Week 12 Team Selection Work Group Characteristics And Effectiveness Readings: Barry, B., & Stewart, G. L. (1997). Composition, process, and performance in

Week 12 Team Selection Work Group Characteristics And Effectiveness Readings:

Barry, B., & Stewart, G. L. (1997). Composition, process, and performance in self-managed teams: The role of personality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 62-78.

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Jones, R. G., Stevens, M. J., & Fischer, D. L. (2000). Staffing in team contexts. In J. F. Kehoe (Ed.), Managing selection in changing organizations. (pp. 210-241). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

**Campion, M.A., Medsker, G.J., & Higgs, A.C. (1993). Relations between work group characteristics and effectiveness: Implications for designing effective work groups. Personnel Psychology, 46, 823-850.


With the reductions in workforce during the last two decades, both as a result of “downsizing” and as a result of demographic changes, many companies have placed their hopes on team structures as more efficient ways of accomplishing organizational goals. Amazingly, there is still a shortage of research concerning team selection. That is, this is one area where more research is needed, if you’re interested…

In their chapter, Jones, Stevens, and Fischer (2000) tried to shed some light on problems of staffing teams during transitions and for intact teams. Their first working title for the chapter was “Staffing A Moving Target”, since teams change in important ways during their life cycles. They also wrote the chapter as a “reference” so that practitioners could use the index and reference list to help make important decisions about how to do their jobs when confronted with “team staffing” problems. However, you will see that there are still many questions raised which the current Principles for Validation don’t address. So, this is really a “new” problem in many practitioners’ experiences.

Important terms:

Team, members, tasks, and tools, task work, team work, and representation, heterogeneity, levels of analysis, sociometric selection, team work analysis


Please answer any two of the following questions. This assignment is worth 15 points – 7.5 points per question.

1.Define the term “work team” according to Jones, Stevens, and Fischer (2000). How would you identify a work team, according to these authors?

2.Try to identify a difference between staffing teams and staffing for individual positions. Use the Heneman & Judge model of the staffing process to inform your answer.

3.Barry and Stewart (1997) chose personality as their construct of interest in examining team selection. What other constructs might you choose and why? How would you measure these constructs?

4.Several years ago, Barrick et al. (1998) defined the criteria for teams as “performance” and “viability”. Performance is the extent to which the team accomplishes what is expected of it and viability is whether the team is likely to stay together of lose people. How might the stage of the team’s “
life cycle”, as defined by Jones et al., affect the emphasis placed on each of these criteria? Be sure to define the three life cycle stage in your answer.

