SGR Best Paper Award

We are pleased to congratulate Dr. Wei Zheng from the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Jun Wei from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, China for winning the Small Group Research 2017-2018 Best Paper Award.  The abstract of the article, “Linking Ethnic Composition and Performance: Information Integration Between Majority and Minority Members,” is below and the article will be free to read for a limited time.

sgrd_49_4_coverOften labeled a double-edged sword, diversity can not only trigger social categorization that dampens group cohesion and performance, but it can also increase available information resources and enhance group performance. The ways in which a group integrates information from diverse members play a central role in determining whether and how it can reap benefits from diversity. Guided by research in team diversity and relational demography, we take a diversity-as-disparity approach and focus on the extent of information integration between majority- and minority-status members in a group. Specifically, drawing from social network research, we examine whether majority–minority information brokerage equality mediates the impact of ethnic composition on group performance. Based on data from 540 employees in 34 work groups from a Chinese organization, we find that majority–minority information brokerage equality mediates the impact of ethnic composition on performance but only when group climate is high. We also discuss theoretical and practical implications.


Have research on important group and team research literature? Check out the submission guidelines for the 2021 Review Issue!

When Leadership Powers Team Learning: A Meta-Analysis

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Mieke Koeslag-Kreunen of Zuyd Hogeschool, Heerlen, Piet Van den Bossche of the University of Antwerp, Michael Hoven of Maastricht University, Marcel Van der Klink of Zuyd Hogeschool, Heerlen, and Wim Gijselaers of Maastricht University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “When Leadership Powers Team Learning: A Meta-Analysis,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discuss some of the findings of this research:]

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

We are fascinated why some leaders succeed and others don’t in getting the most out of their teams. Knowing that team processes determine team effectiveness we wanted to know how leadership makes a difference in teams. Keeping in mind that one of the fundamental team processes is sharing knowledge and discussing what is shared to build advanced or new knowledge that enable developing the necessary solutions as a team. We were intrigued by the question how team leaders can facilitate this process of team learning without over-structuring it and leaving no space for team members to exhibit the necessary behaviors themselves. Many different leadership behaviors can be effective, but team leaders simply cannot display all necessary behaviors by themselves. Moreover, what can you do as a team leader when your team faces a task that is unstructured or for which you also do not have the answers? What is the best advice for these team leaders? In answering this question, we wanted to identify when leadership propels teams in building new or advanced knowledge.

In what ways is your research innovative and can it impact the field?

After synthesizing the 2000+ scientific hits on the topic, we showed that encouraging, structuring and sharing team leadership behaviors all support team learning. Interestingly, we also found new evidence that the type of team task determines which leadership behaviors can best be displayed to support teams in building new or advanced knowledge. As a consequence, the advice for team leaders is to vary their behavior depending on the team task and to ascertain the specific team situation in their choice. If pioneering ideas and new products of teams are aimed for, team leaders should mainly invest in building trust, creativity and enthusiasm, and not inhibit teams from learning by putting too much emphasis on the task. If advancing existing knowledge and adaptation of the products is enough to reach team success, team leaders who focus on the task, methods and outcomes are beneficial because such behaviors reinforces using known protocols.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

It would be interesting to dig into the reciprocal effect of the team process and leadership behavior, as well as how leadership behavior may shift in style and source over time. We mainly found cross-sectional studies that covered just one or two types of team leadership behavior and examines its influence on team learning behavior. Experimental and longitudinal studies on this topic may bring new perspectives on how team leaders can vary their behavior, what kind of effect that has on team learning, and what team leaders can do to use that information in future team interactions, subsequently.

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Argument Complexity and Discussions of Political/Religious Issues

[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Dr. Lyn M. Van Swol of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Dr. Cassandra L. Carlson-Hill Carolina of Coastal Universit, and Dr. Emily Elizabeth Acosta Lewis of Sonoma State University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “Integrative Complexity, Participation, and Agreement in Group Discussions,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Van Swol discusses some of the findings of this research:]

