Team Process

Teamwork Process Indicators: Learning from the Source Materials of Teams

Dr. Laura Anderson, IBM Research - Almaden

Building an understanding of effective teamwork, and how to foster it, continues to be an important topic to both the academic and professional communities. The social dimension of teams, with a focus on the human aspect of both individuals and their networks, has been recognized in previous research as an important factor but has been a difficult target for systematic data gathering and study. In the course of performing their work, teams produce a wide variety of digital artifacts and traces. This primary data can also be used by researchers in the study of teams and teamwork to gain insights into the dynamics of a team, such as the interpersonal climate, patterns of information sharing, web application activity, and the team composition.  The ultimate goal of this research program is to enable automated analysis of teams and teamwork “in the wild” to understand what is happening in a particular team, and to provide insight to the team members for their reflective use. This work utilizes 1. IBM’s Watson Tone Analyzer to examine sentiment analysis of technical discussions, 2. social network analysis (e.g., Gephi) to look at patterns of information sharing between team members, 3. log analysis for insights into usage and activity of computer web applications, and 4. mapping of disciplines to explore the implications of team composition. A grounding theoretical framework is provided by activity theory, with a focus on human motivation, human activity, and the externalization of human ideas and objectives into something tangible in the world, provides the lens for a systemic visualization and abstraction of complex systems. The activity system provides a framework for understanding the interactions and interplay among people (subjects), the human objective of the activity (object), the tools and mediating artifact, and the outcome in a larger social, historical, or work context. It also enables a multi-focal unit of analysis, with the capability for a granular examination of the situation of an individual person, as well as larger multi-person groups and organizations. Activity system analysis using source team data from the research will be presented. A review of the empirical data and analysis will discuss what can be learned from these methods, and the limitations of today’s methods and tools. What can be learned about factors related to collaboration and situation awareness, in particular, will be discussed, and future research directions in this area will be highlighted.


Exploring Narrative Mapping as a Lens into the Relationship of Team Member Attachment Styles with Team Psychological Safety

Mr. Jonathan Silk, Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology; Ms. Michele Norton, Texas A&M University Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture

This mixed method study explores the connection between a team leaders attachment style and the teams overall level of psychological safety.  In today’s high stake, fast-paced landscape the interpersonal processes and functions of member exchanges on work teams have become increasingly important as organizations compete at an accelerating rate. Attachment science (Bowlby, 1973), the concept of team psychological safety (Edmondson, 1999), and Leader-Member Exchange (Graen &Bien, 1995) provide a lens in which to analyze the interactions of team members in organizations. As more organizations become reliant on the collective power of teams, the ability of a workgroup or team to learn, adapt and innovate rapidly becomes increasingly important. Team Psychological safety has been recognized as a key component of a team’s ability to learn and improve performance (Edmondson, 1999). Leaders and team members have a role in establishing team psychological safety. They serve as attachment figures for their followers and members and can provide a secure, stable, safe environment for growth and development, or they can provide a sense of insecurity which restrains learning (Popper & Mayseless, 2003). There are significant gaps in current conceptions of the relationship between leader attachment styles, leader-member exchange, and team psychological safety and how they impact various team behaviors (Kafetsios, Athanasiadou, & Dimou, 2014).

How leaders and members present themselves as attachment figures, the quality of member to member exchanges, and how those exchanges are monitored in the team all contribute to the team climate and level of psychological safety. To explore the connections among those components, the researchers used a mixed-methods approach to narrative mapping of the teams (Koeslag-Kreunen, Van den Bossche, Hoven, Van der Klink, & Gijselaers, 2018).  Data was collected from a survey on attachment styles and team psychological safety. This data was then analyzed to gain preliminary insight into the individuals on the team and their perceptions of the team’s psychological safety. Using insights from the survey, the researchers conducted semi-structured interviews to gain qualitative insight into the member to member exchanges and team climate. For analysis, the researchers constructed narrative maps of the team, based on their quantitative data from the survey and the qualitative data from the interviews.  Preliminary results from this exploratory study show the mixed-method approach to narrative mapping provided useful insights into the team climate, especially in identifying the individual’s attachment styles and the resulting member to member interactions that seem to impact psychological safety. This research extends attachment theory, team psychological safety theory, and leader-member exchange theory, by exploring the relationship between leader attachment styles and the level of team psychological safety. The topic is relevant for team dynamics as the ability to effectively manage relationships in a team context is crucial in establishing a safe climate for workgroups and teams to explore, learn, and innovate.

SciTS Presentation: Exploring Narrative Mapping as a Lens into the Relationship of Team Member Attachment Styles with Team Psychological Safety


An Evaluation of Researcher Motivations and Productivity Outcomes in International Research Teams at a U.S. Research-intensive University.

