Team Composition Considerations

  • team-progress

    Multiple studies have found that team performance increases when teams are composed of members who are:

    • Intelligent
    • Conscientious
    • Agreeable
    • Prefer to work in teams
    • Diverse regarding functional background (e.g., marketing, engineering, sales)
  • team-composition

    In general, composing a team of talented, task-proficient team members increases the probability of team effectiveness, but does not guarantee it.

    • A team of experts does not guarantee an expert team.
    • Teams may struggle when individual members are proficient on technical skills because they are not team players and not a good fit for the team.
    • Therefore, members should be selected based on both taskwork (technical competencies necessary to perform the task) and teamwork (characteristics that help members work together) competencies.
    • Beyond the taskwork skills and abilities of members, research has demonstrated that generic teamwork skills predict team effectiveness, including:
      • Interpersonal skills
      • Communication skills
      • Preference for teamwork
      • Agreeableness
  • team-competencies

    In addition to generic competencies, it is important to consider contingent teamwork competencies for specific teams that are influenced by team type, task demands, dynamism and team staffing variables.

  • individual competencies

    Choosing team members based on individual competencies alone is not sufficient to ensure team success.

    • The fit of members with each other and the team as a whole must be taken into account

Mohammed, S., and McKay, A.S. (2017). Selection for team membership: Complexity, contingency, and dynamism across multiple levels. In J.L. Farr and N.T. Tippins (Eds.), Handbook of Employee Selection (second edition, pp. 812-832). New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).

Salas, E., Shuffler, M.L., Thayer, A.L., Bedwell, W.L., and Lazzara, E.H. (2015). Understanding and improving teamwork in organizations: A scientifically based practical guide. Human resource management, 54(4), 599-622.

From the Penn State Team Science website: