Psychological collectivism and team effectiveness: moderating effects of trust and psychological safety.

Author:Mayfield, Clifton O.


Psychological collectivism (PC) is a value that refers to a person's general orientation toward others when working in groups (Jackson, Colquitt, Wesson, & Zapata-Phelan, 2006). The collectivist favors group affiliation and the collective effort of the group over independent and autonomous effort. Individuals high in PC readily adopt group goals, are concerned about the well-being of the group and its members, accept group norms, and are likely to sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of the group (Jackson et al., 2006; Triandis, 1995; J. A. Wagner, 1995; J. A. Wagner, III & Moch, 1986). PC has been shown to predict certain individual behaviors critical for effective team functioning. For example, high PC team members are more likely to share emotional and informational support (Drach-Zahavy, 2004; Randall, Resick, & DeChurch, 2011), display cooperative behaviors (Eby & Dobbins, 1997), engage in helpful citizenship and impression management behaviors (Jackson et al., 2006; Kim & Lee, 2012; Moorman & Blakely, 1995; Shao, Resick, & Hargis, 2011) and avoid counterproductive and/or withdrawal behaviors (Jackson et al., 2006). Additionally, PC increases the propensity for taking charge (Love & Dustin, 2014), enhances members' perceptions of the team's capabilities (Turel & Connelly, 2012), and promotes team member performance (Bell, 2007; Dierdorff, Bell, & Belohlav, 2011; Jackson et al., 2006).

Noting the positive influence of PC in group environments, and the critical importance of effective teamwork in both business and higher education, more research is needed to better understand the nomological network (Cronbach & Meehl, 1955) of this important team-relevant construct (Dierdorff et al., 2011; Gundlach, Zivnuska, & Stoner, 2006; Jackson et al., 2006; Love & Dustin, 2014). In response to this call the present research has two purposes. First, we extend the nomological network of PC by testing its effects on three attitudinal indicators of team effectiveness: team satisfaction, team identification, and a willingness to work with teammates. Second, we seek to further understand the impact of PC by examining the potential moderating effects of two emergent states, trust and psychological safety.

Psychological Collectivism and Team Effectiveness

A team is effective to the extent it provides benefit to both its members and the organization (Hackman, Wageman, Ruddy, & Ray, 2000). Teamwork requires members to interact interdependently to be successful and much of the existing PC literature focuses on the relationship between collectivism and behaviors that promote goal accomplishment through team member interaction (e.g., knowledge, skills, and information sharing, cooperative behaviors, and citizenship behaviors). These interactive behaviors fall under "team processes" in the input-process-output model (Marks, Mathieu, & Zaccaro, 2001) and reflect the interdependent actions of team members necessary to organize work and achieve common goals. In addition to performance-based outcomes, team effectiveness includes the cognitive and affective reactions that arise through these team member interactions and processes (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008). To broaden our understanding of PC, we review literature that supports a relationship between PC and these cognitive and affective outcomes.

The satisfaction of team members has long been identified as an important attitudinal measure of team effectiveness (Cohen & Bailey, 1997; Gladstein, 1984; Hackman, 1987). Conceptually, collectivistic-oriented individuals who favor group affiliations will be more satisfied in a group environment, and at least two studies provide empirical support for a positive relationship between PC and team member satisfaction (Shaw, Duffy, & Stark, 2000; Stark & Bierly, 2009). Team member satisfaction is associated with positive emergent states such as altruism, trust, and team cohesion (Costa, 2003; Nguyen, Seers, & Hartman, 2008; Quigley, Tekleab, & Tesluk, 2007).

Another indicator of team effectiveness is team identification (Dokko, Kane, & Tortoriello, 2014; Henttonen, Johanson, & Janhonen, 2014). Prior research has found that team identification is predictive of helpful citizenship behaviors (Bergami & Bagozzi, 2000; Gerben S. Van Der Vegt, Van De Vliert, & Oosterhof, 2003), cooperative behaviors (Fiol & O'Connor, 2005; Riketta & Van Dick, 2005; Tyler & Blader, 2001), and team member performance (G.S. Van der Vegt & Bunderson, 2005). Social identity theory provides a general explanation for individuals' cognitive and emotional attachment to a group (Ashforth & Mael, 1989; Hogg & Terry, 2000). In an organizational environment, team identification is described as a team member's sense of oneness with the team that facilitates the adoption of the team's goals as his or her own (Hogg & Mullin, 1999; Mael & Ashforth, 1992). Like those with a collectivistic orientation, team members who identify with their team exert greater effort toward team goals and are more likely to form cognitions or attitudes and display behaviors that ensure the continued welfare of the team (Brickson, 2000; Han & Harms, 2010). For example, team identification has been shown to be related to increased trust and reduced relationship and task conflict within a team (Fiol & O'Connor, 2005; Goh & Wasko, 2012; Han & Harms, 2010).

