Effective Team Reflection: The Role of Quality and Quantity

[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Kai-Philip Otte, Udo Konradt,
and Martina Oldeweme of Kiel University. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “Effective Team Reflection: The Role of Quality and Quantity,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discusses some of the findings of this research:]

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

Although reflecting about past activities in teams is generally considered a very effective strategy for learning and improving team performance, previous research on this topic has often revealed contradictory results. Some studies even reported negative relationships between team reflection and team performance, suggesting that the relationship is more complex than originally expected. Since this represents a very interesting conflict between the theoretical assumptions and the empirical data, we tried to find new explanations for these results. When discussing the possible reasons, we came up with the idea that it may not be enough to ask teams how often or to what extent they reflect, but that previously unobserved factors could also play a role. In fact, in our investigations, we often witnessed teams that reflected only on a superficial level and that even when these teams realized that something was wrong, they seldom used the opportunity for in-depth analysis, further compromising their future performance. Accordingly, we wanted to determine whether both the quantity and quality of a team meeting needed to be considered in order to better understand the relationship between team reflection and team performance.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Although we believe that our findings provide important insights for the reflection process itself, we also believe that the general idea of the simultaneous consideration of quality and quantity is also applicable to other team processes. For example, other discussion-based processes, such as team planning, could be subordinate to similar principles. We therefore think that the distinction between quantity and quality can also provide valuable insights in other areas of research.

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

Our perspective on teams is still comparatively simple because we base our conclusions mainly on averages that are believed to represent a team and its actions appropriately. However, we have often seen in our own research that team members can sometimes judge the same object in a fundamentally different way. For example, we observed some very strong team leaders who literally repressed all of the other team members’ reflexive activities and assumed that the feedback we provided was manipulated, rather than admitting that their way of solving the problem was suboptimal. Accordingly, future research should include this plurality within teams more closely in their studies and conclusions in order to get a better and, above all, more complete picture of how team members interact and how these interactions affect the outcomes of a team’s actions.

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Read the November 2016 Issue of Journal of Management!

3340359442_b93f0f9aa9_o-1The November 2016 issue of Journal of Management is now available online, and can be accessed for the next 30 days! The November issue covers a variety of topics, including articles on organizational transparency, shared leadership-team performance relations, and the effects of autonomy on team performance.

Authors Anthony J. Nyberg, Jenna R. Pieper, and Charlie O. Trevor contributed the article “Pay-for-Performance’s Effect on Future Employee Performance: Integrating Psychological and Economic Principles Toward a Contingency Perspective,” which suggests that bonus pay may have a stronger effect on future performance than merit pay, among other findings about pay-for-performance. The abstract for the paper:

Although pay-for-performance’s potential effect on employee performance is a compelling issue, understanding this dynamic has been constrained by narrow approaches to pay-for-performance conceptualization, measurement, and surrounding conditions. In response, we take a more nuanced perspective by integrating fundamental principles of economics and psychology to identify and incorporate employee characteristics, job characteristics, pay system Current Issue Covercharacteristics, and pay system experience into a contingency model of the pay-for-performance–future performance relationship. We test the role that these four key contextual factors play in pay-for-performance effectiveness using 11,939 employees over a 5-year period. We find that merit and bonus pay, as well as their multiyear trends, are positively associated with future employee performance. Furthermore, our findings indicate that, contrary to what traditional economic perspectives would predict, bonus pay may have a stronger effect on future performance than merit pay. Our results also support a contingency approach to pay-for-performance’s impact on future employee performance, as we find that merit pay and bonus pay can substitute for each other and that the strength of pay-for-performance’s effect is a function of employee tenure, the pay-for-performance trend over time, and job type (presumably due to differences in the measurability of employee performance across jobs).

Another article from the issue, entitled “Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment” from authors Chad H. Van Iddekinge, Stephen E. Lanivich, Philip L. Roth, and Elliott Junco delves into the hazards that arise when recruiters use social media platforms like Facebook to screen job applicants. The abstract for the paper:

Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of organizations are using information from social media platforms such as Facebook.com to screen job applicants. Unfortunately, empirical research concerning the potential implications of this practice is extremely limited. We address the use of social media for selection by examining how recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles fare with respect to two important criteria on which selection procedures are evaluated: criterion-related validity and subgroup differences (which can lead to adverse impact). We captured Facebook profiles of college students who were applying for full-time jobs, and recruiters from various organizations reviewed the profiles and provided evaluations. We then followed up with applicants in their new jobs. Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance (rs = −.13 to –.04), turnover intentions (rs = −.05 to .00), and actual turnover (rs = −.01 to .01). In addition, Facebook ratings did not contribute to the prediction of these criteria beyond more traditional predictors, including cognitive ability, self-efficacy, and personality. Furthermore, there was evidence of subgroup difference in Facebook ratings that tended to favor female and White applicants. The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants.

