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International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

Emerald Article: The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study Barbara Senior, Stephen Swailes

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To cite this document: Barbara Senior, Stephen Swailes, (2004),"The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 Iss: 4 pp. 317 - 333 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17410400410533908 Downloaded on: 10-02-2013 References: This document contains references to 58 other documents Citations: This document has been cited by 12 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com This document has been downloaded 4562 times since 2005. *

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Barbara Senior, Stephen Swailes, (2004),"The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 Iss: 4 pp. 317 - 333 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17410400410533908 Barbara Senior, Stephen Swailes, (2004),"The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 Iss: 4 pp. 317 - 333 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17410400410533908 Barbara Senior, Stephen Swailes, (2004),"The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 Iss: 4 pp. 317 - 333 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17410400410533908

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The dimensions of management team performance: a repertory grid study


Barbara Senior
Higheld House Consultancy, Milton Keynes, UK, and

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Received March 2003 Revised January 2004 Accepted January 2004

Stephen Swailes
University College Northampton, Northampton, UK
Keywords Team management, Performance management, Performance measures Abstract Teamwork is a key feature of work in organisations and a central question in the extensive literature on teams concerns the ways that team performance can be measured. This paper summarises the concept of team performance and, focussing on management teams, reports the results of an extensive study into team members constructions of performance. Factor analysis of data collected through 60 repertory grid structured interviews with members of management teams suggests seven factors that represent team performance. The factors are: team purpose; team organisation; team leadership; team climate; interpersonal relations; team communications; and team composition. An eighth factor, team interaction with the wider organisation, is suggested from theoretical considerations and is included in an eight-factor model of team performance.

Workgroups and teams Social psychology is concerned with the ways that attitudes and behaviour are affected by interactions with others. Group behaviour is a core concern and encompasses how groups take decisions and behave with respect to group members. Groups in organisations are a long-standing topic of interest with classic studies stemming from the work of Follett and Mayo in the 1920s, the Hawthorne studies (Roethlisberger and Dickson, 1939) and the inuential work on groupthink concerning ineffective decision making by groups including those in strategic policy-making situations (Janis, 1972). The concept of work teams, however, is relatively recent although the literatures on groups and teams have much in common and the terms have now become largely interchangeable. Despite the pedigree and the proliferation of work teams in organisations as a modern form of organising, the concept of work teams remains contested and the term is used to describe a wide range of radically different working arrangements (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2001). A group can be considered as, any number of people who (1) interact with one another; (2) are psychologically aware of one another; and (3) perceive themselves to be a group (Schein, 1988, p. 145). Other characteristics of effective workgroups include shared aims and objectives, mutual trust and dependency and decision-making by consensus (Mullins, 2002, p. 477) and the concepts of co-ordination and interdependency, the notion of members adjusting to each other sequentially and simultaneously in order to achieve goals (Baker and
The authors are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful advice and guidance in the preparation of this paper.

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management Vol. 53 No. 4, 2004 pp. 317-333 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1741-0401 DOI 10.1108/17410400410533908

