-H.
    Small Group Research. November 25, 2016

    This research explores the multilevel dual-mediation processes related to how leader other-emotion appraisal impacts employee turnover intention. Using a Taiwanese sample of 197 employees and their leaders in 64 work teams, the results revealed that leader other-emotion appraisal was positively related to leader positive emotion display and employee satisfaction with the leader. Moreover, employee satisfaction with the leader significantly mediated the relationship between leader other-emotion appraisal and employee turnover intention. Implications for theory and practice were outlined, and limitations and directions for future research were discussed.

    November 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416678663   open full text
  • Role Variability in Self-Organizing Teams Working in Crisis Management.
    Jobidon, M.-E., Turcotte, I., Aube, C., Labrecque, A., Kelsey, S., Tremblay, S.
    Small Group Research. November 10, 2016

    Crisis management teams face situations characterized by high risk, time pressure, and uncertainty and must adapt to a wide range of circumstances. Self-organizing teams have been proposed as an alternative to more traditional functional teams as they are described as adaptive and promptly reconfigurable. This study investigated whether self-organizing teams display more role flexibility than functional teams and the impact on performance and coordination. Teams were assigned to either a functional or a self-organizing structure and completed scenarios in a functional simulation. Results revealed that self-organizing teams performed and coordinated better than functional teams. As expected, self-organizing teams showed more role variability across and within teams. However, greater variability in role allocation within teams was associated with poorer performance and coordination. We conclude that flexibility in roles can be beneficial but that too much variability can be associated with role ambiguity and negatively affect a team’s ability to achieve its goals.

    November 10, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416676892   open full text
  • Development of a Synchronization Coefficient for Biosocial Interactions in Groups and Teams.
    Guastello, S. J., Peressini, A. F.
    Small Group Research. November 08, 2016

    Body movements, autonomic arousal, and electroencephalograms (EEGs) of group members are often coordinated or synchronized with those of other group members. Linear and nonlinear measures of synchronization have been developed for pairs of individuals, but little work has been done on measures of synchronization for groups. We define a new synchronization coefficient, SE, for a group based on pairwise correlations in time series data and employing the notions of a group driver, who most drives the group’s responses, and empath, who is most driven by the group. SE is developed here in the context of emotional synchronization based on galvanic skin response time series. A simulation study explores its properties, the balance between strong versus weak autocorrelational effects, transfer, group size, and direct versus oscillatory functions. Distributions of SE are not affected by group size up to 16 members. Norms for interpreting the coefficient are presented along with directions for new research.

    November 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416675225   open full text
  • Effectiveness of a Group Intervention Program for Female Victims of Intimate Partner Violence.
    Santos, A., Matos, M., Machado, A.
    Small Group Research. November 07, 2016

    Group intervention has been widely used with female victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). However, efficacy studies are scarce due to several research limitations. This study evaluates the effectiveness of an 8-week group intervention program, with a cognitive-behavioral orientation and attended by 23 female victims of IPV. Self-report psychological assessment was conducted at pre-test, post-test, and follow-up. Results revealed that the group intervention had a positive impact on participants, showing a decrease in re-victimization and in beliefs toward legitimizing IPV. A decrease in levels of depression and a significant improvement in general clinical symptoms were also evident. Self-esteem and social support were enhanced throughout group intervention. The changes were confirmed through follow-up after 3 months, suggesting that this group intervention has important effects on female victims. The implications of the findings for practice are also discussed.

    November 07, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416675226   open full text
  • A Review and Technological Consideration of the Bona Fide Group Perspective.
    Beck, S. J., Bourdeaux, R., DiTunnariello, N., Paskewitz, E. A.
    Small Group Research. September 02, 2016

    Although group research has explored a variety of new theories, methodologies, and technologies over the past three decades, the bona fide group perspective is still a meaningful framework for understanding how groups interact with context. In this review essay, the bona fide group perspective is introduced and publications since the perspective’s inception 25 years ago are reviewed. Additionally, future research paths are explored, displaying how this perspective is useful for investigating the influence of technological advances on group member participation, specifically in terms of presence.

