Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Rick Hackett
The aims of this study are three fold: (1) to identify the trait profiles (combination of personality attributes and cognitive ability) of effective team members, (2) to identify those behaviours linking personality attributes to effective team performance and (3) to identify those behaviours linking cognitive ability to effective team performance. The primary contribution of this study is in meeting the last two objectives. Ultimately, the objective was to relate team members' personality and cognitive ability to the team's performance by better understanding the intervening (in)effective behaviours. Subjects were 480 second year undergraduate business students in 94 teams of 5 to 6 members. Teams can be examined at two levels -- at the level of the individual team member and at the level of the team (by combining individual team member attribute information and relating it to team performance). At the level of the individual team member, three of the Big Five personality traits -- extroversion, conscientiousness and cognitive ability -- predict the effectiveness of team members. However, team members who are very high in extroversion tend to be unfocused and this is detrimental to their performance. At the team level of analysis, the greater the proportion of team members high in cognitive ability, conscientiousness, extroversion and openness to experience the better a team performs. Using findings from the two levels, it is suggested that human resource practitioners select team members who are in the top one-third of the population in openness to experience and conscientiousness. They should select extroverts with percentile ranking between 66% and 93%. Lastly, they should seek people high in cognitive ability. Team members engage in specific (in)effective behaviours. These behaviours were grouped and a typology emerged that was confirmed through Confirmatory Factor Analysis and builds on previous typologies. The identification of these behaviours is essential to training people to become more effective team contributors. Generally, neurotic team members are unfocused, ineffective in conflict situations and provide the team with little input. Extroverts are active members but tend to be unfocused. Members open to experience generate ideas, encourage others to express ideas and synthesize and summarize team ideas. Agreeable team members communicate effectively, avert conflict and ensure everyone participates. Conscientious team members focus on task-related behaviours -- set goals, get everyone working towards the goals and monitor progress. Team members high in cognitive ability not only take on task-related behaviour but are also socially adept.
Taggar, Simon, "Personality, Cognitive Ability and Behaviour: The Antecedents of Effective Autonomous Work Teams" (1997). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1079.