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Let’s Get Physical: Physical Activity as a Team Intervention at Work

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to conceptualize a novel theoretical occurrence—team physical activity (PA)—and its relevance for researchers and organizations. By building a testable model of the consequences and contingencies of team PA, we integrate the science of teamwork with the scholarly domain of employee health and well-being. Hence, we clarify the construct of team PA, present a three-dimensional typology, and outline a model drawing on neuroscience, positive organizational behavior, and teams research. Our propositions and subsequent discussion proffer an outline of potential benefits for organizations when they increase the utility and frequency of team PA. We also suggest ways in which researchers can advance scholarship in this area.

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Team reflexivity (TR)–defined as a team's conscious reflection on their objectives, strategies, and processes—is an important team process that fosters adaptation and information processing. However, traditional conceptualizations frame TR as a process that occurs in periods of downtime to reflect on past, terminated performance, largely ignoring reflective team processes occurring during intense performance events of action teams. To address this gap, we conceptualize TR as a team process that occurs not only during periods of downtime after the action but also during performance events as brief TR moments. We elaborate on the concept of in‐action TR and explore it by delineating its relationship to task type and timing during a performance event. Further, we test a team level contingency model of in‐action TR, namely, team size and performance. Using behavior observation, we test our hypothesis with 70 medical teams responding to simulated in‐hospital emergencies. Task type is related to in‐action TR and reflection tends to increase as action progresses. Further, in‐action TR is related to team performance and is especially important for larger teams. Our study is the first to investigate in‐action TR and provides theoretical and practical implications on how in‐action TR operates in extreme action teams.
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How does one learn and build credibility simultaneously? Such is the challenge faced by an increasing number of professionals, who must quickly get to grips with new assignments while displaying sufficient knowledge to be regarded as experts. If they do not, they will be unable to exert influence over the situation. To address this puzzle, we draw on data from 21 months of participant observation during consulting assignments, and interviews with 79 management consultants. Building on Goffman’s notion of face, we identify ‘learning–credibility tension’ – a discrepancy between a newcomer position that requires professionals to learn, and a role-based image that requires credibility – as a salient and costly issue during organizational entry. Specifically, we find that consultants experience threats to their face during interactions with clients. They deal with these threats by performing individual tactics that help them reduce the anxiety associated with learning–credibility tension, and support their relationship with clients. Our study builds theory in socialization by revealing tactics that allow professionals to keep face while seeking the information they require to adjust to new settings. We also contribute to substantive debates on management consulting by relating insights from the sociology of professions to contemporary knowledge workers.
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The adoption of teams continues to increase in almost every domain of modern work life. In the current article we review evidence of the complexity of modern work, industry trends in the use of teams, and the challenges of achieving the full potential of organizational work teams. We aimed to meaningfully move forward the science of high performance teamwork by assembling a focused set of review articles in the present special issue. We consider four themes that capture the articles in this special issue and avenues for achieving the full potential of teams: (1) work across boundaries; (2) build effective team processes and states; (3) manage team development issues; and (4) leverage human capital. Collectively, the contents of this special issue offer important new opportunities for advancing future research and for making a practical difference in the effectiveness of teams in organizations. We identify six areas in which future research efforts in high performance teamwork should be directed based on "realities" that, in our view, need to be addressed.
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Although it is consistently identified as a critical component of team performance, team communication is often conceptualized in a variety of manners. The present meta-analysis addresses this inconsistency by examining the moderating influence of communication characteristics, as well as other salient team and task characteristics, on the relationship between team communication and performance. The findings revealed several fundamental insights. First, communication quality had a significantly stronger relationship with team performance than communication frequency. Second, further distinguishing between different communication types, classifying communication into the eight most commonly measured communication forms (e.g., knowledge sharing, information elaboration), has further value; information elaboration has the strongest relationship with performance while self-report frequency and objective frequency have the weakest relationships. Third, familiar and face-to-face teams exhibited a stronger relationship between communication and performance. These results indicate the necessity of distinguishing between different communication types in both practical and theoretical applications of team science.