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Salas, 1997, p. 332). Baker and Salas also recognise the need for team members to have specic knowledge and skills. Leadership roles or the means of measuring performance are proposed by Katzenbach and Smith (1993a, p. 113) and factors concerning conict management, trust and feelings (Casey, 1985, pp. 26-7). According to Robbins (1996, p. 348): Work groups (as compared to work teams) have no need or opportunity to engage in collective work that requires collective effort . . . their performance is merely the summation of each group members individual contribution. There is no positive synergy that would create an overall level of performance greater than the sum of the inputs.Luthans (1995, p. 261) view that teams . . . go beyond traditional formal work groups by having a collective, synergistic (the whole is greater than its parts) effect serves to reinforce this view. The concept of synergy is further implied by Hayes (1997, p. 9) who observed, working together, the team is more effective than those same people would be if they were working as individuals. These conceptualisations suggest that what some deem to be teams, others see as groups. However, rather than there being a clear distinction between the groups and teams there appears to be a continuum. At one extreme there are collections of people whose individual efforts combine additively towards achievement of some separate goal. At the other extreme it includes specialised groups of people whose efforts combine synergistically towards the groups particular goals as well as those of the larger organisation. A continuum such as this implies that, as a group develops and moves from the pure groups end of the continuum to the fully developed teams end, skills and characteristics of both individuals and their combined efforts accumulate or strengthen. Katzenbach and Smith (1993b, pp. 91-2) illustrate the group-team continuum using ve reference points. A work group is characterised by no signicant incremental performance need or opportunity to require it to become a team. Members interact to help each person with his/her area of responsibility. The psuedo-team calls itself a team but has no clear sense of purpose and no joint goals or accountability. The potential team has a need to improve performance but needs more clarity about its purpose and more discipline regarding its approaches. The real team is a unit having complementary skills and with a high commitment to purpose and methods. The high performing team has the features of a real team but also has members committed to each others growth and success. The performance continuum suggested by Katzenbach and Smith is J-shaped rather than linear with the psuedo-team delivering the minimum performance for organisations. For the purposes of this paper we are concerned to understand more about the performance of teams as distinct to work groups and, drawing on the literature, we dene a team as a social group perceived as a team by its members and by others familiar with it (from Guzzo and Shea, 1992) and where its members are committed to a common purpose and working approach to which they hold themselves accountable (from Katzenbach and Smith, 1993b). Team performance In the most restricted sense, team performance can be judged in terms of whether or not a team achieves the tasks set for it. Objective measures to assess performance include the number of publications arising from scientic research teams (Payne, 1990), the number of convictions by police ofcers (Brewer et al., 1994), the creation of a new product according to time and resource targets (Bradley and Hebert, 1996) and

reducing operational failures among airline pilots (Mjos, 2002). It is clearly of interest, both to members of a team and the organisation within which it operates, whether a team accomplishes the task set for it or not. However, many teams do not have clear quantiable objectives and even those that do deserve a more complex answer to How are we doing? than one which consists solely of judgements in terms of task-related outputs. The dominant view of team effectiveness has utilised an input-process-output (I-P-O) model. Inputs represent what the team members bring, such as expertise and skills, processes represent social exchange and interaction, and outputs represent ideas, decisions or tangible things. The linear, causal I-P-O model is not the only interpretation, however, as Guzzo and Shea (1992, p. 280) put forward a model in which inputs can affect outputs through processes and also affect outputs directly, that is, reducing the role played by processes. Cohen and Bailey (1997) following a review of team literature also move away from the I-P-O approach by depicting team design factors, such as size, inuencing effectiveness directly and via internal processes, such as conict management, and group psychosocial traits such as shared mental models. Sociotechnical theory (see Guzzo and Shea, 1992, pp. 277-9; Trist, 1981) assumes that any team contains social and technical systems. The technical system concerns the transformation of material into outputs and the social system links the team members with each other and with the technical system. Both systems need to be optimised for high outputs and for positive social experiences and thus sociotechnical theory does not separate social experiences from performance. Other literature on team performance interprets the concept in ways that cover a range of team characteristics and processes (Hackman, 1990). Brannick and Prince (1997, pp. 9-10) observe:
Teams are valued in large part for their outcomes . . . However, outcome measures often contain variance attributable to factors other than teamwork . . . Team process measures may give us a truer picture of team functioning than do outcome measures. Unlike outcome measures, team process measures may shed light on problems encountered by the team and the means to x them. Our position is that a comprehensive measure of team performance needs to contain elements of both process and outcome.

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Similar ideas can be found in Bales (1950) identication of two main types of group activity those which focus on the task and those which focus on the process for achieving the task and in the more recent work by Williams (1996) that uses the terms product and process. These basic distinctions become more complex with the concepts of task reexivity (team objectives, participation in teams, task orientation, support for innovation) and social reexivity (social support within the team, team climate, team support for growth and well-being, methods of conict resolution) used by West (1994) and which he argues are the two fundamental dimensions of team functioning. The interaction of these two dimensions results in what West conceptualises as team outcomes (that is, team effectiveness, mental health, and team viability) that are concerned both with each team member and the long-term survival of the team. Wests depiction of a fully functioning team implies that there is a denite connection between team process factors and team effectiveness. This claim is supported by research with 60 teams of professional workers in the nancial services industry that indicates that work team characteristics such as team processes, the design of team members tasks, the context in which the work takes place, and the

