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A Cognitive Motivational Model of Team Effectiveness – Implications for Team Development L.J. Purvis (Millward) 1 and O. Kyriakidou 2 1: Department of.

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Presentation on theme: "A Cognitive Motivational Model of Team Effectiveness – Implications for Team Development L.J. Purvis (Millward) 1 and O. Kyriakidou 2 1: Department of."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Cognitive Motivational Model of Team Effectiveness – Implications for Team Development L.J. Purvis (Millward) 1 and O. Kyriakidou 2 1: Department of Psychology, School of Human Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK 2: School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, Gu2 7XH, UK Team Work Team working is becoming an increasingly popular means of organising. The need to compete in a global market has created several organizational imperatives: to increase flexibility and innovation potential. The team – a flatter, more malleable and mobile structure – is, alongside advanced information technologies, often presented as the panacea solution for ensuring both these objectives. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Despite fifty or so years of research into teams, we still do not know much about what makes for an effective team. Most of the team literature is rhetorical and prescriptive. What constitutes a team is also by no means a non-problematic issue. It is possible, for instance, for a team to exist across multiple time zones and for its operations to be conducted purely electronically. What does this imply for the concept of team and effective team work? There is little theory, some taxonomic-type modelling but little research and almost no reference to the abundant highly theoretically informed literature on group processes. What is an effective team or what makes for an effective team? Attempts to address the question of what is an effective team? have produced answers that presuppose an ideal team prototype focusing on observable behaviours and processes. This assumes that team behaviour can be identified that is effective in an absolute sense across all contexts and situations. However, a good football team is not one that necessarily has good dribbling and passing skills but one that can apply different skills depending on its opponents and the needs of the game. An effective team is thus surely one that can respond flexibly to task demands and contextual changes. Accordingly, more recent approaches to team effectiveness have moved away from the behavioural focus to try to understand teamwork at a cognitive level. Varney (1989) 1 talks of the underlying cognitive causes of team behaviour, such as role awareness and considerations of others perspectives and skills, which are independent of context. He suggests that if these causes are managed properly, the team can correct its behaviour, exhibiting the appropriate teamwork behaviour for a given situation. A number of other researchers have reached a similar that good teams monitor their performance and self-correct, anticipate each others actions or needs and coordinate their actions 2 3. The question to ask then is perhaps more appropriately what makes for an effective team? Cognitive Underpinnings of Effective Teamwork Cannon-Bower et al (1990) 2 argue that the ability of a team to self-regulate and coordinate itself assumes that individual members share a mental model of the task and of the team in relation to the task. With regard to teamwork, practice and experience facilitate the development of cognitive representations of the team task (including task procedures and strategies, likely constraints, contingencies and scenarios), the team (including team mate knowledge, skills, abilities, preferences and tendencies) and of team interaction (including roles, team interaction). Where members representations (of task, team and team interaction) overlap, members can predict and anticipate the needs and contributions of their members. This approach does not in itself however, explain how teams self-regulate or motivate themselves. Meta-Cognitive and Motivational Underpinning of Effective Teamwork Here we propose a model of team effectiveness incorporating not only the idea of shared mental model, but also addressing the meta-cognitive and motivational aspects of team functioning. The model suggests that in order for a team to self-regulate, it must have a sound knowledge of itself (its roles, objectives, strengths, weaknesses) and be able to reflect upon and review its knowledge and practises, as a prerequisite to behavioural refinement or correction. This process requires not just a shared mental model but cognitions at a self-reflexive meta-level 4. It also requires a motivational impetus. Two aspects of team motivation can be postulated: identity and potency. The identity of the individual is effected by whether the individual is proud to be part of the team such that self- concept and esteem will be related to team success (implying therefore that team success takes precedence over individual success). Potency, on the other hand, is the collective belief that the team can succeed and be effective in global terms 5. Cognitive approaches to understanding