    September 02, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416665703   open full text
  • A Systematic Literature Review of Teamwork Pedagogy in Higher Education.
    Riebe, L., Girardi, A., Whitsed, C.
    Small Group Research. August 26, 2016

    Teamwork pedagogy has received considerable attention across a wide range of academic literature. Yet employers continue to argue that universities need to do more to better prepare graduates to work in team-based environments. Grounded in the social constructivist paradigm, this article uses a two-phase systematic literature review methodology to explore the conditions and influences affording or constraining teamwork pedagogy. A complementary thematic analysis of the articles revealed two broad themes: pedagogy and transaction costs. In almost all 57 articles, a range of factors influencing teamwork pedagogy were elaborated. Temporal, fiscal, and human resource transaction costs were identified as constraints in the application of teamwork pedagogy. An overlap of educator, student, and institutional factors are discussed as contributing to the transaction costs of implementing process-oriented teamwork pedagogy. However, the interdependent interactions among educators and students, within and across institutions, remained largely underexplored and are presented as part of a future research agenda.

    August 26, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416665221   open full text
  • Beyond Collective Beliefs: Predicting Team Academic Performance From Collective Emotional Intelligence.
    Hjerto, K. B., Paulsen, J. M.
    Small Group Research. August 17, 2016

    This study used data from 818 master’s students, organized into 199 teams, to examine the influence of collective emotional intelligence (EI) on team academic performance (measured by a common academic grade based on two project reports at the team level) above the effects of collective general self-efficacy (GSE) and team-level GSE, termed team potency. All three variables predicted team academic performance positively, beyond the effect of each other. The research model explained 20% of the variance in team academic performance. A negative interaction effect between collective EI and collective GSE was detected, indicating that the two variables may replace each other in teamwork. Exploratory analyses of the four EI dimensions showed that particularly other emotion appraisal (OEA) and regulation of emotions predicted team academic performance. Finally, maximum EI within each team predicted team academic performance at about the same level as collective EI.

    August 17, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416661236   open full text
  • The Application of Minority Influence Theory in Computer-Mediated Communication Groups.
    Yilmaz, G., Youngreen, R.
    Small Group Research. August 10, 2016

    Using computer-mediated communication (CMC) groups as a context, this theoretical study aims at providing further specifications for the application of minority influence theory in small group research. Based on a focused literature review, this article proposes a framework that contextualizes strategic language use as an essential component of minority influence in CMC groups. Highlighting the role that unique features of CMC (e.g., interactive text-based communication, anonymity, salience of status markers) play in shaping and modifying minority influence in CMC groups, the proposed framework outlines testable propositions for future empirical studies.

    August 10, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416661033   open full text
  • Group Functioning in Child Care Centers: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Relation With Structural Characteristics.
    Aarts, M. C., Burk, W. J., Riksen-Walraven, J. M.
    Small Group Research. July 08, 2016

    This article introduces and conceptually underpins an instrument to measure group functioning in child care groups, the Group Functioning Instrument for Child Care (GFI-CC). This instrument was applied in 44 Dutch child care groups (0- to 4-year-olds). The results of this first explorative investigation with the GFI-CC provided initial support for an underlying conceptual model of group functioning in child care centers based on cohesion (network structure, action coordination, and involvement) and emotional climate. The relation between group functioning and structural group characteristics was also examined. Mean age and group continuity (i.e., how long the children have already been attending the group) predicted group functioning, with higher group functioning in groups with older children and in groups with greater continuity. Group size and group constancy (i.e., how many days a week children attend the child care group together) did not independently contribute to the prediction of the group functioning variables.

    July 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416658961   open full text
  • Framing the Effects of Multinational Cultural Diversity on Virtual Team Processes.
    Han, S. J., Beyerlein, M.
    Small Group Research. June 13, 2016

    Globalization of the economy and the technological revolution has led to increased reliance on teams with geographically distributed membership, which has increased multiculturalism in the workplace. This study identifies factors that affect the processes and performance of nationally and culturally diverse teams working in a virtual environment. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify previous empirical studies in global virtual team research published from 1998 to 2014, focusing on the effects of deep diversity in the form of national culture on multinational virtual teams (MNVTs). Sixty of the 268 articles met our criteria for inclusion in this study. We concentrated on the critical factors regarding processes and outcomes in MNVTs. The resulting framework included four socioemotional and four task-related challenges for team leaders to focus on. We found that dynamic interdependency among socioemotional and task process factors affects MNVT performance.

