Investigating Team Processes : Team Planning and the Rhythm of Teamwork

This dissertation focuses on the investigation of team processes, which are regarded as a critical factor for team emergent states and for the result of team work. More precisely, team planning is named a relevant team process as part of the prevalent recurring phase model of team processes. Nevertheless, in the past its individual sub processes have only rarely or inconsistently been differentiated, which is why a clear and complete overview over team planning processes is missing so far. A first aim of this dissertation is to identify the relevant team planning processes and to examine them with regards to their antecedents. Furthermore, team planning is closely connected with further team processes (e.g., reflexion) and is a dynamic process over time. This is included in the recurring phase model of team process on a theoretical level as rhythm of team task accomplishment (‘rhythm of teamwork’), which is conceptualized as a cyclical procedure of action and transition phases during the task accomplishment of teams. Even though an empirical examination of the rhythm of team work could produce an important contribution to further understand and de-code team dynamics, such an examination has yet to happen. A second aim of this disserta-tion is to empirically examine the rhythm of teamwork as a complex temporal pattern of team processes for the first time and to review its central assumptions. After preliminarily explaining the central constructs of the dissertation and embed-ding them into the research context, three studies on its empirical examination follow. Study 1 and Study 2 concern themselves with the construct of team planning while Study 3 exam-ines the rhythm of team work. In the scope of the first study, a process-oriented model of team planning is intro-duced. Additionally, a respective four-dimensional scale and two one-dimensional short scales—for use in specific contexts (e.g., panel studies, diary studies) —are developed and validated on the basis of two sub studies with three different samples. The results of the study support the postulated multidimensionality of team planning and show that the scales both show internal consistency as well as convergent validity and criterion-related validity concerning team performance. The study therefore offers a planning model, which is the first to exclusively focus on the involved team planning process and their various functions regarding goal achievement, as well as valid and reliable scales for the exploration of over-all team planning processes. Study 2 further validates the multidimensional scale with the help of two policy-capturing sub studies but it also examines the effect of situational factors on the planning behavior of teams. Drawing on the theories of organizational psychology, the effects of rou-tine, time pressure and decision importance are specifically examined. The results support the validity of the multidimensional scale of team planning and generally show across both sub studies that planning intentions in all dimensions are decreased by intense time pressure, high task routine and small decision importance. The study therefore offers first indications for situations, in which companies could offer resources or adopt measures to encourage teams to plan, in order to profit from the performance-enhancing effect of team planning. While Study 1 and Study 2 examine the specific process of team planning, Study 3 focuses on the dynamic and the dependency of the various team processes (e.g., team plan-ning, team coordination) and the resulting temporal pattern. By use of a laboratory study the central assumptions of the recurring phase model of team processes regarding the rhythm of team work are examined for the first time. A suitable method for the capturing of team rhythm has been specifically designed for this purpose. The results of the study thereby sup-port the central assumptions of the recurring phase model of team processes, namely that teams show different rhythms during team work, that these vary with the task and that they are at least partially connected to the team’s performance. The study therefore not only of-fers first empirical findings but also a methodological approach to describe the complex temporal patterns of team processes and to examine them with regard to their antecedents as well as their consequences. Concluding, the results of the three studies are embedded into the research context, critically evaluated and both theoretical as well as practical implications are explained.


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