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degree of identity felt by team members with the team are signicantly related to team effectiveness and should be addressed as part of any denition of team performance (Campion and Papper, 1996). Thamhains (1990, p. 13) input-output model of innovative team performance includes variables oriented around three areas; the task, the team members and the organisation as having a direct inuence on team performance. McIntyre and Salas (1995, p. 20) after studying US Navy tactical teams proposed seven people-related critical team behaviours; communication, adaptability, co-operation, acceptance of suggestions or criticism, giving suggestions or criticism, team spirit and morale, and co-ordination. These seven behaviours are underpinned by four principles of team work; monitoring each others performance, giving and accepting feedback, closed-loop communication, and backing-up other team members actions. The specialist military nature of this model may limit its application to work teams, however. This approach is echoed in Canon-Bowers and Salas (1997) separation of individual and team competencies. They suggest that team competencies are about having knowledge, skills and attitudes to deliver effective performance but these are not simply the sum of individual members competencies. For instance, a teams cognitive requirements include bodies of knowledge shared across the team (Canon-Bowers et al., 1993). The theme of diversity of team member characteristics has been emphasised in terms of team member personalities and role preferences (Belbin, 1981, 1993; Margerison and McCann, 1990; Neuman et al., 1999). Hayes (1997, p. 52) noted, a team is unlikely to function well unless its members are able to communicate effectively with one another and unless it is able to get over the interpersonal problems and conicts which arise between individuals. Team members need a balance of skills embracing three distinct areas; technical or functional expertise, problem solving and decision making, and interpersonal skills (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993b). While studies linking composition to performance have produced mixed results, it seems worthwhile for organisations to plan for some changes to team membership to revitalise them (Guzzo and Shea, 1992, p. 301). Organisational context Homans (1950) introduced the idea of group boundaries and of a group environment lying outside the boundary. The environment inuences an external subsystem that includes social relations with others outside the group and thus the groups behaviour. Homans also proposed an internal subsystem that is affected by the external environment via the external sub system. Organisational variables feature in team performance models (e.g. Goodman et al., 1986; Thamhain, 1990) as do, to some extent, inuences stemming from the environment in which an organisation operates. For instance, Yeatts and Hyten (1998) draw attention to the organisations philosophy and culture, the reward systems, and the degree of management support and encouragement. Wheelans (1999, p. 130) observation that teams do not operate in a vacuum and are affected by organisational inuences such as budget cuts, downsizing, and shifts in organisational priorities supports this position. Amongst these contextual variables, an organisations structure and culture are perhaps the most signicant inuences on a teams ability to operate effectively and achieve high performance. A highly mechanistic, rigid bureaucratic form of organisation is less likely to support the concept of formalised team working

let alone the more informal groupings to be found in many more exibly structured organisations. This is a result of task specialisation assigned to individuals and the relative lack of horizontal communication between individuals (Burns and Stalker, 1961) in light of the emphasis given to super-ordinates to co-ordinate others. Morgan (1989) noted that the level of team operation increases across bureaucracies with project teams and task forces, matrix organisations and project-focussed organisations although even a highly bureaucratic organisation has a senior management team. Much depends on the philosophy of the top management and those in middle management who convert the organisations philosophy and strategic intent into operational reality. In essence, this implies that for teams to ourish their existence and mode of working must be supported by the wider organisational culture (Yeatts and Hyten, 1998). Among models of team effectiveness (Hackman, 1988; Janz et al., 1997), Gladstein (1984) grouped determinants of effectiveness under four headings, group composition, group structure, resources available and aspects of the organisational structure. These inputs are thought to affect performance directly and indirectly after mediation by group processes (Guzzo and Shea, 1992, p. 294). Stott and Walker (1995) proposed a four-factor framework of team performance that emphasises task-related variables as well as process and structural variables at the individual, team and organisational levels. In addition, variables are associated, not only with cognitive and practical skills, but also with attitudes and behaviour. The models of team effectiveness summarised here have been developed across a range of contexts including work organisations, military settings and laboratory or experimental studies. The different contexts can be used to explain the differing emphases given to variables, the different relationships that variables have with each other and their causal links to effectiveness. While the I-P-O model is attractive the allocation of variables to the three stages is not always clear and there is overlap between the concepts of team processes and team effectiveness. For work teams without clear quantiable outputs this review suggests that team performance criteria should take account of: . the thinking, attitudes, behaviours, skills and roles of individual team members; . the goals or purposes of the team, including goal setting, goal clarity, goal commitment, as well as goal achievement; . team processes such as the generation of ideas, decision making, management of conict and controversy, style of communication, allocation and coordination of responsibilities, action planning, leadership style; and . the organisational context in terms of structure, culture, management and reward systems. Measures of team performance We examined the literature for measures of team performance, other than purely objective ones, to see what theoretical bases they had. The measures found were the Team Development SurveyTM (TDSTM) (Hallam and Campbell, 1997), the group development questionnaire (Wheelan and Hochberger, 1996) and the team climate inventory (Anderson and West, 1998), all of which claim bases in theory, practice and thorough psychometric testing. However, the basic properties of the TDS appear

