Stepping toward Collective Mindsets: An Investigation of Group- and Leader-based Synchrony in Work Teams Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
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  • Vacharkulksemsuk, Tanya
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • The keys to creating effective team performance have long been under investigation by researchers. Past research identifies social cohesion as an important precursor, but how to achieve social cohesion is lesser understood. This dissertation proposes that at the core of an effective team is synchrony--the act of moving together as one--which has been shown to predict a variety of psychological and social outcomes. The question of whether--and if so, how--synchrony's benefits extend to the domain of team performance, however, remains untested. This multilevel study consists of two studies examining real undergraduate student teams working together over an academic semester. First, Study 1 tests for construct validity of a synchrony-based relational leadership skill, called synchrony detection, hypothesized to be related to unlocking greater team synchrony. Synchrony detection is proposed to be comprised of two latent factors: pattern recognition style and emotional competency, each with three and four measures, respectively. In addition, I developed a novel measure for this dissertation called AccuSync, which aims to gauge an individual's synchrony detection ability. Results of a confirmatory factor analysis in Study 1 indicate that the battery of measures used here do not support synchrony detection as a construct. AccuSync also demonstrates low scale reliability. Taken together, results of Study 1 warrant more construct validity studies, including development of more refined synchrony detection measures. Future considerations, promising exploratory correlations, and significance of synchrony detection are discussed in light of the null results. Second, Study 2 tests a series of predictive links between synchrony, entitativity, and cohesion as team-level characteristics and their relationship to team performance. Results of structural equation models in Study 2 reveal that synchrony unlocks team performance, as measured by instructor-assigned project grades. Specifically, synchrony enables a social process of greater team entitativity and cohesion to emerge within teams, in turn predicting better team performance. In light of significant Study 2 results, analytical alternatives for considering team-level emergent processes are provided, along with implications for leaders, managers, and educators wishing to extract the benefits of synchrony to build cohesive, yet effective, teams.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Fredrickson, Barbara
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013
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