Setting the tone: early interaction patterns in swift starting teams as a predictor of effectiveness

F.R.H. Zijlstra, M. Waller, S Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Many organizations rely on the functioning of teams. In this study we focus on swift-starting teams-that is, ad hoc teams formed for immediate task performance, such as emergency or rescue teams or aviation crews, with highly trained members who have generally not previously worked together as a team. Previous research suggests that teams develop task performance capability over time, but that stable patterns of interaction in teams emerge very quickly. We suggest that these interaction patterns help swift starting teams engage in immediate task performance. In particular, we hypothesize that effective teams will exhibit more interaction patterns, but fewer unique patterns, than less effective teams. We describe an observational study of 18 swift-starting aviation crews. Our results identify the early emergence of specific interaction patterns and indicate significant differences between the patterns of effective and ineffective crews. The effective teams in our sample exhibited patterns that were more stable in duration, more stable in complexity, and more reciprocal as compared to those of less effective teams. We close with implications for work on team interaction, and suggestions for future research and team trainers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-777
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume21
Issue number5
Early online date24 Sep 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Aviation crews
  • BEHAVIOR
  • Behavioral patterns
  • COMMUNICATION
  • CREW RESOURCE-MANAGEMENT
  • DECISION-MAKING
  • DYADS
  • ENTRAINMENT
  • GROUP-PERFORMANCE
  • MODEL
  • Swift-starting teams
  • TIME
  • Team effectiveness
  • Team interaction
  • WORK TEAMS

Cite this