AN OVERVIEW OF
Cheryl L. Harris
What Is Team Effectiveness?
Hackman (as cited by Weil, 1995) cites three useful measures for team effectiveness. The
measuring standards are 1)productive output that meets or exceeds standards, 2) social processes
that maintain or enhance the capability of members to work together on team tasks, and 3) group
experience that satisfies personal needs of group members (Weil, 1995). According to Cohen,
Ledford, and Spreitzer (1996), work team effectiveness is defined as both high performance and
employee quality of work life. The idea draws from sociotechnical theory, which states that both
social and technical systems must be ...view middle of the document...
According to Mohrman, Cohen & Mohrman, Jr.,
(1995) team effectiveness is based on team performance, which is the extent to which the groups'
productive output meets the approval of customers, interdependent functioning, which is the
extent to which the team is inter-reliant on one another, and team satisfaction, which is the extent
to which the team is satisfied with team membership.
Tannenbaum, Beard & Salas (as cited by Tannenbaum et al. 1996) created a model in 1992 to
describe Team Effectiveness. This model is depicted in Figure 2. As shown in the model, team
Team Effectiveness 2
effectiveness is seen in terms of inputs, throughputs, and outputs, with contextual characteristics
in the background. Inputs include task characteristics, work structure, individual characteristics,
and team characteristics. Throughputs include team processes and team interventions. The
throughputs are the way the team interacts while converting inputs to outputs. Outputs include
team changes, team performance, and individual change-all of which are indicators of team
effectiveness. The contextual characteristics apart from the team are composed of organizational
and situational components (Tannenbaum, Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 1996).
Components Necessary for Team Effectiveness
Kellett (1993) conducted a study comparing the group processes of effective and less effective
work teams. Team effectiveness data was collected through member perceptions and expert
raters (identified by the team). Team processes were measured by each team member
completing West's Climate for Innovation questionnaire and Litwin and Stringer's Motivation
Climate questionnaire. Results concluded that effective teams had 1)a more dramatic style of
decision making, with decisions made in a forum which was interpersonally non-threatening,
with encouragement of diverse thinking which facilitates more participation by members, 2)
clearly defined and mapped out objectives with active engagement in setting goals and agreeing
to objectives by the members, 3) an open attitude for change, 4) a shared concern for excellence
in completing the task, 5) continued evaluation of performance, and 6) an intentional avoidance
of "groupthink" in which team members tend to adopt a conforming, non-divergent pattern of
thinking, 7) active work-related support, and 8) a recognition of the importance of risk-taking
Less effective teams tended to be over structured, with too many constraints on the way the
teams were allowed to go about their work. More effective teams had minimized red-tape and
lacked emphasis on formal organization and authority. An unexpected finding in Cohen, Ledford
and Spreitzer's (1996) study indicated no difference between effective and non-effective teams in
relation to levels of interpersonal warmth.
An effective team has high levels of integration and coordination. Members of effective teams
believe in their own efficacy. Individuals possess...