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questionable given that the median scale reliability was 0.69 (hence half of the scales have reliability below the normal threshold acceptability of 0.70) with correlation among scale scores low (Hallam and Campbell, 1997, p. 166). Wheelan and Hochbergers questionnaire concentrates on identifying the different stages of a teams development and consequently not performance itself. The Team Climate Inventory, while an excellent instrument, concentrates more on what Baker and Salas (1997) termed teamwork as opposed to taskwork. Indeed, Anderson and West (1998, p. 236) refer to the TCI as a measure of proximal work group climate with its focus entirely on innovation in teams. It includes little on team leadership and as Wilson and Forrester (1999) observed there is a tendency to concentrate on team climate factors and focus less on factors such as organisational context themes that feature in the team performance literature. Hence, no general-purpose team performance measure was identied and nothing specically related to management teams was found. The preceding review has taken a generic view of work teams and proposed several dimensions of team performance. It seems plausible that the dimensions of team performance have different weightings across teams of differing types with different performance expectations. To contribute to an understanding of the components of team performance we now present the results of a study that explored the meaning of performance among management teams in work organisations. Method Data collection and analysis Our approach to investigating management team performance relies on an inductive method repertory grid technique (Dainty, 1991; Gammack and Stephens, 1994; Gofn, 2002). Repertory grid technique was used rstly to elicit team performance constructs from team members and secondly to use these as a means of representing team performance. Repertory grid method allowed team members to construe in their own words what team performance meant for them in relation to their teams unique context. It is based on the notion that individuals make sense of their world by construing what they see and experience using words that they naturally use and which make sense to them in terms of their own personal constructs (Kelly, 1963). Repertory grid data were analysed using specialist software (principal components analysis was undertaken with the grid analysis programme) that indicated how the different constructs elicited by the technique grouped together and how they related to each other. Distances between constructs are reported by grid analysis programme and statistical indicators are produced showing the likelihood that constructs appear near each other by chance. Cognitive maps were drawn from the results for each team and a process of comparison and reduction was used to group constructs with similar meaning together into smaller sets of construct clusters. Repertory grid technique requires participants to compare and contrast different elements relevant to the purpose of the study. Elements are used as the objects of peoples thoughts (Stewart and Stewart, 1981, p. 210) and can be people or objects. Because of the focus on team performance, logic dictated that any team performance assessment tool should be able to distinguish between high and low performing teams. Hence, the elements chosen included a good (high performing) team, a bad (low performing) team and an OK team, i.e. one in between low and high performing. To assist the elicitation of constructs it is helpful to include elements that are removed

