Back to: Phase 1: Gathering the Team
Team Composition Considerations
Multiple studies have found that team performance increases when teams are composed of members who are:
- Prefer to work in teams
- Diverse regarding functional background (e.g., marketing, engineering, sales)
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
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.
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: https://ctsi.psu.edu/research-support/team-science-toolbox/formation/