Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice 2006, Vol. 10, No. 4, 249 –271
Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association 1089-2699/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.199
What Makes a Good Team Player? Personality and Team Effectiveness James E. Driskell
Florida Maxima Corporation
Gerald F. Goodwin
US Army Research Institute
University of Central Florida
Patrick Gavan O’Shea
Human Resources Research Organization
Good team players are often deﬁned in trait terms; that is, they are described as dependable, ﬂexible, or cooperative. Our goal is to examine the relationship between team member personality traits and team effectiveness. However, to understand the effects of personality on team performance requires greater speciﬁcity in how personality is described and in how team effectiveness is described. A hierarchical model of team member personality is presented that deﬁnes higherlevel personality traits and speciﬁc facets relevant to team performance. Next, a classiﬁcation of the core teamwork dimensions underlying effective team performance is presented. Finally, predictions are derived linking team member personality facets to speciﬁc teamwork requirements. Keywords: personality, teams, team work
As Ilgen (1999) and others have noted, modern organizations have increased their reliance on teams, and this has served to foster applied research on teams in task settings. After decades in which reviewers were forced to act as apologists for the lack of vitality and progress in this ﬁeld, research on teams has returned with a vengeance. One reason for this renaissance in team research is that effort follows demand, and only recently has attention been devoted to the dynamics of team performance in applied settings. Whereas most early research on group performance took place in academic settings, much of the resent resurgence in team research has been driven by organizational requirements. This realization of the value of teams for accomplishing tasks has shifted the emphasis of research from a primary focus on team pro-
James E. Driskell, Florida Maxima Corporation; Gerald F. Goodwin, US Army Research Institute; Eduardo Salas, Department of Psychology and Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida; and Patrick Gavan O’Shea, Human Resources Research Organization. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to James E. Driskell, Florida Maxima Corporation, 507 N. New York Avenue, R-1, Winter Park, FL 32789. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 249
cesses to a broader focus on team inputs, team outcomes, and the factors that mediate the effects of inputs on outcomes (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005). One area that is of considerable theoretical and practical interest is the topic of team member personality and team effectiveness: What are the traits that deﬁne a good team player? One of the earliest investigations of the relationship between personality and team performance was undertaken by Mann (1959), who concluded his review of this literature with the expectation that this work could serve as a takeoff point for further research. However, despite some attempts along the way (e.g., Driskell, Hogan, & Salas, 1987), the next steps to examine personality and team performance were taken almost 40 years later by Barrick, Stewart, Neubert, and Mount (1998); Barry and Stewart (1997); Hollenbeck et al. (2002); Judge and Bono (2000); LePine, Hollenbeck, Ilgen, and Hedlund, 1997; Neuman and Wright (1999); and others. Broadly speaking, these studies attempt to deﬁne the relationship between “Big Five” personality traits (emotional stability, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) and team performance.
DRISKELL, GOODWIN, SALAS, AND O’SHEA
Although these results have demonstrated the relevance of team member personality to team effectiveness, there are two ways in which we wish to extend...
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