5.How does teamwork relate to contextual performance? In what ways is team selection similar to selecting for individuals who would likely be high contextual performers? Think about construct-method distinction as you answer this. Staffing in team contexts
Robert G. Jones
Southwest Missouri State University
Michael J. Stevens
Psychological Associates
Donald L. Fischer
Southwest Missouri State University
Chapter in Kehoe, J. (Ed.), Managing Selection in Changing Organizations. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 2000.
Selecting teams requires consideration of problems which are not commonly considered
in individual selection practice. Teams are often used to provide flexibility in rapidly changing
environments and to relieve organizations from expending some resources on individual
manager selection, development, and compensation. By extension, teams themselves need to be
able to adapt and shape themselves according to changing demands. Among the abilities likely to
be important in these circumstances are the ability of members to think strategically, to
understand and account for each others= differences, to communicate ideas and other information
effectively, and to negotiate collective courses of action efficiently. Thus, among other things,
selection for teams involves taking into account the same sorts of skills that people need in order
to get along with people who are culturally and psychologically different from themselves.
However, describing Amiddle level@ constructs that adequately cover these general skills for the
purpose of selection is complicated by the dynamism of team behavior and by the multiple roles
taken by team members over time. As will be seen in this chapter, the implication of this is that
approaches to team selection are somewhat different from traditional individual selection.
Teams are dynamic social structures (McGrath, Berdahl, & Arrow, 1995; Donnelly,
1996; Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1997). Central to this dynamism are the changing roles taken on
by team members over time. In fact, there is evidence that, in the course of accomplishing
organizational goals, team members engage in negotiations over role definition (Donnelly, 1996;
Feldman, 1984; Gabarro, 1987; Jones & Lindley, 1998; Mohrman & Mohrman, 1997;
Northcraft, Polzer, Neale, & Kramer, 1995; Walsh, Henderson, & Deighton, 1988), with
predictable performance enhancement for teams that manage to clarify their roles (Salas, Mullen,
Rozell, & Driskell, 1997; Walsh et al, 1988). Such role definition may include negotiation of
who performs what tasks, how they perform them, what tasks will be performed, and even what
organizational goals to pursue.
While the extent of team self-management makes some of these role-defining decisions
more or less relevant, it seems quite likely that newly-constituted teams require different member
behaviors than teams in transition or well-established teams. These different behaviors, of
course, imply the need for different member skills. For example, a newly constituted task force
may engage in long and conflict-laden discussions about which organizational goals define
criteria for effective completion of its assigned task. Later, the task force may be more concerned
with whether individuals have successfully completed their individual component tasks. The
point here is not that these tasks are both performed, or that they focus on team and individual
levels of analysis, respectively. It is that they are done at different points in the team=s life cycle.
This means that different skill sets are required depending on whether the team has yet defined
its role and its members= individual roles.
This aspect of team dynamism has direct implications for selection practices. In this
chapter, we argue that approaches to selection will vary depending on whether selecting for new
teams, groups in the process of making a transition to self-management, or intact high
performing teams. In terms of approaches to selection, teams are therefore moving targets. Under
some circumstances, traditional staffing approaches do make sense; but other circumstances may
alter the nature of the selection process. In addition to the usual consideration of levels of
individual task-related skills, staffing specialists need to consider the breadth of task-related
skills within and across members, individual negotiation skills, job preferences, psychological
heterogeneity among members, and constituent group representation. Beyond this, the actual
process of selection itself may fall to the self-managed work team. This sort of boundary control
(Cummings, 1978; Trist, 1981) or Aempowerment@ of teams to make their own decisions
(Kirkman & Rosen, 1997) requires a partnership with staffing specialists in order to make the
process fair, accurate, and legally defensible.
In this chapter, we will first spend time defining what we mean by a team. In addition to
the usual conceptual problems with defining the team construct, operational definition is
important from a job analysis and needs assessment perspective. Next, selection issues will be
identified for new teams (new teams/new members), transitional teams (old members/new
teamwork), and intact teams (old teams/new members). Next, practical problems of selection
system validation and evaluation will be considered. The chapter concludes with a call for
continued collaboration between academics and practitioners in order to develop broadly
applicable predictor constructs for team selection.
Definitions of teams
Defining the team construct has importance not only to scientists interested in broadly
applicable models, but to practitioners engaged in team selection. This is because construct
definition establishes the boundaries for practitioner activities and identifies issues important to
the eventual success of selection efforts. For example, selection for maintenance crews may have
very different requirements than selection for task forces; basing task force selection practices on
crew-related constructs may reduce the likelihood of the resulting selection program succeeding.
Of course, for both science and practice, definition of team work is a group-level corollary for
individual job analysis: It is an essential early step in staffing. In this section, we will discuss the
parameters of the term Ateam@ for all three purposes (broad construct definition, defining
practical boundaries, and team work analysis). It should be noted that traditional job analysis will
be expanded here to include team work analysis, which can be used to identify predictor
constructs for selection system development and evaluation.
Teams versus crews, work groups
There are many definitions of teams. We will discuss several (McGrath et al., 1995;
Saavedra, Earley, & Van Dyne, 1993; Stevens & Campion, 1994) in this section. These
definitions were chosen because the analytic systems from which they are derived provide
practitioners with analytic tools for establishing the likely importance of predictor constructs. For
now, and for lack of a better term, we will use the term Ateam work analysis@ to describe the use
of these analytic systems in place of traditional, individually oriented Ajob analysis.@ This is
because team work analysis encompasses more than task and duty identification. Instead, team
work analysis looks for Acritical levers@ (Tesluk, Mathieu, Zaccaro, & Marks, 1997; Hallam &
Campbell, 1992), which are the underlying factors and arrangements essential to team
performance. The definition of team work and its underlying critical levers in situ is therefore the
object of team work analysis.
McGrath et al. (1995) define teams in terms of the primacy of members, tasks, or tools to
the definition of the group=s work. Their notion is that tasks to be completed are essential to task
forces, while membership and tools for completing tasks are less Adefining@, since these groups
disband when the task is completed. Crews are groups whose work is largely determined by the
technology (tools) that they use to complete their work. Crew members are interchangeable, and
tasks are largely defined by the tools used to accomplish them. Unlike crews and task forces,
membership in teams is more or less permanent, and the completion of their work relies largely
on the members= characteristics, rather than tools (Arrow, 1998). In essence, team members
develop interactions and expectations of each other that can be thought of as a human technology
to complete tasks. Thus, teams are work groups whose membership is essential to the effective
completion of some ongoing work (tasks using tools).
Saavedra et al. (1993) used a system for describing interdependencies of work groups
based on task interdependence, goal interdependence, and feedback interdependence. Their
definition of teams is based largely on the extent to which a work group is task interdependent.
In terms of task interdependence, teams are defined as groups that have Asimultaneous and multidirectional work flows,@ such that Amembers jointly diagnose, problem solve, and collaborate to
complete a task@ (Saavedra et al., 1993, p. 63). This excludes groups with other types of task
interdependencies (e.g. sequential work flow) from the definition of Ateam@. On the face of it,
this sort of exclusionary definition appears too limiting. However, since these authors beg the
question of what is the Awork@ of a team, broader definition is possible.
In addition to McGrath et al.=s (1995) mapping of team work into both tasks and the tools
used to accomplish these tasks, other authors (Altman, 1966; Stevens & Campion, 1994;
Gehrlein & Dipboye, 1992; Tesluk et al, 1997) have evolved means for classifying team work.
As an illustration at the most general level, Stevens & Campion (1994; in press) distinguish
between taskwork and teamwork, from which they derive more specific predictor constructs (see
Klimoski, 1993). This is illustrative in the sense that the work of teams includes more than
simply completing some set of individually-performed tasks. Instead, there are additional
coordination (Bowers, Brown, & Morgan, 1997) and Ainterpersonal facilitation@ (Van Scotter &
Motowidlo, 1996) aspects of team work. Using this to inform Saavedra et al=s definition, the
extent to which work group members depend on one another for information, ideas, social
support, or any number of other sorts of teamwork, they can be referred to as teams, even if their
taskwork is less interdependent.
Teams are therefore identifiable by the interdependency and relative permanence of their
membership. Team interdependence includes teamwork (coordination and support) components,
as well as task-related interdependency. Since the essence of management is the interdependence
of two parties for the completion of a piece of work, teams are also, by definition self-managing.
Unlike crews, membership in teams is not easily interchangeable, which of course has enormous
implications for selection decisions, as we will see. Teams also fulfill ongoing functions (as
opposed to Aone shot@ task forces), though this distinction is less important with respect to
staffing decisions.
There are perhaps more commonalities of teams defined in this way and task forces. A
particular concern for task forces that has largely been ignored in understanding team staffing is
the need for appropriate representation (Cascio, 1995; Klimoski & Jones, 1995). Specifically,
task forces may be constituted with members from critical constituencies, such as departments,
functional specialties, or labor representatives. Whether representational issues are important to
teams remains an important question. But there are several reasons to believe that it may make a
difference. A few of these include the need for functional liaisons (e.g. people with affiliations in
marketing and engineering), the need for symbolic (as well as substantive) expertise for purposes
of credibility (see Whitmore, 1985; Henry, 1995), the need to equalize potential power
differentials in empowered teams (Donnellon, 1996), and the tendency of external allegiances to
influence group decisions (Klimoski & Ash, 1974). We will assume that, under certain
circumstances, representation is likely to be important, in addition to taskwork and teamwork
components of team effectiveness.
In the next section, we will consider taskwork/teamwork/representation requirements to
elaborate selection decision-making for teams at different points in their establishment.
Individual characteristics that support taskwork and teamwork will be considered, in addition to
key representation. These requirements are summarized in Table 1.
Forming new teams with new members
Staffing new teams with new members is probably not a very common event, at least for
groups that are defined using the McGrath et al (1995) and Saavedra et al. (1993) definitions.
However, staffing teams with a more or less simultaneously assembled group with little or no
knowledge of one another is probably common enough that some guidance would be helpful.
Furthermore, many of the issues we identify for new teams may also hold for task forces, which
are of course fairly common work groups. In particular, these are groups with important
member-specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), as well as general interpersonal KSA
requirements. In addition, representation issues may be important in newly constituted teams.
