To contend with the growing complexity of the environment in which employees operate, considerable attention needs to be given to teams. Given that research has recognized that the collective is often stronger than the individual and considering that in today’s business world individuals work primarily in teams, it is vital to recognize the importance of team efforts in achieving common goals and unravel the conditions under which this can be actualized starting with your unique team’s anatomy.
Team Theoretical Background
The multilayered aspects of teams have been examined by many researchers who have developed theories surrounding the construct. The ancestors of team research have been studies that examined individuals under the lens of Role Theories. In general, the concept of a role, from a psychosocial perspective, defines a role as the behavior that is expected from an individual who occupies a specific position (Biddle, 1979). Research has established that a person’s abilities and knowledge are not the optimal predictors of their future job performance and organizations should consider individual personality, cognitive ability (Schmidt, Oh & Shaffer, 2016) as well as the unique job environments where work will be performed by the individual to determine an optimal match (Walch & Holland, 1992; Holland, 1985). Considering the above and by taking into account that subsequent role theories have extended the definition of a role in order to capture the ways in which roles develop, change and interact with other patterns of behavior (Aritzeta, Swailes, & Senior, 2007), the role theories extended to team roles to examine how roles work in team settings.
One of the prominent theories in studies focusing on teams is the Team Role Model developed by M. Belbin (1981; 1993). This theoretical framework is widely used (Water et al., 2008; Senaratne and Gunawardane, 2015; De Waal et al., 2020), and has been validated by research (Senior, 1997; Aritzeta et al., 2007). While evidence on what makes a team work optimally may vary, there are solid theoretical foundations for the contribution of the personality determinants of team members to the team’s effectiveness (Salas, Reyes, & McDaniel, 2018). Belbin’s framework defines a team role as “a pattern of behavior characteristic of the way in which one team member interacts with another in order to facilitate the progress of the team as a whole” (Belbin, 1981). This line of research assumes that personality traits are the basic components underlying team role constructs. Belbin’s theory has inspired Bryq’s research on teams from which conclusions are drawn on common team roles frequently found in effective teams.
It’s not One-Size Fits All- Team Members Complementarity
While many factors may influence how effective a team is, considerable attention has been given to the influence of the diversity between team members in terms of the roles they naturally adopt in a team setting. The roles represent the characteristic pattern of behavior that each team member uses to interact with others in order to facilitate the team’s progress.
According to theory, optimal team performance can be reached by having a team that displays a variety of strengths in order to serve complementarity and drive effective results. Subsequent research reveals that balanced teams with respect to the team role composition are more consistently successful than teams in which this balance is absent (Aritzeta et al., 2007).
How Bryq Uses Team Theory
With regards to how Bryq leverages and operationalizes theory, the different team roles can be derived from established connections between roles and personality determinants. By assessing personality results stemming from well-documented personality questionnaires such as the 16PF and the Big 5, which are the main theoretical framework that Bryq uses, we can draw accurate conclusions about the team’s roles. The cluster of related characteristics that make up a team role has been augmented and translated into equations based upon the second-order factors of Bryq so as to draw objective conclusions on how personality traits can predict specific team archetypes.
The 8 Bryq Team Archetypes
The Groundbreaker: “idea-machine”, creative
The Examiner: analyzer, strategist
The Doer: systematic, reliable insight
The Communicator: conversationalist, negotiator
The Coordinator: delegator, committed
The Peacemaker: supportive, cooperative
The Meticulous: attentive to detail, thorough
The Architect: challenger, driver
The Team Insights report provides a detailed view of the Bryq team archetypes as found in your team along with their strengths and potential weaknesses that can help you understand the way team members are likely to behave, contribute and interrelate with others.
The different team archetypes, contribute to different team orientations. The 3 orientations as found in research, refer to the Thought, Action, or People orientation of the team.
The Thought- orientation of the team refers to the analysis and critical thinking which is required to accomplish the designated goals.
The Action-orientation of the team refers to the drive to resolve problems with urgency, accomplish tasks and guide their implementation.
Lastly, the People- orientation of the team refers to the mutual support that needs to be present in a team in order to flourish and tackle tasks.
The Team Insights report will provide you with more information regarding the 3 different orientations as well as which archetypes can best contribute to each of the orientations.
Note: As previously suggested, research proposes that teams that have a balanced representation of team roles and orientations are likely to perform better than other teams without the balance. However, given the great cross-functionality and diversification in teams, you should determine the ratio that works best according to your unique team needs.
Crucial Team Archetypes Based on the Environment
All teams are not created equal but sometimes teams performing in different contexts are more similar than not. Considering the above, it is vital to consider the context to understand relevant team dynamics and outcomes. To determine the appropriate goals, so as to formulate the optimal response to changes in the environment, a company needs to understand the impact of changes and assign tasks to the most appropriate people who are able to contribute the most. Whether there are differences in the stability of the environment in which a company operates or a highlighted focus on boosting the bottom line, research suggests specific team archetypes that are found to be crucial to leverage their skills and working towards the designated goals. Through the Team Insights feature you may find the archetypes that are crucial to deal with the different demands based on your company profile and needs.
A Note on the Application of the Archetypes/ Orientations to different job roles
The preference to behave in a particular way which subsequently leads to members naturally assuming their team roles should be distinguished from the concept of a functional role which refers to the technical skills and operational knowledge relevant to the job. Consequently, individuals may have the same functional role but vary greatly in their natural team roles (Fisher, 2001).
The same applies to the balance of the three different orientations of a team. However, given the great cross-functionality and diversification in teams, you can conclude on the orientation analogies that work best according to your team.
Lastly, it is important to highlight that a teamwork-supportive organizational environment that sets the conditions under which psychological safety can flourish is a crucial requirement in order for teams to be able to resolve conflicts, learn from each other, mitigate errors, and perform optimally.
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de Waal, A., van Nierop, E., & Sloot, L. M. (2020). The relation between manager type and high-performance achievement. Journal of Advances in Management Research, 18(1), 136-151.
Fisher, S. G., Wd, K., & Semple, J. H. (2001). Control and Belbin’s team roles. Personnel Review, 30(5), 578-588.
Salas, E., Reyes, D. L., & McDaniel, S. H. (2018). The science of teamwork: Progress, reflections, and the road ahead. American Psychologist, 73(4), 593.
Senaratne, S., & Gunawardane, S. (2015). Application of team role theory to construction design teams. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 11(1), 1-20.
Senior, B. (1997). Team roles and team performance: is there ‘really’a link?. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 70(3), 241-258.
Schmidt, F. L., Oh, I. S., & Shaffer, J. A. (2016). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 100 years. Fox School of Business Research Paper, 1-74.
van de Water, H., Ahaus, K., & Rozier, R. (2008). Team roles, team balance and performance. Journal of Management Development, 27(5), 499-512.
Walsh, B. W., & Holland, J. L. (1992). A theory of personality types and work environments.