SGR_72ppiRGB_powerpointPolitical and religious issues can be difficult to discuss in a group, and it can be especially difficult to convince others who disagree with your viewpoint. This paper examined the role of complexity of arguments in a group discussion of a political/religious issue. Groups discussed whether or not the words “under God” should be in the United States Pledge of Allegiance. We had hypothesized that group members whose opinion were more similar to their fellow group members would increase the complexity of their contributions to the group when they were exposed to group members with more fringe opinions, but this was not supported. However, members with more fringe opinions in the group were more successful in influencing the group towards their opinion when they used more complex arguments. Argument complexity did not matter for group members with more mainstream views in terms of how much they influenced the group decision. Because group members with more fringe and discrepant opinions cannot appeal to their opinion being normative and aligned with the majority in the group, it may be important for them to have complex arguments to be persuasive. Complex arguments tend to be more nuanced and less dogmatic, which may make someone with an opinion more different from others in the group seem more flexible and informed. Finally, arguments used by members in the group discussion were more complex when the group had a longer discussion. This highlights the benefits of extending group discussion to let more nuances of the topic of discussion get expressed.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from Small Group Research and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

Self-Organizing Into Winning Teams: Understanding the Mechanisms that Drive Successful Collaborations

workplace-1245776_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Amy Wax of California State University, Long Beach, Leslie A. Dechurch, and Noshir S. Contractor of Northwestern University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “Self-organizing into winning teams: understanding the mechanisms that drive successful collaborations,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Wax reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

SGR_48_3_Covers.inddWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

This paper is based on my dissertation research. Throughout graduate school, I was interested in studying team composition and diversity in teams. So, the topic of team self-assembly was very interesting to me (being that it has a lot to do with team composition), and I decided to make it the primary emphasis of my dissertation.

Specifically, I decided to focus on self-assembled teams using a sample of Chinese online gamers because I was granted unique access to a large digital trace data set that could potentially inform my research questions.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

One of the most challenging (but also most fun/rewarding) parts of conducting this research was spending the summer of 2014 in Shanghai, working on data mining and analyses. It was mainly challenging because of the language barrier. Overall, it was an amazing experience!

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

Unfortunately, a series of semi-structured interviews that we conducted with Chinese and American online gamers ended up getting cut from the paper. Look out for a future publication with these results!

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Call for Papers: Small Group Research

SGR_48_3_Covers.inddSmall Group Research is currently seeking manuscript submissions. Small Group Research is an international and interdisciplinary journal presenting research, theoretical advancements, and empirically supported applications with respect to all types of small groups. Each quarterly edition contains in-depth articles on trends, case studies and the latest research by top human resource scholars and industry experts.

For more details click here.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sgr.

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest research.

Call for Proposals! Small Group Research: 2018 Review Issue

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Small Group Research is currently accepting proposals regarding the 2018 Review Issue. Please view the full details about the submission process here, or by clicking on the image above.

Manuscripts are due:  May 30, 2017

Submissions should be made to SGR’s Manuscript Central website: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sgr, where authors will be required to set up an account.

Small Group Research (SGR), peer-reviewed and published bi-monthly, is an international and interdisciplinary journal presenting research, theoretical advancements, and empirically supported applications with respect to all types of small groups. SGR, a leader in the field, addresses and connects three vital areas of study: the psychology of small groups, communication within small groups,and organizational behavior of small groups. This journal is a member of the Committee on Pubication Ethics (COPE).

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#OSEditorPicks: Temporary Organizing and Institutional Change

org[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

Much of today’s work is accomplished within projects. In Temporary Organizing and Institutional Change, recently published in Organization Studies, Sampo Tukiainen and Nina Granqvist investigate how people engage in temporary project work that ultimately holds potential for institutional change. They analyzed how events unfolded over time within a project designed to establish the “Innovation University” that contributed to a nationwide university reform in a European country. The article shows how the process of establishing this university took many twists and turns, and highlights the way that “lock-ins” can occur and promote change.

I particularly like this article because the authors show us the real messiness of such project work, while also giving attention to the temporal aspects of institutional change. Tukiainen and Granqvist develop a theoretical model of institutional project work that shows how actors engage in interactions while scoping and specifying the change. In addition, their case study suggests that successful institutional projects build on previous change attempts; the odds of success are improved by finding ways to build on previous activities and learning, even those arising from previous failures. This is an important article for everyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of temporary organizations and how they can drive institutional change.

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You can read “Temporary Organizing and Institutional Change” from Organization Studies free for the next 30 days by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Organization Studies? Visit the homepage here and sign up for email alerts!