08:29pm Wednesday 23 October 2019

Working it out

A new project at UTAS aims to find out what makes a great, functioning team at work by researching the ways work-teams interact in order to achieve work-related goals and to overcome challenges.
PhD candidate in the UTAS School of Management, Sarah Dawkins, is investigating the collective psychological capacities of work- teams.

Research investigating psychological capacities, like resilience, optimism, hope and self efficacy within individual employees, has shown these capacities are directly related to employee performance, reduced absenteeism and increased employee commitment to their organisation. 

However, little research has investigated the collective psychological capacities of work teams and the influence of these shared capacities on various outcomes that are crucial to organisations.

Ms Dawkins said work-teams are very important to the success of organisations.

“Team-based collaboration is becoming progressively more important to organisational performance,” she said.

“I want to find out what collective psychological capacities result in good team work but also what characteristics of a work team, such as team size and job interdependence, may enhance or inhibit positive psychological functioning within  teams.”

Ms Dawkins said her work would also aim to find out if these positive, functional capacities can be trained or developed, to improve the functioning of work teams, in terms of performance, commitment to the organisation and employee satisfaction.

“These capacities have been shown to be developable within individual employees through the completion of brief training workshops, but less is known about developing the positive psychological functioning of work teams and how this may translate to overall team performance.”

The study aims to address this gap in knowledge to help with the development of effective training to assist organisations and managers maximise the potential of their work-teams.

“We are very keen to hear from organisations, businesses or managers interested in participating in our study,” Ms Dawkins said.

About taking part in the study:

The study requires between 80-100 work-teams (comprising of a minimum three employees) and their managers from a cross section of businesses and organisations to participate by completing a brief survey. 

The employee survey consists of a series of questionnaires relating to their perceptions of team performance, team conflict and cooperation, job satisfaction, absenteeism and turnover intent. 

The manager’s survey consists of a single questionnaire pertaining to the team’s performance.

The employee survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and the manager’s survey takes approximately five minutes to complete.

Employees and managers will only be asked to complete the survey on one occasion, with no follow up questionnaires or interviews. 

Employees and managers can choose to complete the anonymous survey either online via a secured website or the surveys can be posted directly to employees and managers.  All data will be treated confidentially. An overall confidential report regarding an organisation or business’ work-team functioning in the assessed capacities can be provided to managers upon request, along with any recommendations to further enhance the potential of the work-teams

For more information please contact Ms Sarah Dawkins (PhD Student) on (03) 6226 2713 or Sarah.Dawkins@utas.edu.au or the Chief Investigator, Dr Angela Martin, on (03) 6226 2713 or by email: Angela.Martin@utas.edu.au

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