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It is a common truth that teamwork can be regarded as a crucial part of any project aimed at studying something or producing new goods and services. The importance of teamwork and the key rules to make it more effective have been studied by numerous researchers. The paper focuses on analyzing the article by Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006) that was published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest eleven years ago. The particular research article that is analyzed in the paper aims to summarize the most relevant findings reported by the authors of older studies and describe the current state of knowledge in the field. As for another goal that has a great practical significance, the researchers develop a series of recommendations that can be used to guide younger researchers or help them to improve the methodology.
The study that is discussed within the frame of the assignment presents a review that pays close attention to everything that is known about the phenomenon of teamwork and the ways to measure and enhance its effectiveness. Apart from that, it determines the aspects that form the knowledge gap affecting modern working practices. According to the researchers, the importance of studies on team effectiveness cannot be overstated, and there are “over fifty years of psychological research” to be summarized (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 77). In the introduction section, the authors provide numerous examples of teamwork that touch upon every single aspect of social life; in such a way, the choice of the research topic is justified. To prove the importance of the topic chosen for the review, the authors remind the audience that there are strong links between well-known cases of various catastrophes such as transport disasters or armed conflicts and the failures of team coordination. Continuing on the topic, the authors provide general information on certain historical periods such as the attack of 9/11 and the events of the Civil War to demonstrate that the inability to organize an effective group work causes numerous tragedies.
Among the main topics covered by the authors of the research, there is the current state of knowledge on “dynamic complexity, emergent team processes, evolution, and adaptation” (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 78). Therefore, the key questions helping to shape the research are related to the types of team processes, factors that can have a significant impact on group effectiveness, and possible methods that can be used to mitigate the negative impact of these factors and organize a well-coordinated work. Reflecting on the current knowledge concerning group work, the researchers claim that numerous authors do not fulfill their potential when they prefer to state that more research is needed. During the stage of the literature search, the authors were using three key strategies to find the materials for the review. About these strategies, the researchers were choosing topics that were included in meta-analytic reviews, systematic reviews. What is more, the most promising areas of research identified during the review were included.
The review conducted by the researchers has a clear structure; the authors start from reviewing the basic concepts that exist in the area and gradually move on to more complicated ones. The degree of maturity of research conducted in all discussed areas is also assessed. According to the definition provided, a team presents a group of individuals who have common goals or need to perform the same task. As for group effectiveness, the researchers focus on the IPO framework that focuses on the interconnection between the range of activities performed, team composition efforts, and performance. When it comes to different subtopics related to the nature of team processes, the authors review studies that apply the concept of multilevel systems to team effectiveness. Apart from that, the attention is paid to the role of a group task as a key factor attracting the attention of different researchers in the field.
In particular, with the help of the literature search, the study identifies and discusses the key processes that are strictly interconnected with team effectiveness. Among them, there is a team climate that can be characterized as a set of “perceptions of features and events” that shape teams’ goals and values (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 81). The list of processes reviewed by the researchers also includes two concepts that are inexorably associated with each other: “team mental models and transactive memory” (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 83). The first term relates to more general information that team members are acquainted with; at the same time, the second term refers to the ability of team members to understand and use the knowledge on task distribution and other processes that are crucial to success. Discussing the state of knowledge related to these two aspects, the researchers claim that the majority of studies paying special attention to these team processes are purely theoretical. Another process that remains the focus of the discussed review article is group learning that has not been thoroughly studied and is difficult to be distinguished from the previous concepts. According to the authors’ findings, some experiments aimed at studying factors that influence group learning indicate that the complexity of objectives and growing turnover rates act as a roadblock to success.
In the end, the discussion of group characteristics is also presented in the review article. The latter include social cohesiveness existing due to the presence of factors keeping team members together and team mood that impacts team members during any stage of work. Also, the review of studies devoted to conflicts within teams is conducted. Having analyzed those studies evaluating the practical significance of effectiveness-enhancing techniques, the researchers prove that “cross-training, simulation-based training, and adaptation-coordination-CRM training” can be recommended to the majority of teams (Kozlowski & Ilgen, 2006, p. 105). Also, future researchers are recommended to focus on the following knowledge gaps: the way that disputes decrease team effectiveness and methods helping to estrange their negative consequences. The current education system, the researcher’s state, should be improved to make students more team-oriented and improve their knowledge of team workflow mechanisms.
Kozlowski, S. W., & Ilgen, D. R. (2006). Enhancing the effectiveness of work groups and teams. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 7(3), 77-124.