Article
The now recognized core construct of psychological capital, or simply PsyCap, draws from positive psychology in general and positive organizational behavior (POB) in particular. The first-order positive psychological resources that make up PsyCap include hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism, or the HERO within. These four best meet the inclusion criteria of being theory- and research-based, positive, validly measurable, state-like, and having impact on attitudes, behaviors, performance and well-being. The article first provides the background and precise meaning of PsyCap and then comprehensively reviews its measures, theoretical mechanisms, antecedents and outcomes, levels of analysis, current status and needed research, and finally application. Particular emphasis is given to practical implications, which focuses on PsyCap development, positive leadership, and novel applications such as the use of video games and gamification techniques. The overriding theme throughout is that PsyCap has both scientific, evidence-based rigor and practical relevance. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior Volume 4 is March 21, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Article
Obesity has been associated with the excessive intake of palatable food as well as physical inactivity. To investigate the neurobiological mechanism underlying the exercised-induced prevention and treatment of obesity, the present study examined the effect of treadmill exercise on the preference for palatable food in mice. Levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system were also analysed, as well as levels of dopamine, dopamine transporter, and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Forty C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into a control group (CG, n = 10) and a high-fat diet group (HG, N = 30). Mice of the HG group were fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks in order to induce a model of obesity, following which the obese mice were randomly divided into an obese control group (OG, n = 11) and an obese + exercise group (OEG, n = 12). OEG mice received 8 weeks of treadmill exercise intervention. Our results indicate that, relative to animals in the OG group, OEG mice exhibited significant decreases in the preference for high-fat diets and insulin resistance, along with increases in the preference for sucrose and milk, TH and D2 receptor expression, and levels of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system. These results suggest that moderate-intensity treadmill exercise can alter food preference in obese mice, which may be mediated by dopaminergic plasticity of the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Article
Virtual teams are an essential part of work organizations. They help organizations utilize skills and expertise regardless of where they are located. The virtual team literature suggests that these teams often experience process losses compared to their face-to-face counterparts. In this paper we propose that as virtualness increases, a team's shared mental models become more complex; this limits the effectiveness of particular teamwork behaviors: mutual performance monitoring, backup behavior and adaptation. We identify specific factors that are reflected in increased mental model complexity of virtual teams. Further we examine the moderating role that the accuracy and similarity of these shared mental models as well as the level of virtualness has on the relation between complexity and teamwork behaviors. Finally, we examine the effects of training inventions on mental model accuracy. To this end, we review the existing literature to develop a model and specific propositions.
Article
Since the concept of psychological safety was introduced, empirical research on its antecedents, outcomes, and moderators at different levels of analysis has proliferated. Given a burgeoning body of empirical evidence, a systematic review of the psychological safety literature is warranted. As well as reviewing empirical work on psychological safety, the present article highlights gaps in the literature and provides direction for future work. In doing so, it highlights the need to advance our understanding of psychological safety through the integration of key theoretical perspectives to explain how psychological safety develops and influences work outcomes at different levels of analysis. Suggestions for future empirical research to advance our understanding of psychological safety are also provided.
Article
Team cognition has been identified as a critical component of team performance and decision-making. However, theory and research in this domain continues to remain largely static; articulation and examination of the dynamic processes through which collectively held knowledge emerges from the individual- to the team-level is lacking. To address this gap, we advance and systematically evaluate a process-oriented theory of team knowledge emergence. First, we summarize the core concepts and dynamic mechanisms that underlie team knowledge-building and represent our theory of team knowledge emergence (Step 1). We then translate this narrative theory into a formal computational model that provides an explicit specification of how these core concepts and mechanisms interact to produce emergent team knowledge (Step 2). The computational model is next instantiated into an agent-based simulation to explore how the key generative process mechanisms described in our theory contribute to improved knowledge emergence in teams (Step 3). Results from the simulations demonstrate that agent teams generate collectively shared knowledge more effectively when members are capable of processing information more efficiently and when teams follow communication strategies that promote equal rates of information sharing across members. Lastly, we conduct an empirical experiment with real teams participating in a collective knowledge-building task to verify that promoting these processes in human teams also leads to improved team knowledge emergence (Step 4). Discussion focuses on implications of the theory for examining team cognition processes and dynamics as well as directions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Although psychological safety research has flourished in recent years, and despite the empirical support for the important role of psychological safety in the workplace, several critical questions remain. In order to address these questions, we aggregate theoretical and empirical works, and draw on 136 independent samples representing over 22,000 individuals and nearly 5,000 groups, to conduct a comprehensive meta-analysis on the antecedents and outcomes of psychological safety. We not only present the nomological network of psychological safety, but also extend this research in four important ways. First, we compare effect sizes to determine the relative effectiveness of antecedents to psychological safety. Second, we examine the extent to which psychological safety influences both task performance and organizational citizenship behaviors over and beyond related concepts such as positive leader relations and work engagement. Third, we examine whether research design characteristics and national culture alter validities within the nomological network, thus promoting a more accurate and contextualized understanding of psychological safety. Finally, we test the homology assumption by comparing the effect sizes of the antecedents and outcomes of psychological safety across individual and group levels of analysis. We conclude with a discussion of the areas in need of future examination.
