Managing Groups and Teams/Similarities

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

It is generally accepted that it is beneficial to have dissimilar personalities when working together in teams. The importance of this concept varies depending on the type of project and the requirements.

A homogeneous group is composed of members with similar backgrounds, personalities, knowledge, and values. As one might expect, there is less likelihood of conflict during a homogeneous group's discussions, but these placid dynamics also tend to produce mundane, unimaginative outcomes. In contrast, heterogeneous groups have great difficulty building strong interpersonal relationships, but they allow members to take greater risks and to be more critical of others' ideas. Overall, it appears that heterogeneous groups are better for addressing novel, complex tasks, providing group members can cope with a high degree of conflict (Shaw, 1976). [1]

Despite its inherent disadvantages, some leaders prefer a small, homogeneous decision-making group. They select an intimate group of advisors because they are supportive, loyal, and unlikely to produce any surprises. Such a "kitchen cabinet" possesses a certain seductive appeal since it allows the manager to avoid the inefficient and conflictual decision-making process inherent in larger, more diverse groups. The problem here is that the probability of the group's making a serious mistake is substantially increased (Argenti, 1976). [2]

Lewis Goldberg proposed a five-dimension personality model, nicknamed the "Big Five" [3]

  1. Openness to Experience: the tendency to be imaginative, independent, and interested in variety vs. practical, conforming, and interested in routine.
  2. Conscientiousness: the tendency to be organized, careful, and disciplined vs. disorganized, careless, and impulsive.
  3. Extroversion: the tendency to be sociable, fun loving, and affectionate vs. retiring, somber, and reserved.
  4. Agreeableness: the tendency to be softhearted, trusting, and helpful vs. ruthless, suspicious, and uncooperative.
  5. Neuroticism: the tendency to be calm, secure, and self-satisfied vs. anxious, insecure, and self-pitying  "Personality"

Using the Big 5 personality traits we will explore the intricacies of creating a high-powered, effective team in situations where all team members possess very similar personality traits. We will examine how some traits foster constructive conflict while others beget stagnation and contention. We will analyze those traits we believe to be constructive and useful when shared between most or all of the group members.

Openness is considered a basic ingredient for effective and successful teams. Openness is simply defined as the ability to surface and deal with issues objectively. Team members who exhibit openness are "more willing to deal with problems, surface issues that need to be discussed, help create an environment where people are free to say what's on their minds, and promote an open exchange of ideas."[4] These attributes help create a foundation of acceptance and trust that allow freethinking and creative solutions to be shared among team members. In the presence of strong homogeneity among team members, groupthink is an always lingering threat. However, heterogeneous groups exhibit greater creativity and higher quality processes and decisions which are less susceptible to groupthink. It is natural to recognize the value in having a team whose members are homogeneous in their willingness to be open to heterogeneity in the group. In the absence of openness, heterogeneous groups are less likely to be cohesive and trusting. Greenhaus et al. reported that heterogeneity in a close-minded atmosphere positions team members to be less committed to the group, less satisfied with their jobs, more stressed, more likely to turn over, more absent and experience more communication difficulties.[5] Without openness and the direct discussion of ideas, mistrust and fear surface. Team members may worry that others intend to exploit ideas and steal credit, which results in a closed-minded and static group.

A team whose members exhibit openness are more capable to embrace the differences among one another and accept the value of varying perspectives. Openness communicates confidence that people are ready to deal with issues directly for the team's benefit. Researchers have argued that open discussion promotes the exchange and understanding that resolve interpersonal frustrations and conflicts.[6] Through openness, people make their ideas public, become curious about opposing ideas, appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of various arguments, and lay the groundwork for incorporating the best ideas into integrative solutions. In open discussion, people are confronted with alternative views which create opportunities to begin curious exploration of other's ideas. Through articulating and exploring rationales, team members integrate ideas to create new, useful solutions. Openness norms encourage team members to express their opinions, doubts, uncertainties and hunches. In the presences of such norms, members invite each other to discuss their opposing positions and recognize the value of critical evaluations. They not only develop their own views but seek to understand the information and arguments of others. They put themselves in each other's shoes and see the problem from other perspectives. This recognition is beneficial in resolving the issue so that, as a group, they can make a decision and accomplish common tasks. There is no evidence to suggests that teams whose members possess a high level of openness are less productive in generating new ideas and creating knowledge. In fact, several books and articles can be found that discuss in length the benefits of openness among all team members.

