Structuring for Team Success: The Interactive Effects of Network Structure and Cultural Diversity on Team Potency and Performance.”
What determines team success? This is the question that many scholars have tried to respond to either through researcher or theorizing. However, compositional and structural theories have so far given a convincing explanation of the major determinants of the success of a team. While compositional theorists are interested in the personal characteristics of the members of the team, structural theorists focus on the nature and degree of interaction amongst team members. Tröster et al. (246) set out to study how the interaction between team diversity and the team’s workflow network influence the confidence of team members (potency) and the productivity (performance) of the team.
In their study, Tröster et al. (246) paid attention to two main aspects of the group’s network structure: density and centralization. The researchers considered density as the degree of interconnectedness of the members of the team and centralization as the level to which one team member remained central to the network operations. Though there were much diversity attributes that the researchers could have considered, they settled on nationality. They believed that participants from different nations would have varying ideas, ways of thinking, and beliefs. The study which involved 91 teams had 456 members who were sampled from 60 countries. The researchers aimed at testing four hypothesis: the performance of the team would be greatest with a moderate degree of centralization, the teams potency varied as the team’s workflow network, the team network density-potency relationship would be stronger in those groups that were more culturally diversified, and the optimum level of team performance would depend on the degree of cultural diversity. The sample was divided into different teams: three that had four members each, four with six members, and 85 teams which were composed of five members. The participants in the sample were of the same average age and were chosen from both genders.
The roster method of data collection was applied, and the design was longitudinal. Online surveys were used to collect data on workflow and team potency in week five and nine respectively. Evaluators also submitted their reports on the performance of the different teams in week 11. The four hypotheses were tested using the cluster option in STATA 12.0 which was preferred because it applies linearization estimates of variance. As the researchers had hypothesized, the centralization of workflow network had an inverted U-shaped relationship, workflow network density had a significant influence the potency of the team and was strongly related to the potency of the team which was more diverse culturally, and teams that maximum performance were those that were more culturally diverse. From this analysis, the study revealed that though dense workflow networks promoted the confidence in the members of the team regarding their ability to carry out a given task, the performance of the group was enhanced by the development of highly centralized networks. Additionally, the study also revealed that the network effects manifest themselves more in diverse groups than in the homogeneous once. Team diversity plays a crucial role in linking the group’s network structure to its potency and performance.
Though there are a variety of factors that influence team performance, workflow network, and diversity in the group are crucial in the group performance. Group diversity may encompass many attributes such as ethnicities, race, gender, and nationalities (Haas 485). A team composed of members of different races and mixed gender is assured of varying ideas (Homroy 3). Cultural differences allude that the members will have undergone different forms of socialization and, thus, may have different ideas and ways of thinking regarding the same activity. When all these ideas are discussed and the best one adopted, the team is assured of performance. However, diversity does not operate in isolation; the characteristics of team workflow have to complement the diversity in the group for performance to be realized. Additionally, the group’s network structure has to be highly interconnected. Well performing teams are those whose members are closely bonded, cohesion in the groups are strong. In such teams, group activities are highly centralized. Every member has a role to play in the team, and the team’s performance is as a result of the efforts of all the members.
In my opinion, the scholars’ findings and conclusions are justified. In densely connected networks, the members of the team have more confidence than in teams where members operate independently. Team members should operate interdependently because all of them aim at fulfilling the team objectives (DeOrtentiis 522). I believe that a team with a high sense of interconnectedness influences the members’ satisfaction. Members can share information and trust which in effect builds their self-confidence and boosts their self-esteem. I am also of the opinion that teams should be heterogeneous. Though some researchers have argued that team diversity results to internal conflicts and slowed decision-making processes (Haas 460), the study by Tröster et al. has demonstrated that team diversity have positive impacts on the team’s performance. However, team diversity is only recommended in a group that has adopted the right workflow networks.
DeOrtentiis, Philip S., et al. “Cohesion and Satisfaction as Mediators of the Team Trust – Team Effectiveness Relationship.” Career Development International18.5 (2013): 521-43. ProQuest. Web. April 2, 2016. file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/out%20(48).pdf
Haas, Hartmut. “How can we Explain Mixed Effects of Diversity on Team Performance? A Review with Emphasis on Context.” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 29.5 (2010): 458-90. ProQuest. Web. April 2, 2016. file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/out%20(47).pdf
Homroy, Swarnodeep, and Kwok Tong Soo. “The Impact of Diversity on Group and Individual Performance.” (2014). Web. April 2, 2016. http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/70971/1/IndividualPerformance.pdf
Tröster, Christian, Ajay Mehra, and Daan van Knippenberg. “Structuring for Team Success: The Interactive Effects of Network Structure and Cultural Diversity on Team Potency and Performance.” Organizational behavior and human decision processes 124.2 (2014): 245. ProQuest. Web. April 2, 2016. file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/129222709_Assignment_2_-_Structuring_for_team_success(1)_1.pdf