from the main focus but which are close enough to the others to be rated along with them. These additional elements act as metaphors or analogies for the entity under investigation, in this case a management team, and help to loosen-up the thinking of team members. To achieve this a well-acted play and a badly-acted play were included as elements. The nal element included was a team of which each interviewee was a member but not the one being investigated. Prior to the grid interviews, members of a team were seen together to explain the purpose of the research and to give team members the opportunity not to participate in the research although everyone participated. Subsequently, team members were interviewed individually in their work context. Interviews began with a general overview of the interviewees team purpose and characteristics. Interviewees were then asked to think of a team to represent each of the elements, e.g. a high performing team, and to name or code each team chosen. Constructs were then freely elicited following comparison of elements. To preserve the principles underlying personal construct theory, each team member was allowed to generate their own set of constructs. This was achieved using a triadic method of comparison in which interviewees were shown cards each containing the name of one element. They were then asked in what way are two of these elements similar to each other and different from the third in terms of their effectiveness or performance. This process was repeated until no further constructs were elicited (for further details of the method, see Senior, 1997). Each team member was then asked to rate the elements on their particular constructs using a six-point scale, i.e. scored 1 to 6, to produce data for principal components analysis. Individual team members ratings were amalgamated to give ratings for each team. The data collected were subjected to principal components analysis using specialist software (the grid analysis programme (GAP)) that indicated the statistical positions of the elements (including the research teams) and constructs to each other. Of importance to this study were the statistical distances between constructs that the GAP programme reported. These showed the likelihood of constructs with similar meanings clustering other than by chance. A process of inspection to reduce the number of overlapping construct clusters resulted in the establishment of the nal representation of team performance in terms of distinct factors.

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The sample Nine management teams from both the public and private sectors took part in the study and their characteristics are given in Table I. The teams were selected and screened against the criteria for teams, as opposed to groups, discussed above. Team size ranged from four to nine members and seven teams operated in the public sector. Most teams had existed for several years with stable membership. Our denition of a management team was a team with responsibility for the general management of a distinctive operational unit that they co-ordinate and provide direction to. Management teams are characterised by a range of objectives and responsibilities, including people, budgets and product/service delivery, in contrast to the narrower focus of many work teams such as new product development teams. The study did not focus upon top management teams (executive teams), that is, teams responsible for the overall direction of an organisation.

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Team Size Team purpose Created in 1974, stable, mature

Table I. Summary characteristics of the sample teams History Stability Notes Turbulent internal and external environments Stable internal environment Three members present for ten years or more. None less than 15 months Formed for one year but Five members present from members knew each other before teams creation All members with at least two years in the team Stable team, three members present from beginning Three years old Three years old Three years old Three members of the original team remained New team, less than one year old Stable membership Stable membership Four members from inception Stable External environment unpredictable, internal environment predictable External environment unpredictable, internal environment predictable Predictable internal and external environments Stable environments Turbulent internal and external environments Established nine months previously but members knew each other previously Established three years Four years in its present form Turbulent internal and external environments Turbulent due to restructuring and commercial competition

Local authority top team policy inuencing body

Corporate human resource development team in large nancial services organisation County council managed centre for adults with learning difculties County council managed residential centre for people with severe learning difculties Personnel department in a government department Accounts department in a brewery Personnel team in a local council

Council day centre for adults with learning difculties Local council engineering department

Results Each repertory grid interview produced about ten team performance constructs and 615 constructs were derived from all team members and subjected to principal components analysis (PCA). An example construct is supportive team leader inexible leadership style with each construct scored from 1 to 6 for each element. PCA of the repertory grid data produced cognitive maps from each team. Each map shows how constructs clustered into factors and an example of a cognitive map is shown in Figure 1. This shows how individual team performance constructs grouped together to form construct clusters positioned in relation to the principal components (the orthogonal axes in Figure 1) that were identied as a result of the PCA. Examples of construct clusters are react badly to change, little enjoyment or sense of belonging and low commitment. As expected, initial examination of the total set of constructs (rst order factors) indicated a signicant degree of overlap in meaning among the clusters. Furthermore, the data suggested that several different construct clusters were present and this gave a basis for attempting to derive a reduced set.