    June 13, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416653480   open full text
  • Collective Team Identification and External Learning.
    Luan, K., Rico, R., Xie, X.-Y., Zhang, Q.
    Small Group Research. June 08, 2016

    To further develop extant knowledge about the drivers of and conditions affecting team external learning, we studied the relationship between collective team identification and external learning and the moderating effect of psychological safety on this relationship. The results from a field study involving 61 teams show that collective team identification had a positive influence on external learning and that this relationship was moderated by psychological safety. We found an -shaped relationship between collective team identification and external learning in groups with low levels of psychological safety. Excessive collective team identification actually repressed external learning instead of increasing it. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

    June 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1046496416653664   open full text
  • The Science of Multiteam Systems: A Review and Future Research Agenda.
    Shuffler, M. L., Jimenez-Rodriguez, M., Kramer, W. S.
    Small Group Research. September 29, 2015

    Given the complexities of today’s workplace, organizations and agencies are progressively turning toward interdependent systems comprised of teams, or multiteam systems (MTSs), to accomplish multifaceted tasks in challenging environments. Subsequently, MTSs have grown in popularity in group and team research, spanning a breath of disciplines (psychology, organizational behavior, human factors, communication, and medicine). In this review, our goal is to highlight the existing research across a range of disciplines regarding MTSs that serves to answer the question, "What do we know about MTSs?" while also developing a future research agenda aimed at answering the question, "Where does our research need to go to better understand MTSs?" We specifically highlight the current trends, dynamics, and methodological issues in MTSs to further build the foundation for improving MTS effectiveness.

    September 29, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415603455   open full text
  • The Mutual Influence of Therapy Group Members' Hope and Depressive Symptoms.
    Kivlighan, D. M., Paquin, J. D., Hsu, Y.-K. K., Wang, L.-F.
    Small Group Research. September 24, 2015

    The current study sought to further explore the theoretical model of mutual influence among therapy group members, which postulates that group members influence one another and that this influence is a key component of group treatments. However, a recent finding suggested that group members’ adjusted posttreatment outcomes were not significantly related. The current study reexamined mutual influence by testing this relationship in a markedly different sample on two outcome variables, depression and hopelessness. The data consisted of 78 HIV+ men participating in six therapy groups in a Taiwanese correctional facility. Contrary to our hypothesis, the relationship between an individual group member’s posttreatment depression and the aggregated depression scores of the other group members was not significant. As hypothesized, the relationship between an individual group member’s posttreatment hope and the aggregated sense of hope of the other group members was significant.

    September 24, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415605638   open full text
  • Diverse Work Groups and Employee Performance: The Role of Communication Ties.
    Zhang, Y., Huai, M.-Y.
    Small Group Research. September 21, 2015

    This study is a report of an investigation of group diversity—particularly informational diversity and social diversity—revealing its effects on individual performance through communication ties. Two studies, one using 127 groups of employees from six firms and another using 104 groups of part-time students from a training program, demonstrate that informational diversity affects individual task and creative performance through communication ties, whereas social diversity does not. Future research and practical implications are discussed.

    September 21, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415604742   open full text
  • Including the Family Member in Interdisciplinary Team Meetings: Communication Trend Analysis.
    Graybill, E., Esch, R. C., Vinoski, E., Truscott, S., Torres, A., Daniel, K., Crenshaw, M., Crimmins, D.
    Small Group Research. September 15, 2015

    This study explored the interaction patterns of family members of individuals with disabilities in a simulated interdisciplinary team problem-solving process. Participants included 15 members of a training cohort within a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program. Family trainees and non-family trainees engaged in a simulated team discussion at two points during the training year (Time 1 and Time 2). To understand how family members and other professionals interact in interdisciplinary problem-solving meetings, we applied three coding schemes to the interdisciplinary team discussions to measure language similarity, dominance and domineeringness, problem solving, and balance of power. The results suggested there were trends in the communication dynamics between family trainees and non-family trainees at Time 1 and Time 2. For example, language similarity between groups was high at both Time 1 and Time 2, yet families were less successful at controlling the team conversation at Time 2. The implications of these and other results are discussed.