Article
The teams literature suggests that team tenure improves team psychological safety climate and climate strength in a linear fashion, but the empirical findings to date have been mixed. Alternatively, theories of group formation suggest that new and longer tenured teams experience greater team psychological safety climate than moderately tenured teams. Adopting this second perspective, we used a sample of 115 research and development teams and found that team tenure had a curvilinear relationship with team psychological safety climate and climate strength. Supporting group formation theories, team psychological safety climate and climate strength were higher in new and longer tenured teams compared with moderately tenured teams. Moreover, we found a curvilinear relationship between team tenure and average team member creative performance as partially mediated by team psychological safety climate. Team psychological safety climate improved average team member task performance only when team psychological safety climate was strong. Likewise, team tenure influenced average team member task performance in a curvilinear manner via team psychological safety climate only when team psychological safety climate was strong. We discuss theoretical and practical implications and offer several directions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
This paper presents a multi-dimensional measure of organisational climate covering two domains of health behavior (healthy eating, physical exercise). To develop and validate the climate measure, we conducted three independent studies. In Study 1, items were generated and evaluated in expert ratings and confirmatory factor analyses (N=483 employees), resulting in a total of 24 items comprising three dimensions (values and expectations, organisational practices, communication) within the domains of healthy eating and physical exercise. Study 2 cross-validated the factor structure of this measure of organisational health behavior climate (OHBC), and examined its nomological net. Based on data from 464 employees, we found significant correlations among OHBC and other dimensions of organisational climate (e.g. employee welfare, safety climate), healthy eating and exercise identity, eating behavior, and body mass index (BMI). Study 3 demonstrated within-organisation agreement and between-organisation differences in OHBC, and replicated the factor structure with a multi-level data set (N=1,077 employees from 48 organisations). This new measure assesses organisational eating climate and exercise climate in a comprehensive way, opening up multiple avenues for future research and evaluation studies in organisations.
Article
The cognitive properties and processes of teams have not been considered in sport psychology research. These properties and processes extend beyond the sum of the cognitive properties and processes of the constituent members of the team to include factors unique to teams, such as team coordination and communication. A social-cognitive conceptual framework for the study of team coordination and communication is offered, based on research on social cognition and from industrial and organizational psychology. This is followed by a discussion of coordination and communication in expert teams. In addition, an overview of the type of methods that could be used to measure aspects of team coordination and communication in sport is provided. The framework and methods afford hypothesis generation for empirical research on coordination and communication in sport teams, a means to begin examining these constructs in sport, and a theoretical base with which to reconcile the resultant data.
Article
Conflict is inherent whenever employees are required to work interdependently, such as within workplace teams. Yet in the face of such conflict, some teams thrive, whereas others suffer. As team-based tasks continue to increase in popularity, it is imperative that an examination of the underlying boundary conditions be undertaken to better assess under which circumstances team performance improves because of conflict, or the negative effects of conflict are minimized. Therefore, we seek to advance research and benefit practicing managers through a comprehensive review of the research that has examined contingencies in the relationship between conflict and performance in teams in order to better understand when disagreements among team members might improve, rather than harm, team performance. Specifically, we utilize a triumvirate approach to organize our review around 2 foundational theories of team conflict-complexity and information processing-as well as a more recent theoretical advance-the theory of conflict expressions. In doing so, we seek to create a deeper understanding of beneficial conflict by systematically categorizing the empirical and theoretical advances in this line of research while also identifying opportunities for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Human resource management research has traditionally taken the attribute approach; outcomes are considered to be dependent on attributes of the individuals or attributes of the job itself. However, many of the phenomena and outcomes related to human capital, such as recruiting and onboarding, teamwork and communication, knowledge management, and employee satisfaction are also dependent on social capital and the relational networks that exist among employees. Social network analysis is a methodology that has so far been underutilized within the human capital field, but it is uniquely suited for helping researchers and practitioners understand the complex relationships that are driving organizations. This article provides an introduction to social network analysis and explains how it can be applied to both research and practice, with the goal of developing new ways of thinking about human capital, social capital, and the important interaction between the two.