———————————————–Table 1 about here
———————————————–Task work competencies
Skill depth and breadth are all likely to affect team effectiveness. Consistent with the
considerable literature on team self management (e.g. Hackman, 1987; Campion, Medsker, &
Higgs, 1993; Janz, Colquitt, & Noe, 1997), team empowerment usually involves some form of
job enrichment. This involves developing or establishing broad skills within individuals in the
work group. So, in addition to making sure that at least one member of the team has essential
task competencies (depth of skills), it is likely that selection for new teams will involve finding
people with multiple relevant task-related KSAs. Also, selection systems might incorporate the
ability in team members to instruct each other in, and develop procedural skills with each other.
In this way, the usual costs of training can be reduced by providing team members the internal
skills required to train one another (see Manz & Sims, 1993). At least as important, this approach
establishes a considerable self-management component (inter-training) from the very start of the
team=s life.
There are also some good reasons to expect that initial individual preferences regarding
various types of relevant taskwork will have an impact on team effectiveness. Beyond individual
motivational effects of preferences, new teams with broad within-member KSAs will be required
to negotiate the tasks which individuals would like to perform or not perform (Graen, 1976). For
example, in a research team where all members are able to perform all tasks, some members will
enjoy developing research protocols, others will prefer collecting evidence, and others may enjoy
data analytic aspects of the team=s taskwork. These preferences are likely to find their way into
the role negotiation process in several ways. Perhaps most obvious is the tendency of people to
negotiate their roles according to personal preferences. This may not always be desirable, as in
the case of a less able person being placed in a role that they prefer over a more able person with
less of a preference for that type of work. Awareness of such preferences and deliberately
weighing them against abilities would therefore be a useful selection strategy.
A less obvious reason for taking preferences into account may occur where a particular
taskwork KSA set is held by only one or two incumbents initially. This minority may be called
upon to present a case for a particular role to be enacted, based on their knowledge of this role=s
likely impact on team effectiveness. Minority influence is likely to be greatest where minorities
are consistent and extreme (Wood, Lundgren, Ouellette, Busceme, & Blackstone, 1994), and
such consistency and extremity often require considerable commitment to a view. This is of
course predicated on seeing that role as desirable (a preference) or otherwise important to team
functioning. Thus, individual preferences may play an important role in role negotiation and
ultimate team effectiveness.
Negotiation and interpersonal competencies. Several studies have identified personality
(Barry & Stewart, 1997; Wagner, Neuman, & Christiansen, 1996; Thoms, Moore, & Scott, 1996;
Jordan, Ashkanasy, & Hartel, 1998; Driskell, 1992) and preference (Campion et al, 1993; Eby &
Dobbins, 1995; Loher, Vancouver, & Czajka, 1994) as predictors of team member effectiveness
and team effectiveness. In particular, big five personality characteristics, including neuroticism,
extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness have been shown to relate to individual
performance (Wagner et al., 1996) and self-efficacy beliefs in intact work groups (Thoms et al.,
1996), and to experimental group performance (Barry & Stewart, 1997). Egocentricity (Driskell,
1992) and social intelligence (Jordan et al., 1998) have also shown some promise as a predictors
of team performance. Stated preferences for team work have been shown to relate to team and
individual effectiveness (Eby & Dobbins, 1995; Campion et al., 1993).
While the general notion that certain broad personality characteristics and preferences
should influence team performance has merit, we suggest that a more specific level of construct
definition provides a more behaviorally-relevant basis for prediction. This concept of Alower
level@ constructs is borrowed from Klimoski (1993), who suggests that broad, general constructs
like personality (very broad level of abstraction) encompass more specific personality constructs
(e.g. the Big Five) and, ultimately, behavioral constructs. Put differently, little of the current
evidence explains why personality characteristics and preferences may influence behaviors and
team processes (Waung & Austin, 1997). Several possibilities deserve consideration. Consistent
with the view of Hollenbeck, LePine, and Ilgen (1996), the role enactment process is an essential
mediator of the personality– team performance relationship.
Following from this, some Alower level@ individual predictor constructs that might
explain team process and performance include:
1. Members= ability and willingness to articulate arguments for a role, or for the
enactment of their preferred role in real time;
2. Willingness to compromise or develop role trade-offs (AI=ll do this less preferred role
for X months, then it will be your turn@) in the interest of shared strategic outcomes;
33. Willingness to place trust or confidence in other team members= abilities to complete
key roles;
4. Emotional competence to maintain perspective on one=s own and others= emotional
responses during conflict-laden role negotiations.
Some of these are of course consistent with the existing literature on broader personality and
preference predictors. For example, the extent to which people are willing to compromise and
trust others relate to the personality predictor agreeableness (Costa & McCrae, ; 1988; 1992;
Hollenbeck, et al. 1996). In addition, Smith-Jentsch, Salas, & Baker (1996) have shown some
support for the first proposition. Similarly, two studies (McKenna & McHenry, 1992; Waung &
Austin, 1997) have provided some support for the second and third, and Jordan et al (1998) for
the fourth predictor construct in team settings.
Since teams are self managing, some of the same individual characteristics that predict
management success may also predict team success. For example, given that negotiation
processes are likely to be important to team success, conflict resolution skills that have been
shown to predict managerial performance may also be important to team success (Olsen-
Buchanan, Drasgow, Moberg, Mean, Keenan, & Donovan; 1998). Fur…
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