Knowledge Creation

[edit | edit source]

The goal of teams, most commonly exhibited in professional/work environments, is to create knowledge that is a sum of parts from each participating team member. Successful knowledge creation requires more than just collocating individuals in groups. Openness among team members must exist in the process of brainstorming, which leads to the creation of knowledge. Researchers support the view that open-minded approaches lead to curiosity within teams, which triggers information seeking and motivates individuals to develop their understanding of differing perspectives.[7] This effort to develop an understanding of different, even often opposing, perspectives is a healthy aspect of knowledge creation. Respectful and professional debate can bring to surface deficiencies in current ideas and lay the foundation for new and better solutions. If team members perceive the atmosphere of their group to be open to dissimilarity, it is more likely they become more involved and contribute to the accomplishment of group tasks irregardless of the level of diversity. It has been reported that low openness toward perceived dissimilarity may lead to failure to effectively manage human talent available by discouraging minorities to freely exercise their actual abilities. In contrast, high openness environments build on the diversity in teams making use of the broad range of experiences, perspectives and ideas available. This process leads to higher quality decision making processes and innovative outcomes.[8]

Openness in Teams

[edit | edit source]

Self deception and overconfidence can lead team members to believe that the atmosphere of their team is conducive to openness. Some questions that one can ask to better evaluate the openness of their teams are:

1) To what extent does the group believe that members should feel free to express their views?

2) To what extent does the group believe that members should try to understand the suggestions proposed by other members?

3) To what extent does the group believe that every member's ideas should be considered and valued open-mindedly?

There are several benefits to teams whose members display high levels of openness. An environment in which team members feel free to challenge status quo and offer different ideas is more likely to generate in output and creativity. Homogeneity in openness among team members helps to overcome the fears of trust and supportiveness. Although openness among team members is highly sought after, team members must be careful to not use this as an excuse to be caustic, insulting, psychologically cold or distant.[9] Openness among all team members contributes to "the positive attitudes and emotional energies required to sustain the collaborative effort through periods of frustration."[10]

Level of conscientiousness by state

A website that offers a personality test based on the big five personality traits,, defines the test results for conscientiousness in the following way: “High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.” With this in mind, wouldn’t we always want conscientious team members over disorganized ones? Certainly all of the traits listed under the high-scoring side would be considered strengths while the traits on the other end of the spectrum would be seen as weaknesses. Disorganized, undependable, or negligent team members cause additional stress and work to fall on their teammates. As such, we don’t want to move people onto that side of the spectrum; however, there are certain pitfalls that might come with being overly conscientious. Two traits in particular can cause problems if taken to the extreme: being well-organized can lead to perfectionism, and being too careful can lead to a failure to make key decisions.

Valerie McCammon illustrates a possibility of taking detail orientation too far in the following example:

"’At BKD, we have the discipline and the professionalism to take care of both the large and small details so our clients don't have to,’ says Thomas Cottrell, partner in charge of BKD's Fort Wayne office. ‘From the simplest detail of updating our voice mail message daily to delivering work product before it is expected, we are beating expectations.’"[11]

The underlying principles of this statement are good and important aspects of good business practices; however, does your customer base pay you extra because you update your voice mail message daily. If you are going on vacation or changing your schedule, it would be appropriate to update your voice mail message daily, but if you focus too much on updating your voice mail every day, you might miss something important.

The previous example, while pushed to the extreme is an important pitfall to avoid. If all team members are too caught up in details, they might waste valuable time arguing about how something should be done rather than simply moving forward and doing it. Team leaders and managers would do well to instill a vision of the bigger picture when faced with a group of overly detail-oriented employees. The power of the bigger picture to overcome this focus is illustrated in the following example about Kuan Kom Hon, the president and founder of one of the leading glove making companies in the world.

“Kuan is described as a perfectionist and a very detail-oriented employer by friends. `It is tough to work for a perfectionist', says James Liew, the director of marketing for Hartalega.... `But it is his high standards that have driven the company to where it is today… It requires lots of sacrifice - long hours, thinking about details, having a vision for the company - things that come naturally to Kuan.”[12]

If a manager can instill a vision or view of the big picture in team members, they will be much more likely to overcome a tendency to focus too much on unnecessary details.