You can read these articles and more from the November 2016 issue of Journal of Management, which is free for the next 30 days, by clicking here to view the issue’s table of contents! Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Journal of Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts to receive notifications for new issues and Online First articles!

*City image attributed to Mark Goebel (CC)

How Service Teams’ Perceived Relationship with Their Leader Affects Performance

02JSR13_Covers.indd[We are pleased to welcome Dr. Alexander Benlian. His article titled Are We Aligned…Enough? The Effects of Perceptual Congruence Between Service Teams and Their Leaders on Team Performance” was recently published in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Service Research.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Before I joined the academia I was a consultant at McKinsey & Company’ Business Technology Office (BTO). At client projects in several service industries (banking, insurance, telecommunication) I witnessed that service teams (e.g., IT helpdesk teams, Loan processing teams) varied greatly in their performance and that this variation was partly due to the service teams’ relationship with their team leader.  This inspired me to take a more in-depth look at the role of alignment and coordination between service teams and their leaders for service performance.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Surprising to me was that there was a clear performance advantage for those service teams that clearly and regularly aligned their goals, tasks and deliverables with their team leader. Even small divergences from a common understanding about responsibilities and commitments led to a loss in performance. Disciplined alignment matters!

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

I think that this study can have an important impact on both future research and practice. Future research—service research in particular—may want to pay more attention to the crucial role of team-leader interactions and their impact on important downstream factors (such as service quality or customer satisfaction). Practitioners may benefit from our study by using similar instruments/methods in their organizations to regularly conduct alignment initiatives that help “synchronize” service teams and their leaders.

Read “Are We Aligned…Enough? The Effects of Perceptual Congruence Between Service Teams and Their Leaders on Team Performance” in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Service Research.Want to be notified of all new articles from the Journal of Service Research? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Prof_Dr_Alexander_BenlianAlexander Benlian (PhD, University of Munich) is a professor of information systems, especially, electronic services, at Darmstadt University of Technology (TU Darmstadt), Germany. He was a visiting scholar at universities in Canada and the USA, and currently serves the editorial boards of three journals including the Journal of Service Research. He has published in Journal of Management Information Systems, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Information Systems Journal, European Journal of Information Systems, and Decision Support Systems, among others. His research interests are in web-based electronic services, alignment in service teams, and recommender systems in electronic commerce.

Work-Family Conflict at the Team Level

Lieke L. ten Brummelhuis of Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Pennsylvania, Annemarije Oosterwaal of Utrecht University and Arnold B. Bakker of Erasmus University Rotterdam published “Managing Family Demands in Teams: The Role of Social Support at Work” in Group & Organization Management. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here. Dr. Ten Brummelhuis kindly provided some background on the article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

As work-family researchers, we noticed that almost all studies address the work-family interface at the individual level. These studies indicated that employees may be hindered in performing optimally at work when they are overloaded at home with family responsibilities. However, nowadays, jobs are often organized in a team form, whereby employees depend on each other. Therefore, we thought it would be important to investigate what happens at the team level when family life interferes with work. For example, what happens if family life keeps employees from doing their job? Will co-workers be hindered then as well? And, perhaps more important, we questioned what can be done about this undesirable situation. Therefore, we examined whether support at work (understanding from supervisors for family responsibilities, co-workers that stand in when someone is absent) helped to prevent any negative consequences of family overload on teamwork.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes. Whereas we had thought that family demands would mainly harm team processes, we found that it could actually benefit the cooperative atmosphere in the team. Team cooperation was higher when team members had, on average, high family demands, but when the team had a policy whereby they would stand in for team members that had unforeseen family responsibilities. Thus, the combination of high responsibilities and helping out each other resulted in better intra-team relationships and benefitted the overall team performance.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope this study emphasizes that employees’ family life is something that cannot be disregarded by the work environment. Both for research and practice, this means that the family domain should be taken into account when one wishes to explain work outcomes. More specifically, our study indicates that work-family research should look further than individual outcomes of family life. Not only employees’ own work performance may be affected by their family life, but also the outcomes of peers, and the overall team. For researchers examining team outcomes, it might be worthwhile to look beyond the organizational border, including team members’ family demands and resources when they aim to explain team outcomes. Finally, for practice, our study underscores the importance of adequate support for team members who combine work and family tasks. In teams that had family-supportive supervision and perceived the organizational culture as family responsive, high family demands did not impair team  performance. Also, creating a cooperative team climate may be a good strategy for managers: when co-workers who were willing to help each other in family emergency situations, team cooperation even increased, and supervisors rated the work performance of those teams higher.

