Description: Think of the last time you worked in a group, perhaps as part of a class project. If there was one group member in charge of the group, how did their behaviour towards individual members of the group and the group as a whole effect overall group performance as well as the feelings of individual group members? This article suggests the answer this question is somewhat complicated.
Source: North Carolina State University. “Business leaders should re-think how they treat team members, research suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2015.
Date: November 4, 2015
Links: Article Link — www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151104120811.htm
Workplace settings often involve the formation and ongoing functioning of teams. An increasingly large body of research both in social psychology and in industrial organizational psychology exam and the factors that influence team performance as well as the commitment of individual team members to team success. This study looked specifically at the role of managers in setting up and maintaining optimal group performance. Specifically the study examined the extent to which managers treated individual team members differently based on their levels of competence or ability as well as looking at the sorts of things that managers did to treat the team equally as a cohesive unit. The researchers suggest that neither strategy alone is sufficient for maintaining optimal group performance, and that successful managers need to work to find a balance between treating team members differentially based on their performance and abilities and treating the group as a whole in an equitable manner. The researchers also found that this balancing act becomes more complicated when one factors in cultural variability in such things as “power distance orientation” which is a reflection of how comfortable individual team members are with their being significant differences in the amount of power held by team members and managers. Basically teams from countries with cultures supporting higher power distance are more acceptable of larger levels of differential treatment amongst group members.
Questions for Discussion:
- Thinking about situations where you are involved in group projects how have you worked to balance general group focus and attention to the performances of individual group members?
- What sort of advice might you offer to managers for overseeing the work of teams of employees that may need to work together for long periods of time?
- Can you think of situations in your own experience that have reflected differences in people’s assumptions about power distance, or about the idea that people have different levels of power in group or team situations?
References (Read Further):
Yang Sui, Hui Wang, Bradley L. Kirkman, Ning Li. Understanding the Curvilinear Relationships between LMX Differentiation and Team Coordination and Performance. Personnel Psychology, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/peps.12115