Failure to make key decisions

[edit | edit source]

Every business analyst would love to have just one more piece of information before committing to a final decision. The problem is that we will rarely have all of the information we want before making a decision, but there is a certain point when we might say that we have enough information to make a good decision. Being overly careful can lead to failed opportunities, especially in the business world. The following quotes emphasize the importance of taking some risks.

“Many goods require the cooperation of many people. Organizing such a productive effort, planning, making sure it corresponds to demand and taking necessary risks are all a source of wealth in today's society.[13]

"What people are looking for is being able to sleep at night... that someone is always looking out to minimize their risk. Or, for those who are looking for higher yields, that we are maximizing the returns, taking the necessary risks.”[14]

Conscientiousness in Teams

[edit | edit source]

A manager or team leader needs to be aware of the needs of the team and the organization. When enough information has been received, the leader should be confident enough to help push team members past any extreme caution to take the risks that will bring the “higher yields” that the organization is seeking.

Of course a conscientious person will have a certain degree of all of these qualities, which will balance out any major leaning toward any of the individual traits. While these problems are rare among conscientious people, the team leader should be aware of the possible pitfalls and take action when necessary to overcome any problems.

Level of extroversion by state

The third personality dimension in the Big Five Model, extroversion, is defined by the Oxford American Dictionary as "a person predominately concerned with external things or objective considerations." Extroverts are known to enjoy the company of others and prefer to interact with others rather than remain alone. Within the Big Five model, extroversion (also spelled as extraversion) is segmented into high and low scorers. The Big Five describes high scorers as sociable, friendly, fun loving, and talkative; low scorers, on the other hand, tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, and quiet. The introvert or the introverted personality is often considered the antithesis to extroversion. The introvert is defined as "a person predominately concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things."

Famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung popularized the notion the extroverted and introverted personality types. Jung is also well known for his work on archetypes, which was included in his work on the Collective Unconscious.

According to, different states within the North America demonstrate various levels of extroversion. Studies show that the southern states tend to display the most extroverted personality traits within the continental United States. By contrast, the Western half of the US is far more introverted than the East Coast (with the exception of Maine and Vermont).

A recent study performed by psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin found a strong association with the Big Five personality trait of extroversion with dog owners. The popular notion that cats tend to be more introverted and conversely dogs tend to be more extroverted is, according to this study, reflective of their owners' personality traits. According to the study, dog people are 15 percent more extroverted than their cat counterparts. Also, dog people tend to be more agreeable and conscientious. Cat people, on the other hand, showed more neurotic traits but were shown to embody the openness trait more than dog people.[15]

Most individuals consider themselves either introverted or extroverted; these personality traits are popularly thought of as mutually exclusive attributes. Within business settings, much discussion has taken place regarding the usefulness of these personality traits within team and group settings. The popular notion that business not only prefers extroverts (often referred to as a "Type A" personality) but needs extroverts in order to succeed is dwindling, particularly in the aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis.[16]

Extroversion In Teams

[edit | edit source]

Extroverts are often considered outgoing, gregarious, assertive and enthusiastic individuals. Such traits have often been lauded as useful or even essential traits within business. In fact, studies suggest that the relationship between successful team interaction and extroversion has been documented.[17] Such results shouldn't be surprising, as extroverts enjoy the company of others and prefer working in groups rather than alone.

Excess of extroversion, however, can result in overconfidence, conceit, and, in extreme cases, hubris. Financial behavioralists, a subset of behavioral economics, study the role that psychology plays in economies, markets, bubbles and trends. Some researchers within this field contend that bubbles are, more often than not, informed by psychology, en masse. The financial bubble that burst in 2007, many believe, resulted from the hubris and overconfidence of Wall Street. Within this theory, it could be argued that when a group or team exerts overconfidence and is dominated by aggressive, "Type A" personalities, critical mistakes are made. In the words of Michael Casey, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, "This past decade was marked by hubris, by the collective belief that we'd somehow defeated risk. What matters now is that we are, for the most part, aware of the absurdity of that notion."[18]

Introversion In Teams

[edit | edit source]

Within team settings, introversion can be a powerful influence, particularly if the group is dominated by extroverts. Introverts tend to be good listeners and are in tune with the more subtle nuances of the team dynamic. Having a team dominated by introverted personalities, however, could be fatal for group efficacy and creativity. Without including personalities focused on the externalities that affect the team, the group could suffer from myopia.