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Figure 1. Team cognitive map showing the team performance construct, elicited from one teams members, plotted according to their loading values onto two of the principal components

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PCA produced 84 construct clusters that were named to represent the general meaning of the individual constructs they contained. Inspection of the construct clusters for overlapping meaning resulted in some being eliminated by merging with others leaving an intermediate total of 70 that can be considered second-order factors. Examples include care and support for each other, liking each other and pulling together versus personal agendas. The nal stage of the research involved detailed examination of the second-order factors to group them into a much smaller set of rst-order factors that represent the dimensions of management team performance. For instance, the three examples above were included in a rst-order factor representing interpersonal relationships. The seven rst-order factors derived from grid analysis, PCA and reduction based on overlapping meaning were team purpose, team organisation, team leadership, team climate, interpersonal relationships, team communications, and team composition. These are shown in the list below together with the second-order factors that they were derived from: (1) Team purpose (goals/tasks/objectives): . goal denition/goal clarity; . goal recognition by team members; . goals shared by team members; . goal achievement; and . team members commitment to goals. (2) Team organisation: . sense of direction; . roles and responsibilities; . structure for operating; . decision making; . problem solving; . planning processes; . distribution of tasks amongst team members; and . evaluation of means of operating. (3) Leadership: . appropriateness of style; . leaders responsibilities; . support for team members; . team members support for leader; . provision of direction/vision/structure; and . preparation and planning of tasks, time, management. (4) Team climate: . commitment to team/leader/other members; . respect for differences;

energy and enthusiasm; member enjoyment; . openness versus secretiveness; . supportive versus defensive climate; . trust between members and leader/members; . attitudes to change; . pace of working; . tense versus relaxed; . sharing versus domination; . authority versus democracy; . participation in decision making; . innovation and creativity versus conformity; and . exibility versus rigidity. (5) Interpersonal relationships: . style of communications; . working together and/or as individuals; . care and support for each other; . liking each other; . rapport between team members; . support for each other; . share work between members; . co-operation versus competition; . pretence versus honesty; . acceptance of personal responsibility; and . pulling together versus personal agendas. (6) Team communications: . ability to speak out; . constructive versus destructive conict; . frequency of contact; . open versus secrecy; . co-ordination of communications; . usefulness of contributions; and . reactivity versus proactivity. (7) Team composition: . mix of personalities; . mix of skills/abilities; . dened team roles;
. .

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skills/abilities known to all; respect for each others skills/abilities/roles; team size; continuity of membership; and motivation of members.

For clarity, not all the second-order factors for team climate are shown. The actual numbers of second-order factors that were used represent the rst-order factors (the dimensions of team performance) were: team goals four; team organisation eight; team leadership eight; team climate 24; interpersonal relations 11; team communications seven; team composition eight. Discussion Having used the literature to establish a broad-based view of team effectiveness we sought to contribute to this area by empirically testing theory in the context of management teams. Team performance was investigated using repertory grid technique and this is itself a novel application of the method allowing a test of theory using data generated by team members in their work contexts. There is a broad agreement between the team performance criteria developed earlier and our ndings. One of the issues thrown up by the ndings concerns the distinction between the way a team works (teamwork) and performance on the tasks set for the team. The seven factors that were generated relate to internal team processes, such as a teams ability to agree on goals and work towards them or the efciency with which a team makes decisions and plans clearly represent teamwork. Yet high performance on these dimensions may not necessarily mean that a team achieves the organisational changes (task performance) that it was formed to bring about. Factors beyond the inuence of the team such as developments elsewhere in the organisation or involving suppliers or customers could intervene and have positive or adverse effects. Since these are above and beyond the teams control it is unfair to atter or criticise the team for the effects they have. The stance taken here that performance is more than just the achievement of measurable outputs and embraces team process has good support in the literature (Baker and Salas, 1997; Stott and Walker, 1995, p. 57; West, 1994; Williams, 1996). The six dimensions concerning goals, organisation, leadership, climate, interpersonal relationships and communications are rmly within the scope of a team to inuence and also have theoretical support (Hayes, 1997; Stott and Walker, 1995). Team members clearly felt that the seventh dimension on team composition, that is, member diversity and the balance of personalities, is a dimension of performance yet this dimension could be taken to be relatively xed, beyond a teams inuence and hence more a predictor of performance than performance per se. However, teams may have the power to change their composition, for example, by removing or adding people with particular attitudes or behavioural characteristics. Furthermore, team role theory (Belbin, 1981, 1993) which holds that successful teams need members who bring a balance of team roles accepts that people may adjust their role depending upon the team and the circumstances that they are in. A person who monitors and checks that things are being done in one team may display a team leader role in another context. Hence the composition dimension is within a teams inuence to some extent and the

extent to which a team adjusts towards an optimum composition is a logical dimension of its performance. Denison et al. (1996) also looked at team effectiveness from the team members perspective although they used a variety of cross-functional teams in a single organisation. Our description of team performance is consistent with their view of effective team processes although they also developed a set of seven generic outcomes covering the development of individual team members and the products of a teams operations. One explanation for the outcomes that they generated is their use of data from teams with a wide range of task objectives in contrast to our more specic focus on general management. One unexpected absence from the grid data was a rst order factor representing the interaction between a team and the wider organisation. This is suggested by theoretical considerations (Yeatts and Hyten, 1998) and its absence may be a limitation of the method used. This could have occurred if the elements used in interviewing (e.g. a high performing team) overly stimulated constructs relating to a teams internal processes (teamwork) and inadvertently pushed interviewees away from considering the wider organisation. An alternative explanation is provided by Ancona and Caldwell (1990) who refer to boundary management as the process by which teams manage their interaction with other parts of the organisation both laterally and hierarchically. Boundary management covers both communication and the way that the team responds to communication. High performing new product development teams were found to engage in more external activity than low performing teams and yet team members generally found it paradoxical that time spent on external activities had a strong inuence on team success. While product development teams and management teams have different roles, a successful management team will need to project a good image to others, particularly those in higher levels of the organisation, to build support, obtain resources, report on progress and to head-off threats to the teams future. Despite its lack of an empirical presence in this study we suggest that a rst-order factor representing interaction with the wider organisation should be included in a conceptual model of management team performance. It is illustrated by the following concepts: respect for team and its members; management support for team and members; team awareness of organisational goals; team rewarded for goal achievement; supportive versus defensive organisational climate; support for team development and team goals aligned with organisational goals. The complete eight-factor model is shown in Figure 2. It follows from this research that it should be possible to operationalise the eight factors, using conventional construct validation methods (see Hinkin, 1998) into a measurement instrument capable of scoring each dimension and allowing a prole to be built up from a teams scores. We would expect at least moderate correlation between the eight factors identied. Such an instrument would be useful for researchers to explore the variables that predict dimensions of team performance and those that are predicted by dimensions of team performance, such as task-related outcomes. The instrument would also be useful to practitioners for the purpose of diagnostics and team development interventions. Any such interventions need to recognise the ne line that exists between teamwork and the accomplishment of successful work outcomes. In other words, while concentrating on factors that affect teamwork, organisations must not lose sight of the organisational improvements that the team was created to deliver.

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Figure 2. Dimensions of management team performance

This has implications for the use of different measurement frameworks to assess the task performance of different teams (Sahl, 1998). Some limitations and assumptions of the study require comment. The teams studied varied in size from four to nine members and we assume that four is sufcient to allow crucial social processes to develop (Weick, 1969). Although size inuences what happens in teams, by and large size is not a core concern in theories of work group effectiveness (Guzzo and Shea, 1992, p. 273). We also assume that the teams were sufciently mature to provide meaningful information. The overall sample size was not particularly large but repertory grid technique allowed a very detailed exploration of team members views and the subsequent statistical analysis was geared to treatment of grid data including the analysis of multiple grids obtained from the aggregation of individual team members grids. We offer a view from the inside of natural teams in natural settings as useful in understanding team performance while acknowledging that team members generally interpret high performance in terms of internal process attributes in contrast to people outside of the team, such as other managers, who give more emphasis to external indicators, such as communication with external agents (Cohen and Bailey, 1997, p. 281). This limitation was addressed by the inclusion of the eighth factor representing interaction with the wider organisation. In conclusion, this study has produced a view of management team performance from inside real management teams. Management team performance can be modelled on eight factors that represent the different aspects of the ways that teams conduct themselves in attempting to deliver task-related outcomes. The eight-factor model of internal team performance has value to both further research in the eld and in team development situations. Further research will attempt to operationalise the model into a useful diagnostic tool.

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