Measuring teamwork and team performance in collaborative work environments

Published date07 August 2017
Date07 August 2017
AuthorKylie Goodell King
Subject MatterHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Measuring teamwork and team
performance in collaborative
work environments
Kylie Goodell King
Department of Decisions, Operations, and Information Technology,
The University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
Purpose Tasks in todays global marketplace are becoming increasingly reliant on the work of teams.
As creativity and innovation are frequently required for organizational success, work teams are becoming
more and more prominent within all types of organizations. With the rise of organizational teams, the purpose
of this paper is to develop appropriate tools to measure how well these teams work together and how well
they perform required tasks.
Design/methodology/approach This paper outlines a measure of teamwork, a transactive memory
system (TMS), and proposes new methods for using TMSs to measure team structures, processes, and
performance. These new methods include dispersion models and social network analysis.
Findings Dispersion models and social network analysis hold promise for the future evaluation of
TMS and other team constructs.
Originality/value This paper provides a summary of two novel approaches to the measurement of
TMS and other team constructs.
Keywords Measurement, Transactive memory systems, Dispersion models
Paper type Literature review
1. Introduction
The work once accomplished by individuals is now regularly performed by teams. This is
due to a number of factors, including enhanced opportunities for collaboration through
newly developed technologies, a need for greater levels of innovation due to increasing
competition between firms, and a rise in complex tasks requiring high levels of creativity.
With the recognition that teams may be especially important where creative and innovative
tasks are required (Parrotta et al., 2014; Williams and OReilly, 1998), teams are becoming
increasingly common in many organizations. This is especially true of self-managed teams,
which are becoming more and more popular as organizational hierarchies collapse and
individuals collaborate between different units within a firm.
Following this rise in the presence of self-managed organizational teams, the study of
team-level constructs has become popular in recent years. In disciplines including
organizational behavior, sociology, education, and many others, researchers are interested
in evaluating the presence, emergence, and measurement of team constructs (e.g. Chen and
Kanfer, 2006; DeShon et al., 2004; Guzzo and Dickson, 1996).
While various definitions of teams have been proposed, this paper will utilize Kozlowski and
Bells (2003) definition: teams are composed of two or more individuals who collectivelyhold one
or more common goals, share interdependent tasks while maintaining task boundaries, and
interact socially as part of a higher level context that constrains the team. While some previous
work has provided a distinction between groups and teams (e.g. Katzenbach and Smith, 1993),
for the remainder of this paper, the term teamwill be used, replacing groupor clusterin
reviewing previous studies to maintain consistency of language.
Many team-level constructs have been evaluated in recent years. These include team
communication (Adams et al., 2009), team problem solving (Bormann and Bormann, 1972),
decision making (Napier and Gershenfeld), collaborative learning (Bransford et al., 1999;
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 5 No. 2, 2017
pp. 196-205
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-11-2016-0028
Received 4 November 2016
Revised 4 January 2017
Accepted 9 January 2017
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