Recent research, however, shows that introversion in the workplace isn't a bad thing. In fact, research by Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World complains that introverts are misunderstood by society at large. Some of the stereotypes of introverts, as described by the article "Understand the Inner Life of Workplace Introverts" on[19] include: antisocial behavior, not a team player, unproductive and lacking initiative or ability, unenthusiastic, or inattentive. However, more often than not, introverts do not display these stereotypes but rather are misunderstood. Vogt suggests 3 ways to relate to your workplace introvert for more successful group dynamics:

  • Allow introverts to think before they talk. Often, Vogt explains, introverts need more time to process and think before coming to a conclusion.
  • Allow introverts to recharge alone. Don't assume that lunching alone is a negative act. Often, being alone allows a more introverted personality to recharge for the rest of the work day.
  • Play to their strong suits. Introverts tend to be good listeners, so play up that strength, Vogt suggests.
Level of agreeabless by state

Why is it a problem if everyone on the team is leans more towards the agreeable side of the spectrum than the disagreeable side? After all, if everyone is concerned about the feelings of everyone else, won’t we have more cohesive teams? People might feel closer to their teammates if they always see eye to eye and agree with each other, but they may be missing an important element of a strong team. It is important to have a certain degree of conflict in teams in order to draw out the best ideas and avoid pitfalls.

There are a couple of major factors influencing the tendency for people to agree with others. If a person has an agreeable nature, they want to make people feel comfortable and will agree with others even if they have a conflicting opinion. Another factor involves uncertainty and similarity. Jasmine Martirossian, an expert in community and group behavior, says that “whenever there is uncertainty or ambiguity, people will look to those around them for behavioral cues.” This means that group behavior inherently involves following other people’s leads.[20]

Stories abound showing major failures due to a failure to bring up important issues even when they are known. One tragic example involves NASA. After the shuttle disaster of the Columbia shuttle being destroyed as it re-entered the atmosphere, an Investigation Board was formed to search out the answers people wanted and find out the problems leading up to the disaster. The mission leader, Linda Ham, never received reports or requests to analyze the photos of the launch showing the debris hitting the thermal tiles on the bottom of the shuttle. She heard rumors that someone wanted to look at them, but when she asked around she could not find the person who wanted them. Several of those on the team were aware of the need to analyze the photos, but nobody spoke up. Everyone just assumed someone else would probably take care of it, and they did not want to be the one to point out problems.[21]

In extreme cases, the agreeable trait can make one appear as a so-called “yes-man,” and this is a role that is consistently deplored in business writings and successful practices. “Someone said that creativity depends on the number of ‘yes-men’ in an organization. The more ‘yes-men,’ the more problems.”[22]

“’I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell me the truth - even though it costs him his job.’ - S. Goldwyn.”[23]

We know that we should encourage a healthy amount of debate and disagreement in teams to create the best possible solutions, but how does the manager go about overcoming this difficulty when all team members have agreeable natures? One of the first steps involves a flaw in the recent quote by S. Goldwyn, “even though it costs him his job.” Managers must create an atmosphere and policy that allows everyone to feel comfortable sharing their opinions and viewpoints without fear of losing their job. There are several factors that can lead to a reluctance to share differing viewpoints. They include the following:

1) The presence of someone with expertise.

2) The presentation of a compelling, but inferior argument.

3) Lack of confidence in their ability to contribute.

4) The decision to be made seems unimportant or meaningless.

5) Pressures from others to conform to the team’s decision.

6) There’s a dysfunctional decision-making climate.[24]

According to the same article, there are several things a manager or team leader can do to encourage the participation of all team members.

1) Clarify the objectives you and others are working toward.

2) Offer inquiring points of view about what the group is considering.

3) Appoint yourself the devil’s advocate.

4) Encourage everyone to do their homework.

5) Accept the final results gracefully, especially when they don’t agree with your assumptions going in.

Researchers Richard Cosier and Charles Schwenk explored the idea of creating “programmed conflict” in order to fill necessary team roles. They specifically focused on two valuable tools that can be used to create necessary conflict in team settings: the devil’s advocate, and the dialectic method.[25]

The usefulness of the Devil's Advocate has often been illustrated with famous fiascoes and failures attributed to groupthink such as the Bay of Pigs and Pearl Harbor. Psychologist Irving Janis suggests a couple of approaches to the use of the devil’s advocate. One option is to have everyone in the group act as devil’s advocates, questioning the underlying assumptions upon which the popular choice is based. This method requires that everyone on the team constantly look for possible pitfalls and errors in reasoning before continuing with the most popular idea.

Another option for the devil’s advocate is to assign a specific member of the team to act as a devil’s advocate. This allows everyone else to follow through with what they really think, but the option of controlled dissent is open to the group. The devil’s advocate can ensure that all of the things previously mentioned are brought before the group before a team makes a decision. An important aspect of this method is that the devil’s advocate role should be rotated to different members of the group. Not only will this avoid the problem of the team viewing the devil’s advocate as a contrary person, but it also gives all group members the opportunity to practice their debating skills and learn to take a different viewpoint. According to Cosier and Schwenk, the method for implementing a devil’s advocate is as follows:

1) A proposed course of action is generated.

2) A devil’s advocate (individual or group) is assigned to criticize the proposal.

3) The critique is presented to key decision-makers.

4) Any additional information relevant to the issues is gathered.

5) The decision to adopt, modify, or discontinue the proposed course of action is taken.

6) The decision is monitored.[26]

The dialectic method is much the same as the devil’s advocate method in that an individual or group is assigned to point out possible errors in judgment or fallacies in the development of an idea or process. It differs from the devil’s advocate method in the presentation of the ideas. While the devil’s advocate method can be quite informal in the way concerns are brought before the group, the dialectic method resembles a much more formal and structured debate. The method of creating a thesis and antithesis can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle, and most modern legal systems utilize the dialectic method. The way this method plays out is as follows:

1) A proposed course of action is generated.

2) Assumptions underlying the proposal are identified.

3) A conflicting counter-proposal is generated based on different assumptions.

4) Advocates of each position present and debate the merits of their proposals before key decision-makers.

5) The decision to adopt either position, or some other position, e.g. a compromise, is taken.

6) The decision is monitored.[27]

An important critique of this method is that it is highly prone to shift the focus from the problem or decision at hand to the winner of the debate. This method is usually best employed under the worst of decision making conditions: “high uncertainty and low information availability.”[28]

Both of these methods have their appropriate time and place for employment. The reason the dialectic method works so well for uncertain situations with low information is because it gives both sides the opportunity to seek out a deeper understanding of the issues and solutions before the idea is fully presented to the group. The devil’s advocate is very useful when an idea has already been proposed and it is evident that there has not been sufficient discussion before agreement.

Of course these methods sometimes get out of control. A devil’s advocate can shift too far from agreement and bring up petty concerns. The occasion might even be used to attack the other person under the guise of the devil’s advocate, which might give the attacker a sense of immunity to consequences from speaking out of line. Tom Kelly and Jonathan Littman researched the importance of not letting the devil’s advocate go too far and stifle creativity. They argue that the devil’s advocate could be considered the “biggest innovation killer in America today.”[29] What they see happening is people calling themselves the devil’s advocate to take potshots at what might be really good ideas. They then flood the presentation with only negatives, assuming that disasters are inevitable and impossible to overcome. After they have spoken, the new idea is effectively dead.

With these ideas in mind, Kelly and Littman have researched ten personas to seek out for teams that can help overcome an overzealous devil’s advocate. They emphasize that they do not want us to interpret their feelings for the devil’s advocate as an endorsement of a yes-man culture. They believe in constructive criticism and free debate of the issues, and that is why they have researched and sought out these ten personas. Following is a list of their findings.[30]

The Learning Personas

[edit | edit source]

1. The Anthropologist

2. The Experimenter

3. The Cross-Pollinator

The Organizing Personas

[edit | edit source]

4. The Hurdler

5. The Collaborator

6. The Director

The Building Personas

[edit | edit source]

7. The Experience Architect

8. The Set Designer

9. The Caregiver

10. The Storyteller

The point of this chapter is that all members of the group share similar characteristics. If you have difficulties with a devil’s advocate getting out of hand and you feel they are destroying creativity and stifling innovation, try assigning someone to fill one of these other roles as well. They may not have the complete set of skills necessary, but they will make a difference. The hurdler and experimenter might be particularly useful roles to both overcome an overbearing devil’s advocate and advance intelligent discussion of a new idea’s potential.

Agreeableness in Teams

[edit | edit source]

The key to overcoming excessive agreeableness and groupthink is to assign different members of the team to take on different roles. They do not have to be experts in that role to help advance discussion of the idea to an appropriate level before taking implementation too far.

Level of neuroticism by state‎

Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. It is sometimes called emotional instability. Those who score high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish the ability of a person scoring high on neuroticism to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.[31]

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings.[32]

Sample Neuroticism Items

I am easily disturbed.

I change my mood a lot.

I get irritated easily.

I get stressed out easily.

I get upset easily.

I have frequent mood swings.

I often feel blue.

I worry about things.[33]

According to Freudian theory, neurotic individuals overuse defense mechanisms in order to cope with the anxiety that results from inner conflict. Neurosis used to be an important diagnostic category, but the American Psychiatric Association eliminated the term from its diagnostic manual in 1980. Neurosis lives on, though, in the popular imagination and in personality research. The dimension of “neuroticism vs. emotional stability” is one of the “Big Five” personality variables identified by factor analysis, a statistical means of reducing correlations between large numbers of measures into a smaller number of clusters that best account for the statistical variance.[34]

As a personality variable, neuroticism has to do with the experience of negative emotions. As we go through our days, we all encounter unpleasant experiences and, in response, have emotions such as sadness, fear, guilt, shame, and the like. Some people have more intense and frequent negative reactions than do others. These people are likely to report that they worry a lot, feel down for no reason, or are often tense. Scores on measures of neuroticism tend to be fairly stable, and it seems that there is some genetic tendency to have either high or low levels of negative emotions (though, as with many psychological variables, the nature vs. nurture question can’t be easily resolved).[35]

This posting also talks about how these negative emotions can have implications for happiness. Psychologist Daniel Nettle found that high scores on neuroticism predict low self-reported happiness. This unhappiness is not the result of immorality, incompetence, or foolishness. It is a product of genetic makeup or expereiences.

Neuroticism & Performance

[edit | edit source]

Figure 1 is a model of the relationship between neuroticism and performance in team situations. Each hypothesis shows the correlation between these relationships.

Hypothesis 1a: Individual neuroticism will be negatively related to individual performance

Hypothesis 1b: Team average neuroticism will be negatively related to team performance

Hypothesis 2a: Goal ambiguity will be negatively related to individual performance

Hypothesis 2b: Goal ambiguity will be negatively related to team performance

Hypothesis 3a: The interaction of individual neuroticism and goal ambiguity will be negatively related to individual performance

Hypothesis 3b: The interaction of team average neuroticism and goal ambiguity will be negatively related to team performance

Tett, Jackson & Rothstein (1991) found a significant negative relationship between neuroticism and performance. Neuroticism is not linked to willingness to adapt to new environment as are the other personality dimensions of openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness (McCrea & Costa, 1987). The trait of neuroticism accentuates stress or inhibits coping with it effectively (Nasurdin, Ramayah & Kumaresan, 2005; McMartin,1995) and new situations can be stressful.[36]

Neuroticism is often referred to as a personality disorder. Because of this fact, dealing with this disorder in a group can be a challenge, especially if several members of a group are highly neurotic. It is important to understand how this trait is involved in everyday experiences and how it affects different situations. Being keen to such negative emotions does not just affect one team member, but it can cause the entire team to have a negative tone. In comparing this similar personality among members, highly neurotic people can get anxiety working in a group environment where many things can make them nervous and worry them because they do not have complete control.

Neuroticism in Teams

[edit | edit source]

The personality trait of neuroticism is prevalent in all individuals on some scale as illustrated in the Big Five personality profile. Comparing the level of neuroticism with other members of a group can prove to be similar or diverse. The personility survey on states this of neuroticism: high scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.

Knowing this about members of a team can help communications and relationships, if you understand why they act in certain ways.

Similarities in this trait, if on the medium to low scale, can be beneficial so that team members have the same type of general composure and stableness. Similarities in this trait, if on the high scale, can cause a highly unstable group environment.

Team Element

[edit | edit source]

The team element is a commonality in today’s environment. There are bound to be times when the group we are put into is highly homogeneous. Understanding the above personality traits and how they relate to a team will hopefully help the effectiveness of the group performance and synergy.


[edit | edit source]

1. ^ Whetten, David A. & Cameron, Kim S., "Developing Management Skills,Second Edition" HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

2. ^ Whetten, David A. & Cameron, Kim S., "Developing Management Skills,Second Edition" HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

3. ^, Big Five, Accessed February 13, 2009.

4. ^ Frank LaFasto & Carl Larson "When Teams Work Best" Sage Publications, 2001.

5. ^ J.H. Greenhaus & W.M. Wormley "Effects of race on organizational experiences and career outcomes" Academy of Management Journal 1990. 64.

6. ^ D. Tjosvold & N. Mylononpoulus. "Knowledge construction and creation in organizations" British Journal of Management. 2003, 15.

7. ^ D.E. Berlyne. "Curiousity and exploration" Science, 153,25. 1966.

8. ^ C.E. Hartel & S. Douthitt, "Equally qualified but unequally perceived" Human Resource Development Quarterly. 10. 1998.

9. ^ Frank LaFasto & Carl Larson "When Teams Work Best" Sage Publications, 2001.

10. ^ Frank LaFasto & Carl Larson "When Teams Work Best" Sage Publications, 2001.

11. ^ Valerie McCammon. "Detail-oriented. " Business People 1 Nov. 2004.

12. ^ Sharmila Valli Narayanan. "Hand in glove. " Malaysian Business 16 May 2007. Emphasis added.

13. ^ Mercedes B. Suleik. “THE FINANCIAL EXECUTIVE.” BusinessWorld 19 May 2005. Emphasis added.

14. ^ Johanna Paola D. Poblete. “SPECIAL FEATURE :[1].” BusinessWorld 8 May 2006. Emphasis added.

15. ^ Coren, Stanly. "Personality Differences Between Dog and Cat Owners". Psychology Today online. February 17, 2010.

16. ^ Casey, Michael. "Good Riddance to the Hubris of the 'Aughts'". Wall Street Journal. December 21, 2009.

17. ^ Kline, Theresa J.B. and Thomas A. O'Neill. "Personality as a Predictor of Teamwork: A Business Simulator Study". North American Journal of Psychology.

18. ^ Casey, Michael. "Good Riddance to the Hubris of the 'Aughts'". Wall Street Journal. December 21, 2009.

19. ^ Vogt, Peter. "Understand the Inner Life of Workplace Introverts".

20. ^ Martirossian, Jasmine. Decision Making in Communities: Why groups of smart people sometimes make bad decisions. Alexandria, VA: Community Associations Press, 2001, 74.

21. ^ Wald, Matthew L. and Schwarz, John. "Shuttle Inquiry Uncovers Flaws in Communication." New York Times 04 Aug. 2003,

22. ^ Elbo, Reylito A. H.. Business World (Manila) Oct 16, 1996: 24.

23. ^ Elbo, Reylito A. H.. Business World (Manila) Mar 6, 1996: 20.

24. ^ Crowe, Mattison. "Why the Members of Your Team Won't Speak Up, and What You Can Do About It". Harvard Management Update November, 1996.

25-28. ^ Cosier, Richard A. and Schwenk, Charles R. "Agreement and Thinking Alike: Ingredients for Poor Decisions". Academy of Management Executive 1990.

29. ^ Kelly, Tom with Littman, Jonathan. The Ten Faces of Innovation : IDEO's strategies for beating the devil's advocate & driving creativity throughout your organization. New York: Currency/Doubleday, 2005.

30. ^ See The Ten Faces of Innovation pp. 8-12 for a summary of each.

31-32. ^, Neuroticism, Accessed February 13, 2009.

33. ^, Big Five Personality Traits, Accessed February 13, 2009.

34. ^ Ritzema, Bob. "Neuroticism"., 2009.

35. ^ Ritzema, Bob. "Neuroticism"., 2009.

36. ^ Betts, Stephen C. "Neuroticism and Effective Teamwork:The Moderating Role Of Goal Ambuguity on Performance in Team Situations". William Paterson University, 2005.