Team dynamics over time: Myths, facts, and an agenda for future research



There is increasing consensus in team research that team composition, structure, processes, states, external context, and outputs can all change over time and mutually affect each other as they change. However, much knowledge about such team dynamics over time is not based on research that actually follows teams over time. To address this theory-empirics disconnect, we integrate the evidence from 147 longitudinal team studies from 2,290 peer-reviewed journals indexed in PsycINFO since 1880s. These studies are empirical studies in which at least one team construct is repeatedly measured at least three times. While most available work relies on specific time points in team life to understand team dynamics over time (e.g., start, midpoint, and end of a team project, Gersick, 1988, 1989), our review redirects the scholarly attention to an alternative event-based perspective in which the natural temporal dynamics in teams (i.e., declining task collaboration and growing social cohesion) are altered by critical team events such as interventions (e.g., training, performance feedback) and interruptions (e.g., membership change, task change). Our review makes valuable contributions to team research by providing a theoretical basis to understand temporal dynamics in most work teams, such as management teams and service teams, whose start may lie too far in the past to access and whose end may not be known. 

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Meeting ID: 910 1473 5886