    September 15, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415604028   open full text
  • Cognitive Diversity in Teams: A Multidisciplinary Review.
    Mello, A. L., Rentsch, J. R.
    Small Group Research. September 08, 2015

    The growing research literature on cognitive diversity in teams has multidisciplinary and international relevance. However, the varied conceptual and operational definitions restrict theory development and comparisons of empirical results. The purpose of the present article is to provide guidance for the systematic study of cognitive diversity and team functioning. We demonstrate that organization of the literature is necessary and offer an organizing heuristic based on the stability of the cognitive diversity conceptualization. Using this framework, we review the empirical findings for the effects of cognitive diversity on team criteria. Then, we address methodological issues and describe the manners in which cognitive diversity has been composed to the team level. Following each section we offer summary findings, critique the state of the literature, and offer guidance for future research. There are opportunities for researchers to enhance precision in theory and measurement and for integration across disciplines.

    September 08, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415602558   open full text
  • The History of Teamwork's Societal Diffusion: A Multi-Method Review.
    Weiss, M., Hoegl, M.
    Small Group Research. August 31, 2015

    In the literature, the notion of the ever-growing prevalence of teamwork is dominating. First, has there indeed been a steadily increasing trajectory of the societal diffusion of and academic research on teamwork? If so, what have the main drivers of this trajectory been? In this review, we apply a multi-method approach to examine these questions. Specifically, we combine the established bibliometric method of scholarly article counts with the innovative approach of culturomics that allows the content analysis of a literature corpus spanning millions of books, both popular and scholarly. The results show that although academic research on teamwork has grown constantly and has shown a sharp increase over the past 40 years, the societal diffusion of teamwork, as indicated through the culturomics approach, actually followed a volatile trend in the past century. Certain large-scale events and developments, such as war, may serve as an explanation for these changing trends.

    August 31, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1046496415602778   open full text
  • The Process of Team Boundary Spanning in Multi-Organizational Contexts.
    Harvey, S., Peterson, R. S., Anand, N.
    Small Group Research. May 19, 2014

    Work teams must increasingly operate in complex environments characterized by multiple external actors beyond team and organizational boundaries. Although previous research demonstrates the importance of boundary spanning activities to team effectiveness, it reveals relatively little about the process of boundary spanning in these environments. In this article, we investigated the processes of boundary spanning across multiple external actors in 10 cross-organizational teams. We identified three sequences for reaching out to external actors: (a) moving inside-out from vertical actors inside the host organization to horizontal actors outside of the host organization, (b) moving outside-in from horizontal actors to vertical, and (c) staying-inside with vertical actors from the host organization. Our observations suggest that inside-out and outside-in sequences were more successful than simply pleasing the host organization. We build on our empirical findings to develop a process theory of how team boundary spanning activities across multiple external actors influence team effectiveness. Our research underscores the importance of a team’s interactions with actors in its external environment beyond those in an immediate supervisory role and provides insight into the dynamics of boundary spanning in multi-organizational contexts.

    May 19, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414534474   open full text
  • Introduction to the Special Issue: Leadership and the Group.
    Sjovold, E.
    Small Group Research. May 19, 2014

    This article summarizes the contributions given in the five papers of the Small Group Research (SGR) special issue, Leadership and the Group. The five papers were first presented at the 8th Nordic Conference on Group and Social Psychology (GRASP, 2012) held at the Royal Norwegian Navy Academy in Bergen, Norway. Aside for summarizing each contribution, this introduction describes the contributions of each article in a broader context, and points to some implications for further research.

    May 19, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414534475   open full text
  • The Links Between Group Development and Health in Manufacturing Industry.
    Jacobsson, C., Rydbo, N., Borresen, J. E.
    Small Group Research. May 19, 2014

    This study focuses on the relation between levels of group development and three health-related aspects of working life: work satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and sick leave. This article presents a study with 30 groups in a manufacturing company. Data were collected from 274 group members of the 30 groups, using Group Development Questionnaire, self-reported measures of work satisfaction and emotional exhaustion, as well as company data on occurrence of sick leave occasions. The results indicate a strong relationship between levels of group development and work satisfaction, a moderately strong relation with emotional exhaustion, and a weaker or less clear relation with sick leave. Practical implications are discussed and future research suggested.

