Goal Orientation in Teams: The Role of Diversity Defended on Thursday, 19 March 2009

Organizations make increasingly use of teams as their basic structure, making it more and more important to determine what enables optimal team functioning. Over the past decades, the goals people focus on in achievement settings (i.e. goal orientation) is shown to be highly important for individual behavior. Nevertheless, little is known on how this plays out in a team context. The present dissertation focuses on uncovering the role of team composition in goal orientation on team functioning, with special emphasis on the role of diversity.

         In a series of experimental and field studies, we examine several important areas in need of clarification leading to several key insights. First, team members’ goal orientation may help or hurt teams dealing with ethnic diversity. Second, effects of mean levels of goal orientation on team performance may be dependent on other factors (moderators). Third, diversity in goal orientation is an important overlooked variable in the literature that plays a large role in team performance. Fourth, both group information elaboration and group efficiency are relevant underlying processes of this relationship. Fifth, team reflexivity may counteract the negative effects of diversity in goal orientation. Finally, a coordinating team leader may bring about the positive potential of diversity in goal orientation.


teams, team effectiveness, team performance, team diversity, goal orientation, learning orientation, performance orientation, mastery, team leadership, team information elaboration, team reflexivity, individual differences

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