Dr. Jane Payumo, Michigan State University; Dr. Danna Moore, Washington State University; Dr. Prema Arasu, North Carolina State University

This paper examines factors that influence faculty at a research-intensive U.S. public land grant university to engage in international research teams and partnerships. We investigated using a mixed-mode (web, mail and telephone) survey, and collected data from 764 researchers from a US university to provide a baseline and current context of demographic characteristics, motivations, barriers, and academic outcomes in relation to international research partnerships and collaboration. Our results suggest that funding, reduced organizational and institutional barriers, effective institutional support, previous global experience and tangible research outcomes can encourage faculty to engage in forming and maintaining international research teams. We also found that faculty involved in international research teams, on average, exhibit higher productivity and a positive correlation with scholarly output, especially through joint publications and student training. The results of this study may provide a reference for national organizations and higher education institutions interested in optimizing their internationalization agendas and examining their policies, research evaluation strategies and messaging to increase faculty engagement in international team science formation.

SciTS Presentation: Faculty Perspectives on International Research Collaborations (IRC) - Case Study: Washington State University


Can We Really use Bibliometrics to Rorm Research Teams?

Mr. Timothy Gawne, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Ms. Kathryn Knight, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dr. Moody Altamimi, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dr. Jane Payumo, Michigan State University

Bibliometrics is widely used as an evaluation tool for research performance, and prospective decision making related to research and development (R&D). In many R&D organizations, bibliometric analysis complemented with other important information, is used to assess research performance and productivity of individual researchers and the organization as a whole. In this paper, we examine whether bibliometric information can be used to setup research teams and collaboration. We identify which types of bibliometric measures can be useful in building and enhancing a research team. We also present here some of the important gaps and challenges we encountered, including some strategies when using bibliometric data for forming teams and enhancing the research network in specific disciplines. Finally, we offer some guidance around providing bibliometrics data and insights for research teams formation at the individual, group, and organization levels.

SciTS Presentation: Can we really use bibliometrics to form research teams?


Multiple Team Identities: A Person-By-Team Interaction Perspective

Dr. Tammy L. Rapp, Ohio University

It is increasingly common that employees simultaneously work on multiple teams (i.e., MTM, multiple team memberships). Although scholars recognize that individuals may develop identities with multiple teams (O’Leary et al., 2011) and agree that individuals often develop distinct identities with multiple targets, (organization, department, team; Ashforth & Mael, 1989), little research explores the notion of multiple simultaneous team identities. Research demonstrates that identifying with a team has powerful effects on individual team members’ behavior, attitudes, and performance (Ashforth & Mael, 1989). Yet, we know little about identity-related phenomena when individuals belong to multiple teams.

Drawing from social identity theory, we utilize logic grounded in identity motives (Vignoles et al., 2006) and motive-feature match (Riketta, 2008) to argue that the strength of individuals’ multiple team identities will be a function of the match between individuals’ cognitive-motivational orientations and features of their teams. First, we offer a set of cross-level, direct effect hypotheses regarding the relationship of team-level characteristics and individuals multiple team identities. More specifically, we examine the role that three team-level factors (team cohesion, team efficacy, and team prestige) play in determining multiple team identities in a MTM context. These represent team characteristics that align with three of the primary drivers of social identity (Vignoles et al., 2006) – belongingness (cohesion), efficacy (team efficacy) and distinctiveness (team prestige). We argue that these factors serve to make some team memberships more compelling aspects of one’s identity, thereby influencing their identification per team membership. Second, we adopt a person-by-situation perspective and apply the social identity concept of motive-feature match (Riketta, 2008) to argue that individuals’ cognitive-motivational orientations will interact with team characteristics to influence their multiple team identities. A core tenet of motive-feature match theory is that individuals’ social identities will be strongest when individual motives and contextual (e.g., team) features match. Accordingly, we argue that individuals’ cognitive-motivational orientations will interact with team features such that team identities will be the strongest when there is a match between individual and team features.

To test our  hypotheses, we utilize data collected from an information technology firm. The sample included 96 individuals who were members of 82 teams, and were assigned to an average of 3.33 teams. We adopted an unconventional perspective by viewing multiple teams as nested within an individual. Because individuals were not cleanly nested in teams in the conventional manner, these data are best characterized as cross-classified (i.e., individuals’ per team memberships are cross-classified by individuals and teams). To properly accommodate this dual nesting we employed cross-classified random effect models to conduct our analyses. Results largely support our hypotheses.

This study contributes to MTM literature in a several ways. First, we provide initial evidence that team features drive individuals’ multiple team identities in MTM contexts. Second, we demonstrate the identities individuals develop with their multiple teams are a complex function of individual and team characteristics. This study answers calls to investigate multiple identities in MTM arrangements and offers a foundation for future work to uncover the complex drivers of multiple team identities.

SciTS Presentation: