Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

The primary focus of this book is an examination of longitudinal team communication and its impact on team performance. This theoretically-grounded, holistic examination of team communication includes cross-condition comparisons of team (i.e., distributed/in person, unrestricted/time pressured, two performance episodes) and employs multiple quantitative methodological approaches to examine the phenomena of interest.

This book simultaneously provides practical content for researchers and practitioners in the social sciences and humanities. Included are step-by-step instructions for the methodologies employed, and distillations of findings via Managerial Minutes that highlight best practices and/or examples to help enhance team communication in practice.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Team Communication in Theory and Practice

Abstract
Teams are ubiquitous in organizations. Yet, little is known about their dynamic team processes. One particular gap in our understanding is when and how often these types of processes are necessary. To address this gap, we examine longitudinal team communication exchanged among team members collaborating under different working conditions. In this chapter, we begin by summarizing what is known about longitudinal team communication. We then introduce the two theoretical frameworks used to guide our research, namely Marks et al. (2001) recurring phase model of team processes and Bartunek and Woodman’s (2015) temporal dimensions of organizational change. As well, we acknowledge that teams collaborate within a variety of contexts. Herein, we describe two aspects of context upon which we focus: communication media and time availability. The chapter concludes with an overview of the book and rationale for why researchers and practitioners may find value in reading it.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 2. Structured Literature Review

Abstract
Limited team research has focused on how communication evolves over time. To showcase what has been accomplished, a structured literature review was conducted and is described in this chapter. The purpose of the review is to (1) highlight the variety of approaches available for researchers to gather, code, analyze, and visualize longitudinal communication data and (2) demonstrate the breadth of knowledge about team interactions that can be obtained by implementing such approaches.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 3. The Study

Abstract
Herein, we describe the data used to conduct the research reported in this book. The chapter begins with a description of the sample and the design of the laboratory study that was conducted, including a description of the laboratory task and operationalization of the context in which the teams collaborated. The rest of the chapter is devoted to describing how we collected, cleaned, and coded our data. The dataset was comprised of both team performance measures and the coded communication strings. The chapter ends with a brief summary of where portions of this dataset were previously examined. In the chapter appendix, an example dataset is described that will be used in the appendices of subsequent chapters to demonstrate the methodological approaches used.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 4. Rhythm of Team Communication

Abstract
Team conversations ebb and flow as members collaborate to complete their tasks. This ebb and flow may be characterized as having varying degrees of stability, predictability, and complexity. In this chapter, we examine these characteristics to understand the rhythm of communication using recurrence quantification analysis, including constructing recurrence plots that facilitate visualizing the communication rhythm. Our results underscore when teams may benefit from focused versus cyclic conversations, whether those conversations should follow predictable patterns or be seemingly random, and if the time spent talking about specific topics should be consistent or vary over time. These insights may be dependent upon a variety of issues including where in the lifecycle the teams are, how much time they have to complete their task, and what media is available for communicating.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 5. Timing and Pacing of Team Communication

Abstract
Whether a team is tasked with a developing a new product, incrementally improving an existing situation, or reacting to an emergency, all members of the project team must collectively discuss what they need to be doing, how they will do it, and when it will happen. To understand how these conversations may transpire, we use network pictographs and basic statistics to examine communication timing and pacing in this chapter. Timing identifies what topics a team may benefit from discussing early versus those that may be more appropriately considered later. Pacing will help team leaders consider when and how frequently teams may need to iterate among topics at various times over their lifecycles. The specific topics, timing, and pacing may differ depending upon the conditions under which the team is working. Planning the timing and pacing of conversations are rarely considered explicitly; yet, giving these communication aspects some consideration may facilitate more efficient interactions among team members.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 6. Polyphony in Team Communication

Abstract
When teams are convened, they have many issues to discuss. Some of their conversations occur all at once; while, others require shifting among topics to make key decisions that reflect all the information available. Understanding how these conversations transpire, including when topics are discussed and in what order, may help teams perform effectively. In this chapter, we consider communication polyphony using event history analysis; specifically, we employ proportional hazard models and Andersen-Gill intensity models. This approach results in identifying the relationships among the points in time when teams complete conversations about specific topics. The findings from these analyses highlight the order in which topics are discussed, when action is initiated, how often teams cycle through various topics, and any relationships these points of interest have with team performance. Differences attributable to the conditions under which the teams collaborate are also examined.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 7. Sequence of Team Communication

Abstract
In this chapter, we examine communication sequences to identify different types of communication behaviors that may be most advantageous to teams. Specifically, we investigate how teams converse about our topics of interest by classifying both the topic (e.g., tactical strategy, mission analysis) and purpose (e.g., clarify, suggest, inform) of each exchanged message. We examine the sequential order in which these messages are transmitted and determine if any differences in sequence are attributable to the conditions under which the team is working or their performance on the assigned task. This investigation is accomplished using hierarchical cluster analysis and dendrograms that facilitate visualizing the results. Capturing how team communication unfolds at this level of detail highlights the types of messages or ordering of messages that may facilitate or impede team progress, thereby offering guidance about why seemingly similar teams often have varying performance.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Chapter 8. What We Learned about Longitudinal Team Communication

Abstract
Throughout this book, we have examined longitudinal team communication to glimpse into the inner workings of teams. Our efforts provide insights into what, when, how, and why team communication changes over time, including any corresponding impact on performance. Further, we have shown that conditions under which teams are collaborating matter. In this chapter, we bring these insights together to look holistically at what has been learned from this research. In particular, we translate the research findings into specific research recommendations and on-the-ground managerial implications. We then articulate the theoretical contributions that may be derived from our efforts and the value of expanding team researchers’ methodological toolboxes. While acknowledging the limitations of our study, we advance opportunities for new research in this area. We end with concluding thoughts about longitudinal team communication and the importance of considering it to be an integral component of a team’s journey worthy of focused consideration.
Sara McComb, Deanna Kennedy

Backmatter

Additional information

Premium Partner

    Image Credits