    May 19, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414534473   open full text
  • Competitive Versus Non-Competitive Goals in Group Decision-Making.
    Lofstrand, P., Zakrisson, I.
    Small Group Research. May 09, 2014

    This study presents results from a group decision task in which groups were assigned either a competitive or a non-competitive goal. A total of 20 groups were tasked with putting together a relay team either with the goal to maximize the chance to win or with the goal to maximize the sense of community. Interaction process analysis revealed that there were more positive reactions in groups with the non-competitive goal. Analysis of the content of the conversations showed all groups to go beyond information given about the target persons. Attributes associated with the stereotype dimensions of competence and warmth were used to characterize the persons who were to be included or excluded on the relay teams. Groups with a competitive goal applied both positive and negative attributes, whereas groups with a non-competitive goal applied only positive attributes. The results suggest that stereotypes are applied to legitimize decisions about inclusion and exclusion.

    May 09, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414532954   open full text
  • Task Uncertainty and Mission Command in a Naval Context.
    Krabberod, T.
    Small Group Research. May 09, 2014

    Mission command is a leadership philosophy that was designed to ensure that military organizations could operate effectively in uncertain situations. It has become the exemplar of military leadership. This study explores whether an increase in task uncertainty is positively related to appreciation of mission command by crew members of Norwegian state-of-the-art, Nansen-class frigates (N = 174). The result of a simultaneous multiple regression indicates that there is a relationship, but in the opposite direction of what was hypothesized. The greater the task uncertainty, the more the behavior of the preferred leader deviated from mission command. The most important predictor was perceived lack of information, and the more the respondents felt that they lacked information when carrying out their tasks, the more their description of preferred leader behavior deviated from mission command.

    May 09, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414532955   open full text
  • Team Leadership in a High-Risk Organization: The Role of Contextual Factors.
    Heldal, F., Antonsen, S.
    Small Group Research. May 09, 2014

    Some small groups perform their tasks in high-risk settings, where team leadership is crucial for the ability to deal with danger. However, we still know little about how the high-risk context may affect this ability. In this article, we draw on a single-case study to investigate team leadership in a high-risk organization. Present theories depict a rather static view on team context, which we argue do not comply with the complexity and dynamic environment of a high-risk organization. We show that in such an environment contextual factors can be of great importance to the internal dynamics of small groups at a different level and matter than previously thought. We argue that effective team leadership hinges upon how team leaders interpret and make sense of contextual factors. We believe that viewing team leadership in this light will contribute to a new understanding of the small group in relation to its surroundings.

    May 09, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414533617   open full text
  • Third-Party Allocation of Rewards: The Effects of Categorization and Request for Justice.
    Kazemi, A., Tornblom, K.
    Small Group Research. May 07, 2014

    The present study shows that categorization of reward recipients into different entities affects distributive preferences by third-party non-recipient allocators. Rewards were allocated more equally to members of one group than to members of two dyads or to independent recipients. Moreover, allocators who were explicitly requested to allocate rewards justly were more egalitarian than those who were not requested to do so. More interestingly, rewards were allocated more equally between members in each of two dyads and between independent recipients, when a just allocation request was made, than when such a request was not made. This implies that a request for just allocation modifies the effects of recipient entity categorization toward more equal reward allocations.

    May 07, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1046496414532953   open full text
  • Terrorism and Small Groups: An Analytical Framework for Group Disruption.
    Reedy, J., Gastil, J., Gabbay, M.
    Small Group Research. October 01, 2013

    Terrorism scholarship has revealed the importance of small groups—both cells and leadership groups—in the proliferation of violence, yet this field remains only loosely connected to small group theory and research. There exists no systematic consideration of the role that group dynamics play in the disruption of terrorist activities. This article proposes an analytical framework for terrorist group disruption that shows how the goals and methods of counterterrorist intervention intersect with small group behavior. We use this framework to theorize how three intervention types—repression, manipulation, and persuasion—interact with group variables and processes, such as communication networks, social identities, group cohesion, and intragroup conflict. Seven theoretical propositions demonstrate how the framework can show how the direct and indirect effects of group behavior can augment or undermine counterterrorist strategies.

