The Role of Team Cohisiveness in GVT Performance
Lead Author: Ernesto Tavoletti
In GVTs there is a big concern for free riding of single individuals and its detremental effect on team performance. There is also a concern for the effects of culture on peer evaluations and the assumption is that students with a ‘collectivist’ culture may be more likely to protect undeperforming team mates and so ‘lie’ about free riding and underperformance of colleagues. As a consequence, efforts are made to introduce methods to control and detect individual contributions (peer evaluations is a main one) out of any cultural bias and so alleviate the problem. The point is that sanctions based on measuring individual contributions may be detrimental for team cohesiveness and so team performance. So, the main focus of ‘individualistic’ cultures on free riding and individual performance may damage team performance.
The provocation is that in ‘individualistic’ cultures the concern for free riding and ‘lies’ in peer evaluations is a ‘moral concern’ more than a ‘performance concern’. As it misses The to consider the very central role of cohesiveness in team performance, the effect on it of sanctions and the effects of it on peer evaluations.
1) We want to investigate if ‘cohesiveness’ is a main cause of performance and if it is moderated by initial skills in the team
2) We want to investigate if ‘collectivist’ (‘individualistic’) cultures are more (less) active in promoting cohesiveness in the team
3) We want to investigate if ‘collectivist’ (‘individualistic’) cultures have inferior (superior) individual technical skills.
Important note: for collectivist/individualistic cultures we mean the cultures of each student as opposed the culture of the nation where she/he was socialized.
Collectivist/individualistic cultures could be measured by the Cultural Value Survey and Working Style Survey in our currently used weekly surveys
It is relevant to bring the attention back to the roots of team performance, out of the predominant ‘mean’ debate about free-riding and individual contributions. The moral concern focused on measuring individual contributions to the team or focused on introducing sanctions and controls (as peer evaluations) to avoid free riding may be harmful as it misses the fundamental role of cohesiveness, the superior importance of preserving it and the effects of sanctions and controls on cohesiveness. In fact, while ‘peer evaluation’ is a very attractive label for academics and its use at the very end of the X-Culture session limits or avoid any damage to team performance in the X-Culture exercise, its use inside teams who should cooperate for a second or a third time might well damage cohesiveness and so future performance.
The research has been inspired by an old and fundamental article by Moran & Goshal (1996), AMR, about the dangers of using sanctions to avoid ‘opportunistic behavoiur’ and the missed theoretical distinction between “”proclivity to behave opportunistically”” (that is increased by sanctions) and “”opportunistic behaviour”” (that is reduced by sanctions). The predominant focus on sanctions and controls neglet: 1) the role of cohesineness on team performance; 2) the damages on team cohesiveness produced by sanctions and controls.
H1: ‘Collectivist’ (‘individualistic’) cultures are more (less) effective in promoting team cohesiveness.
Independent variable: collectivist culture of individuals (measured by the Cultural Value Survey and Working Style Survey in our currently used weekly surveys)
Dependent variable: activeness in promoting team cohesiveness (measured using ‘peer evaluations’ as a proxy of ‘cohesiveness’)
H2: ‘Collectivist’ (‘individualistic’) cultures are associated with inferior (superior) individual technical skills.
Independent variable: collectivist culture (measured by the Cultural Value Survey and Working Style Survey in our currently used weekly surveys)
Dependent variable: initial linguistic and technical skills of team members (measured by X-Culture initial survey)
H3: Cohesiveness in the team is a driving force of team performance, moderated by the initial technical skills of team members
Independent variable: cohesiveness (measured using ‘peer evaluations’ as a proxy of ‘cohesiveness’)
Dependent variable: performance (measured by the evaluation of the final report)
Moderating Varibles: initial linguistic and technical skills of team members (measured by X-Culture initial survey)
Statistical tests (regression) using data from X-Culture.
Not yet defined, but preferably a higher-ranked (A or A+) journal.
Opportunities for potential collaborators/Co-Authors
1. THEORY: Colleagues with strong theoretical skills: Sign up if you have a strong knowledge of the field, especially in cross-cultural context, and if you can make a meaningful and significant contribution to developing the theory and writing up the Theory section
2. DATA ANALYSIS: Colleagues with strong data analysis skills and prior experience with X-Culture data analysis. Apply if you have advanced skills in data analysis, and if you have a good knowledge about the X-Culture data and can work with the X-Culture database (extract the needed data, prepare them for analysis, conduct the analysis).