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Accordingly, many previous studies focus on identifying the conditions under which diverse teams can satisfy the differentiation-integration demands of innovation Joshi and Roh, ; Guillaume et al.

Creating a Positive Team Climate

However, the knowledge of when and how expertise diversity promotes team innovation is still fragmentary and leaves many questions unanswered Guillaume et al. For example, there is little knowledge on how leadership affects the relationship between expertise diversity and team innovation van Knippenberg, Hence, this study aims to fill this gap by analyzing whether and how i. Meanwhile, they may also promote team information integration and offer necessary instructions and guidance to achieve innovative goals.

Combining these managerial practices, paradoxical leaders could lead diverse team members to meet the differentiation and integration requirements of innovation. To further understand how paradoxical leaders facilitate innovation within expertise diverse teams, it is important to consider the role of team processes Ilgen et al. We thus incorporate team perspective taking into the model and suggest it as an intervening factor to explain the moderating effects of paradoxical leadership.

Creating a Positive Team Climate | Nonverbal Communication | Cognitive Science

We posit that, under the influence of paradoxical leaders, team members may learn to share and integrate various perspectives, which can facilitate the elaboration and integration process, thus enhancing team innovation. In sum, this study focuses on paradoxical leadership as a driving factor to deal with the differentiation-integration paradox inherent in expertise diverse teams.

Through a series of investigations, we aim to offer three specific contributions to the literature. First, we respond to the research call of exploring approaches to reconcile the team innovation paradox and provide new insight into how paradoxical leaders help expertise diverse teams meet the differentiation-integration requirements. Second, with respect to the paradoxical leadership literature, we are among the first to offer an in-depth understanding of the role of paradoxical leadership in the team context, specifically for expertise diverse teams, which extends this stream of research from the individual level to the team level.

Thus, this study also enriches our understanding of the role of team perspective taking. Idea generation requires more divergent facilitators that enable teams to think outside the box and constantly search for new possibilities, while idea implementation requires more convergent drivers that help to promote novel and useful ideas through well-established channels and integrate the innovation plan into an organizational setting West, However, the conditions facilitating new idea creation may impede the idea-implementation process, and vice versa Frost and Egri, ; Hargadon and Douglas, ; Gong et al.

Therefore, teams must balance the conflicting differentiation-integration demands in the innovation process and engage in both creation and implementation activities. However, this is not easy for expertise diversified teams. On the one hand, members of expertise diverse teams are more likely to contribute unique opinions and perspectives and give suggestions and comments from different angles, thus facilitating idea generation Shin et al.

On the other hand, team members are also likely to categorize themselves based on categorical identities.

In this case, they may perceive ideas from members with different functional backgrounds as less valuable and regard dissenting opinions as threats to their own identities Jackson and Joshi, ; van Knippenberg et al. Given that diverse teams are relatively difficult to self-regulate, researchers call for more attention to situational settings that may guide diverse teams out of the innovation paradox Zhou and Hoever, ; Guillaume et al. In the organizational context, leaders always encounter various management paradoxes Lavine, , such as the balance between control and authorization, efficiency and flexibility, individualism and collectivism.

Conventional leadership contingency theory holds that faced with the management paradox, leaders are expected to make the best decision between the two; for example, choosing authorization or control Waldman and Bowen, However, according to Smith and Lewis , such a decision is favorable only in the short term. To achieve long-term performance, leaders should accept and reconcile paradoxes and coordinate conflicting needs well Smith and Lewis, Based on two empirical studies, Zhang et al.

Some researchers find that paradoxical leadership plays an important role in organizations. Based on a case study of five enterprises, Lewis and Smith find that paradoxical leadership brings both flexibility and stability, thus helping firms better adapt to dynamic external conditions. Empirical studies by Zhang et al. In this regard, we argue below that paradoxical leadership is particularly promising as a way to address the differentiating-integrating paradox of innovation inherent in expertise diverse teams.

According to motivated information processing theory De Dreu et al. Therefore, although expertise diversity is likely to yield various perspectives on work tasks, these differences may yield synergistic effects and thereby improve team innovation given the catalytic effects of paradoxical leaders. Furthermore, paradoxical leaders provide followers with the discretion to utilize their personal strengths and capabilities while emphasizing team norms and standards Zhang et al.

