Academic journal article Group Facilitation

Validation of the Team Diagnostic Survey and a Field Experiment to Examine the Effects of an Intervention to Increase Team Effectiveness

Academic journal article Group Facilitation

Validation of the Team Diagnostic Survey and a Field Experiment to Examine the Effects of an Intervention to Increase Team Effectiveness

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The aims of the study presented in this article were to validate the Swedish version of the Team Diagnostic Survey (TDS), and to examine effects of a feedback intervention to increase team effectiveness. The TDS is based on Hackman's (2002) theory of group effectiveness which described three main criteria of performance and 14 factors that should affect team effectiveness. Participants in the survey were employees (N=533) across several different workplaces. Analyses were done at the group level, and data from 97 teams was included in the final data material. The sample (n=237) for the randomized field experiment consisted of 31 real life work teams from the larger survey sample (n=533/97). Results from validation data indicate that the TDS has satisfactory high Cronbach's Alpha values on most factors. Cronbachs's Alpha is a statistical measure of internal consistency; that is, how closely related a set of items are as a group. Results from the field experiment indicated that there was an overall increase in self-reported team effectiveness from first to second measurement. On several factors of team effectiveness a number were significantly higher for those receiving the TDS-based feedback. The outcomes suggest that group work practice might benefit from using research-oriented surveys such as the Team Diagnostic Survey as an effective feedback tool.

KEYWORDS

team diagnosis, team effectiveness, performance, development, intervention.

Introduction

The aims of the study were to validate a Swedish language version of Hackman's (2002) Team Diagnostic Survey (TDS) and to examine the effects of it as an intervention to improve team effectiveness. It was hoped that group facilitation practice would benefit from a self-reporting measure that takes into account the most important factors that leaders or facilitators should work with to enhance team effectiveness. To get an overall picture of team effectiveness improves communication between facilitators, participants and stakeholders.

The validation data followed the structure of the original proposed by Wageman, Hackman and Lehman (2005). In a field experiment, TDS was used as a feedback tool and it was the first attempt to date to use the TDS instrument on a before-after design.

People responsible for workgroups often want a straight answer to the question 'How are we doing?' But without an accessible empirical instrument available to get valid data that fits the question, the answer is not often within reach of groups. There is today an increased awareness of the complexity of team effectiveness. But, at least in Sweden, management consultants are too often hired instead of skilled group facilitators to improve team effectiveness. Often managers are disappointed with consultants selling them fixed solutions based on oversimplifications of group dynamics. Even if these consultants are aware of the multidimensionality of team effectiveness, they often use non-validated instruments. In the best case, these instruments have a rather high face validity but low construct or discriminant validity. On the other hand, the scientific studies of team effectiveness have long involved research that examines a few variables at a time. In short, consultant-developed instruments lack the reliability and validity that may be required for the scientific study of team effectiveness. Conversely scholar-developed instruments can be far too complex and generally don't make communication between researcher and client any easier. To meet this need, feedback instruments should be able to provide answers to questions like: 'What can leaders do to help groups be more productive and satisfying? Why do similar groups vary so much in effectiveness? How does the type of task affect the group work? What organizational context is best for the development of teams?' That is, the challenge is to create instruments that are valid, reliable, and can give answers to the questions given by group work shareholders. …

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