Team mental models, relationship conflict and effectiveness over time
Team Performance Management
Purpose: This study aims to evaluate the extent to which similar team mental models (TMMs) at the beginning of a team’s lifecycle influence the level of relationship conflict within the team, TMM-similarity at the middle of the team lifecycle, and in turn team effectiveness. Thus far, no research has analysed the mediating role of a dysfunctional team process between TMM-similarity and effectiveness. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study was conducted in a strategy and management competition involving 414 individuals who comprised 92 teams (3-5 members). We collected data at four moments in time. The questionnaires were developed based on validated scales and adapted for the specific context. Findings: Our results provide support for the mediating role of conflict between the similarity of team-TMMs at the beginning of team lifecycle and effectiveness. Our results also provide support for the mediating role of task-TMMs in the middle of team lifecycle between task-TMMs at the beginning of team lifecycle and effectiveness. Findings suggest that teams with more similar TMMs, experience less relationship conflict which in turn improves effectiveness. Research limitations/implications: In this study TMM-accuracy was not analysed. Future research should analyse the role of TMM similarity and accuracy. Further, future research should explore the optimal level of TMM-similarity and when the similarity of TMM is disruptive to teams. Originality/Value: This paper sheds light on the role of conflict as a dysfunctional team process between TMM-similarity and effectiveness. Moreover, this paper shows that more research on TMM evolution is needed.
Relationship conflict; Team effectiveness; Team mental models; Teams; Time