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, 90 (6), 1153-67

Adaptation of Teams in Response to Unforeseen Change: Effects of Goal Difficulty and Team Composition in Terms of Cognitive Ability and Goal Orientation

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Adaptation of Teams in Response to Unforeseen Change: Effects of Goal Difficulty and Team Composition in Terms of Cognitive Ability and Goal Orientation

Jeffery A LePine. J Appl Psychol.

Abstract

Halfway through a 3-hour experiment in which 64 3-person teams needed to make a series of decisions, a communications channel began to deteriorate, and teams needed to adapt their system of roles in order to perform effectively. Consistent with previous research, team composition with respect to members' cognitive ability was positively associated with adaptation. Adaptation was also influenced by interactions of team goal difficulty and team composition with respect to team members' goal orientation. Teams with difficult goals and staffed with high-performance orientation members were especially unlikely to adapt. Teams with difficult goals and staffed with high-learning orientation members were especially likely to adapt. Supplemental analyses provided insight into the observed effects in that the difficulty of team goals and members' goal orientation predicted interpersonal, transition, and action processes, all of which predicted team adaptation.

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