    October 01, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1046496413501892   open full text
  • Distributed People and Distributed Information: Vigilant Decision-Making in Virtual Teams.
    McLeod, P. L.
    Small Group Research. September 05, 2013

    The theoretical framework of vigilant interaction theory is used to examine information exchange and decision-making quality in virtual teams. Groups completed a hidden profile task in one of three geographic dispersion conditions: all members colocated, isolated, or mixed with two colocated and two isolated members. Vigilant interaction—discussion of task information, attention to other group members’ information, discussion of positive and negative attributes of the alternatives, and systematic information processing—predicted decision quality. Explicit reminders of information differences predicted pooling of unique information. No evidence was found for difficulties in interaction and task performance due to subgroup faultline dynamics; instead vigilant interaction was highest in groups with mixed distributions, suggesting they exerted compensatory effort. Exploratory analyses suggested that temporal vigilance was lowest in completely distributed groups. Implications for new dimensions of the vigilant interaction theory framework are discussed.

    September 05, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1046496413500696   open full text
  • Member Awareness of Expertise, Information Sharing, Information Weighting, and Group Decision Making.
    Baumann, M. R., Bonner, B. L.
    Small Group Research. July 08, 2013

    One of a group’s most valuable resources is the expertise of its members. How this expertise is (or is not) used has a major impact on group performance. However, determining expertise is often difficult. Thus the issue of how many group members need to be aware of expertise before the benefits of recognition accrue is of great importance. For example, do all members have to be aware of expertise prior to discussion for the group to benefit, or is a subset of members sufficient? If a subset is sufficient, how large must it be? To address these questions, we manipulated the number of group members possessing foreknowledge of member expertise. We then analyzed perceived expertise, information sharing, information weighting, and group decision making using a series of planned contrasts representing common social combination models. Discussion of unique information followed a majority wins model (i.e., a shift occurred when greater than half of members were made aware of expertise prior to discussion). For weighting of unique information, several models, including majority wins, fit when examining regression-based estimates of weighting whereas only the majority wins model fit when examining self-reported weighting. None of the models tested adequately explained rated expertise.

    July 08, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1046496413494415   open full text
  • Too Close or Too Far Hurts: Cognitive Distance and Group Cognitive Synergy.
    Meslec, N., Curseu, P. L.
    Small Group Research. June 16, 2013

    Groups encounter difficulties in becoming better than their individual members. This study assesses the nature of the relationship between cognitive distance (operationalized as the extent to which the best performing individual is detached from the rest of the group) and two types of group synergy: weak cognitive synergy (collective performance is better than average individual performance) and strong cognitive synergy (collective performance exceeds the performance of the best individual in the group). We hypothesized that the relationship between cognitive distance and group cognitive synergy has an inverted U shape and we test this curvilinear relationship in two studies using judgmental and decision-making tasks. The first study shows that cognitive distance is beneficial for both weak and strong group cognitive synergy up to a point and then it becomes detrimental. A second study replicates the findings only for weak and not for strong synergy in a task that evaluates individual and collective rationality in decision making.

    June 16, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1046496413491988   open full text
  • Reducing Faultlines in Geographically Dispersed Teams: Self-Disclosure and Task Elaboration.
    Chiu, Y.-T., Staples, D. S.
    Small Group Research. May 29, 2013

    Faultlines have the potential to significantly disrupt team performance due to the creation of intergroup bias. In geographically dispersed teams, given the combination of dispersed locations and other diversity characteristics, faultlines are potentially a major issue that needs to be more fully understood. This study examines the impact of faultlines on geographically dispersed teams and how problems caused by faultlines can be resolved. An experimental study of 40, four-person student teams finds that perceived faultlines heighten conflict and impair decision process quality. The findings also suggest that self-disclosure via weblogs and task elaboration can repair damage caused by faultlines. However, self-disclosure does not have a direct effect on reducing faultlines; the relationship is moderated by social attraction. That is, as team members disclose personal information to out-group members and out-group members are attracted to such disclosure, perceived faultlines are diminished. This study also finds that even in teams with strong perceived faultlines, team members are still able to exchange and integrate perspectives if they have a better understanding of their out-group members via self-disclosure. The negative consequence of faultlines therefore is eased when task elaboration occurs during task execution. Implications of these coping mechanisms for teams with faultlines in organizations are discussed.

    May 29, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1046496413489735   open full text