Employers have long recognized the benefits of work teams. Rather than relying solely on the output of individual employees, organizations have compounded the effectiveness of their staff members by grouping them together for maximum productivity. “The popularity of teams in organizational settings can be attributed to the numerous advantages ascribed to them,” said Caroline Aube of the Department of Management at HEC Montreal in Canada. “In effect, the presence of work teams may contribute to improving not only the performance, the creativity, and the ﬂexibility of employees, but also the satisfaction of the members and the quality of life at work.” However, research has shown that the design of the team is a crucial element to its success. “It appears, for example, that large-size teams encounter more problems of absenteeism and turnover, and that their members are less satisﬁed with their work, experience more negative emotions, and present a lower level of mental health,” said Aube.
Aube conducted a study on 97 Canadian work teams to determine how the size and structure of the groups influenced overall effectiveness and found that the bigger the team, the lower the quality of the overall output. “In effect, the results reveal that the relationship between team size and quality of group experience is indirect and that counterproductive behaviors may intervene as mediators in this relationship.” Aube said, “In this regard, when team members engage in parasitism, interpersonal aggression, and boastfulness, they are more likely to worsen the quality of group experience.” Aube noted that the results confirm previous research but should be examined more closely in order to identify which behaviors impact productivity and experience the most. Aube added, “On the whole, this study indicates that the number of members to include in a team is an important management decision, the repercussions of which may be observed both in the internal functioning of the team and in its outcomes.”
Aube, Caroline, Vincent Rousseau, and Sebastien Tremblay. “Team Size and Quality of Group Experience: The More the Merrier.” Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice 15.4 (2011): 357-75. Print.
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