Team effectiveness is also reflected in the willingness of team members to continue working together, or to work again with one another (Hackman & Morris, 1975; Sundstrom, de Meuse, & Futrell, 1990). A team member's willingness to work with the team (sometimes labeled intent to remain with the team) has been shown to be related to team processes and outcomes, including information and knowledge sharing (Staples & Webster, 2008) and team performance (Bayazit & Mannix, 2003). Willingness to work with the team has been included in other broad variables of interest in team research, including team viability and team commitment, and have been found to be positively associated with team performance (Aube & Rousseau, 2011; Marrone, Tesluk, & Carson, 2007) and cooperative behaviors among team members (Costa & Anderson, 2011).

PC is a personal value that emphasizes an orientation toward the goals, success, and continued well-being of the group. Thus, in our first hypothesis we confirm that PC is linked to our three indicators of team effectiveness.

Hypothesis 1: Psychological collectivism will be positively related to (a) team satisfaction, (b) team identification, and (c) willingness to work with teammates.

The Moderating Effects of Two Emergent States: Trust and Psychological Safety

The ability of the team to function effectively is greatly impacted by "emergent states" which reflect the attitudes, values, cognitions, and emotions held by members about the group (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005; Mathieu et al., 2008). Emergent states develop over time and are the products of both interactive team processes and team member experiences (Marks et al., 2001). Trust and psychological safety are two emergent states that impact team functioning and team effectiveness (DeChurch & Mesmer-Magnus, 2010; Marks et al., 2001; Mathieu et al., 2008) by shaping the psycho-social climate of a team. Given the pivotal role that trust and psychological safety have in influencing these relational processes, we propose that trust and psychological safety moderate the relationship between PC and team outcomes, particularly those cognitive and affective outcomes that are relational in nature such as team satisfaction, team identification and a willingness to work with teammates.

Team trust

Golembiewski and McConkie (1975) noted, "perhaps there is no single variable which so thoroughly influences interpersonal and group behavior as does trust" (p. 131). Trust, as an emergent state, emphasizes the willingness to accept vulnerability based on positive expectations regarding the actions or intent of another person or entity (Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt, & Camerer, 1998). More simply, trust is the expectation that others will behave as expected and not take advantage or be opportunistic (Jarvenpaa, Knoll, & Leidner, 1998). Due to the inherent interdependence of teamwork, it is generally accepted that trust between team members is needed for effective team processes and performance (De Jong & Elfring, 2010; Fiore, Salas, & Cannon-Bowers, 2001; Kiffin-Petersen, 2004; Kirkman, Jones, & Shapiro, 2000; LaFasto & Larson, 2001; Whitener, Bordt, Korsgaard, & Werner, 1998; Wilson, Strauss, & McEvily, 2006). Trust between team members impacts their ability and willingness to work together toward a common goal, thereby positively influencing team effectiveness (DeOrtentiis, Summers, Ammeter, Douglas, & Ferris, 2013).

"Team trust" or "intrateam trust" as explicated by De Jong and Elfring (2010) denotes the "shared generalized perceptions of trust that team members have in their fellow teammates" (p. 536). In contrast to interpersonal trust, trust at the team-level is derived from the overall quality of individual-level perceptions of trust between team members; these perceptions reflect a shared climate that evolves from the social exchanges involved in ongoing interactions and interdependent tasks (Anderson & West, 1998; Costa & Anderson, 2011; West, 2001). The evidence supports that team trust is associated with a range of collaborative team processes and outcomes. For example, team trust promotes knowledge and information sharing among teammates, coordination and cooperative behaviors, and greater communication (Costa, Roe, & Taillieu, 2001; Penarroja, Orengo, Zornoza, & Hernandez, 2013; Staples & Webster, 2008), as well as overall...

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