What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?

If it would be possible to go back and do this study again, we would also include the possible resources that employees may have at home, that benefit their performance. We already know that employees are more inspired and engaged at work when they don’t experience conflict between their work and family life, and that they can “contaminate” peers with this positive feeling (Ten Brummelhuis, Bakker, & Euwema, 2010, Journal of Vocational Behavior). It would be interesting to examine whether employees who derive much pleasure and fulfillment from their family life, also perform better at work, and whether this fosters team processes and the overall team performance.

To learn more about Group & Organization Management, please follow this link.

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Core Self Evaluations and Team Performance

Jeffrey J. Haynie, Auburn University, published “Core-Self Evaluations and Team Performance: The Role of Team-Member Exchange” on November 29th, 2011 in Small Group Research. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

Team composition literature has established associations of team personality composition and performance in previous research. This study adds to this literature by examining the positive relationship of mean core self-evaluations (CSE) and team performance as well as the moderating effect of team-member exchange (TMX) on this relationship. Using 63 senior business student teams engaged in a management-simulation exercise, there was no support for the main effect of CSE above any variance explained in team performance by mean levels of the Big 5 factors. However, there was strong support for TMX as a moderator where mean CSE was only found to positively relate with team performance when TMX was high. The discussion will detail the results and future directions for research.

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New Group & Organization Management Issue Available

The October 2011 issue of Group & Organization Management (GOM) is available online and can be found here.

The lead article, “Leader Cultural Intelligence in Context: Testing the Moderating Effects of Team Cultural Diversity on Leader and Team Performance,” was published by Kevin S. Groves and Ann E. Feyerherm, both from Pepperdine University, in this latest issue of GOM.

The Abstract:

Despite clear calls from industry to better understand cross-cultural leadership competencies, academic research on leader cultural intelligence (CQ) is remarkably sparse. To date, very few empirical studies have examined the unique contribution of leader CQ to leadership performance outcomes beyond the effects of competing leadership competencies. Data from 99 culturally diverse organizational leaders and 321 of their followers demonstrated that leader CQ predicted follower perceptions of leader performance and team performance in contexts where work teams were characterized by significant ethnic and nationality diversity. Furthermore, leader CQ predicted follower perceptions of leader performance and team performance on culturally diverse work teams beyond the effects of leader emotional intelligence and other leadership competencies. Implications for cultural intelligence theory, future research directions, and management practice are discussed.

The other articles in the October 2011 issue of Group & Organization Management can be found here. For more information about the journal, please follow this link.

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Team Emotional Intelligence and Performance: Interactive Dynamics between Leaders and Members

Jin Wook Chang, Carnegie Mellon University, Thomas Sy, University of California, Riverside, and Jin Nam Choi, Seoul National University, published “Team Emotional Intelligence and Performance: Interactive Dynamics between Leaders and Members” in Small Group Research. The article was published on OnlineFirst on August 26th, 2011.

The Abstract:

Despite increasing attention to emotional intelligence (EI) in the workplace, few studies have investigated EI at the group level. In this study, we propose that average member EI indirectly affects team performance by shaping emergent team dynamics. The results based on 91 teams show that both average member EI and leader EI are positively associated with intrateam trust, which in turn positively relates to team performance. Average member EI and leader EI have a compensatory relationship in predicting team performance. Either high average member EI or high leader EI (not necessarily both) is sufficient to explain a high level of team performance. This pattern is particularly strong with the emotion appraisal and social skills dimensions of EI. Our study highlights the need for increased attention to EI at the group level, which shapes emergent states and outcomes of work teams.

To view other articles on OnlineFirst before they are available in print, please click here. To learn more about Small Group Research, follow this link.

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