Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Group Performance in Information Systems Project Groups: An Empirical Study

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Group Performance in Information Systems Project Groups: An Empirical Study

Article excerpt

Background

A review of the literature on group research indicates that group performance is influenced by the following constructs: team building (Hardy & Crace, 1997), and group cohesion consisting of task and social cohesion (Chang & Bordia, 2001). In this study, we attempt to develop and test the relationships between these constructs in one comprehensive model so that we can understand the underlying determinants of group performance.

Group Performance

Group performance has been conceptualized in terms of objective and subjective outcomes. Objective assessment includes quantifiable measures, such as group productivity, whereas subjective measures include the subjective ratings of group performance. Hackman (1990) identifies three dimensions of the group-performance construct: first, task effectiveness, which refers to the degree to which group output meets the standards of the organization; second, system viability, which refers to the degree to which the process of carrying out the work enhances the capability of members to work together interdependently in the future; finally, professional growth, which refers to the degree to which the group experience contributes to the growth and personal well-being of team members. To date, and to the best of our knowledge, only one study (Chang & Bordia, 2001) has tested this measure of group performance empirically. However, the importance of assessing this construct is critical, since it is the dependent variable in most group-related studies.

Group Cohesion

Conceptualization and measurement of group cohesion dates back to Festinger et al. (1950), who defined group cohesion as "the total field of forces which act on members to remain in the group. These forces may depend on the attractiveness or unattractiveness of either the prestige of the group, members of the group, or the activities in which the group engages" (p. 274). The importance of this construct has been indicated as the key to effective work groups in a number of studies (Carless & De Paola, 2000; Cohen & Bailey, 1997; Forsyth; 1990; Yang & Tang, 2004). More importantly, conceptualization and measurement of group cohesion has been based on models with a variety of factor structures. Mullen & Copper (1994) tested a construct with a one-factor structure, namely interpersonal attraction to the group. In their conceptualization of group cohesion as a two-factor model, Widmeyer, Brawley, and Carron (1985) distinguished between individual attraction to the group and group integration. More recently, Cota, Evans, Dion, Kilik, and Longman (1995) defined group cohesion as a multidimensional construct based on the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ) developed for sports groups by Widmeyer et al. (1985). According to Cota et al. (1995) group cohesion has four dimensions: (1) Group Integration-Task, (2) Group Integration-Social, (3) Individual Attraction to Group-Task, and (4) Individual Attraction to Group-Social. Group Integration-Task is defined as an individual team member's perception of the similarity and closeness within the team in accomplishing the task, whereas Group Integration-Social reflects an individual team member's perception of closeness and bonding regarding the team's social activities. Individual Attraction to Group-Task describes an individual team member's feeling about personal involvement in the group task, whereas Individual Attraction to Group-Social reflects an individual team member's feeling about personal involvement in the social interaction of the group.

More recent studies, such as Carless and De Paola (2000), introduced the concept of separating task and social cohesion when defining group cohesion. They tested the group cohesion construct as (1) a single-factor model, defining cohesion as highly interrelated perceptions of the group; (2) a two-factor model based on Widmeyer et al. (1985); (3) a two-factor model based on task and social cohesion; and (4) a four-factor model based on the Cota et al. …

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