teamwork are gaining status as it becomes clear that team interventions based upon identifying and changing behaviours have limited impact 6 (Figure 1). This is because behaviour is situation, task and individual specific. By examining the cognitive factors enabling team behaviour, especially its adaptability and flexibility, one can identify the variables that are constant across different situations and upon which pervasive, long-term interventions can be based (Figure 2). Figure 1 The Traditional Process Model of Team Effectiveness and its Implications for Team Building Focus Figure 2 The Cognitive Motivational Model of Team Effectiveness and its Implications for Team Building Focus References 1 Varney, G. (1989). Building Productive Teams: An Action Guide and Resource Book. Jossey-Brown, London. 2 Cannon-Bowers, J., Salas, E., & Converse, S. (1990). Cognitive Psychology and Team Training: Training Shared Mental Models of Complex Systems. Human Factors Society. 32, Zsambok, C.E., & Klein, G. (1997). Naturalistic Decision Making. Lawrence Erlbaum associates, Hillsdale, N.J. 4 Yzerbyt, V.Y., Lories, G., & Dardenne, B. (1998). Metacognition: Cognitive and Social Dimensions. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks. 5 Guzzo, R.A., Yust, P.R., Campbell, R.J., & Shea, E.P. (1993). Potency in groups: Articulating a Construct. British Journal of Social Psychology. 32, Tannenbaum, S., Beard, R., & Salas, E. (1992). Team building and its influence on team effectiveness: an examination of conceptual and empirical development. In Issues, Theory, and Research in Industrial/Occupational Psychology: Advances in Psychology (Kelley, K. Ed.). Jossey Bass, San Francisco. Pp Millward (Purvis), L.J. & Jeffries, N. (2001). The team survey: a tool for health care team development. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 35(2) Conceptual Applicability The model applies to all types of team, whether stable and concrete with a physical presence in the here and now, ad hoc in membership (changing membership depending on the task) or virtual, existing primarily at a psychological level. Validity Considerations All postulated constructs have validity in their own right, with their own empirical history and forms of measurement. Their importation into our understanding of effective teamwork within the cognitive-motivational model is not to dissociate any of the constructs from their original use. On the contrary, the model integrates and builds on the literature from which each of the constructs are derived. As a model of effective teamwork however, the relational rules between each construct do require clarification and investigation. Some initial validation work has been, and is still being undertaken using the Team Survey as a potential measurement tool 6 7. In particular, research is required to test both the explanatory and predictive power of the Cognitive-Motivational Model. Operational Implications for Team Development FACTORS THAT WILL PROMOTE TEAM FOCUS AND ORIENTATION Knowledge of team function and contribution to wider organizational goals, of teams and what makes them tick, including the benefits of teamwork. Establishment of perceptions of cooperative interdependence among team members by setting up behavioural imperatives (by task organization, super-ordinate goals and the way the team is rewarded). The establishment of a salient team categorisation and meaningful team identity by establishing a win/lose (competitive interdependence at the team level) or win/win inter- group orientation (cooperative interdependence as in the partnership model), facilitating the development of positive team distinctiveness, and importance or prestige, and the development of a team ideology or sense of mission (promoted by goal setting), and facilitating recall and documentation of prior team achievement or success, not only to achieve a sense of continuity but to heighten collective self-esteem and confidence in its ability to succeed in the future. The establishment of salient personal goals in connection with team goals which members accept and to which they are committed. Role clarification may be part and parcel of raising accountability perceptions. TEAM COMPETENCE CAN BE DEVELOPED BY:- Providing a forum in which the team can develop an explicit and realistic knowledge of itself as a team. Providing a forum in which the team can develop self-regulatory skills. Providing a forum in which team success experiences can be recalled and/or created. Summary and Conclusions A Cognitive-Motivational Model of team effectiveness is postulated that:- Focuses on the cognitive-motivational causes of team effectiveness rather than team processes and behaviours per se. Explains how a team can adjust itself appropriately to situational requirements, self- regulate and monitor its own success in meeting constantly changing task and team demands. Is applicable to any type of team including ad hoc (constantly changing) and virtual teams. Attempts not only to describe effective team behaviour but also to explain it, thereby introducing theory into an otherwise rather atheoretical and prescriptive literature. That is open to empirical substantiation and validation. That has clear practical implications.


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