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Teams Are Changing: Are Research and Practice Evolving Fast Enough?

  • Scott I. Tannenbaum (a1), John E. Mathieu (a2), Eduardo Salas (a3) and Debra Cohen (a4)

In the past, there was a fairly strong alignment between what teams experienced, the topics that team researchers were studying, and the practices that organizations used to manage their teams. However, the nature of teams and the environment in which they operate has changed, and as a result, new needs have emerged. Although there have been some innovative advancements, research and practice have not always adjusted to remain aligned with emerging needs. We highlight 3 significant change themes that are affecting teams: (a) dynamic composition, (b) technology and distance, and (c) empowerment and delayering. For each theme, we share our observations, review the related science and identify future research needs, and specify challenges and recommendations for employing effective team-based practices in applied settings. We conclude with thoughts about the future and suggest that new theories, research methods, and analyses may be needed to study the new team dynamics.

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E-mail:, Address: Group for Organizational Effectiveness, Inc., 727 Waldens Pond Road, Albany, NY 12203.
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