That is, teams with expertise diversity can explore new possibilities under an established structure i. As such, when executing innovation plans, they are less likely to deviate from shared goals, leading to more efficient promotion and implementation of innovative ideas. Therefore, we propose the following:. Hypothesis 1.

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Paradoxical leadership moderates the relationship between expertise diversity and team innovative performance such that this relationship is more positive when paradoxical leadership is prevalent. To shed light on the possible mechanisms underlying the above hypothesis, we further propose that team perspective taking mediates the moderating effects of paradoxical leadership on the relationship between expertise diversity and team innovative performance. In the following, we first explain why paradoxical leadership facilitates team perspective taking and then interpret why team perspective taking moderates the impact of expertise diversity on team innovative performance.

First, paradoxical leaders treat all team members with respect and appreciate the viewpoints and contributions of others Zhang et al. Second, paradoxical leaders also cultivate a bounded discretionary work climate Zhang et al. Therefore, we propose the following hypothesis:. Hypothesis 2a. Paradoxical leadership is positively associated with team perspective taking.

Motivated information processing theory suggests that groups perform cognitive tasks well e. To translate multiple novel ideas into tangible entities, team members need to integrate different perspectives without prejudice and make joint efforts to put forward innovative plans van der Vegt and Bunderson, Therefore, we propose that team perspective taking moderates the effects of expertise diversity on team innovation performance. Teams with high perspective taking are more likely to process and integrate diverse viewpoints to fuel innovation.

Specifically, team perspective taking can encourage team members to share and discuss diverse options without prejudice and help them improve and refine creative ideas collectively Hoever et al. Consequently, these diversified viewpoints will be elaborated as more feasible and reliable solutions, and team members may be willing to devote more time and energy to idea implementation. In support of our argument, previous studies find that team members who adopt the viewpoints of their coworkers are more likely to translate their creative ideas into tangible products Purser et al.

Conversely, when team diversity is salient and team perspective taking is weak, members devote more attention to their own ideas rather than seeking feedback or comments from other members, thus causing a lack of collectivity. Empirical evidence shows that multidisciplinary teams with low levels of team perspective taking could show resistance to accepting information and perspectives from other members Hoever et al.

Therefore, we propose:. Hypothesis 2b. Team perspective taking moderates the effects of expertise diversity on team innovative performance such that expertise diversity has a more positive effect on innovative performance for teams with a high level of team perspective taking. The preceding two hypotheses propose that paradoxical leadership stimulates team perspective taking Hypothesis 2a and that team perspective taking moderates the association between expertise diversity and team innovative performance Hypothesis 2b.

Taken together, these two hypotheses predict that team perspective taking mediates the moderating effect of paradoxical leadership on the association between expertise diversity and team innovative performance, which is a case of mediated moderation Edwards and Lambert, In sum, we predict the following:. Hypothesis 2c. Team perspective taking mediates the moderating effect of paradoxical leadership on the association between expertise diversity and team innovative performance. We collected data from two financial research centers of a state-owned bank located in Beijing and Shanghai, China.

The main functions of the teams within these centers are to research and design new financial products and services.

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The company creates teams by assembling individuals with a range of relevant expertise, such as analysts, data-bank specialists, and market specialists. We invited team leaders and their subordinates to participate in our survey and guaranteed that their participation was totally voluntary and that their private information was confidential.

Only teams with both supervisors and subordinates agreeing to take part were instructed on how to complete the survey. Since common source data may inflate the correlations between variables and result in misleading conclusions, we collected data from different sources and at two different times. In the first wave, subordinates were invited to fill out questionnaires containing two moderator variables i. As Podsakoff et al. Hence, in the second wave 1 month later , we distributed questionnaires with the dependent variable team innovative performance , to the supervisors because they have more comprehensive and objective judgments of team performance Borman, The average age of team members was All variables we measured were from validated scales and all items were assessed on a six-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 6 strongly agree.

Following the literature van Knippenberg and Schippers, ; Li, , we measured expertise diversity by calculating the educational disciplinary area and functional differentiation of team members.

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We divided educational specializations into five categories: arts, sciences, engineering, business and economics, and law. Functional backgrounds included industry analysis, investment product design, customer service, information technology, and operational management. We then took the average educational and functional diversity scores to capture the overall level of expertise diversity, where a higher index score indicates higher levels of expertise diversity among team members. Team members rated this construct on a four-item scale developed by Grant and Berry , which we then aggregated at the team level via the referent-shift model Chan, e.


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Team members rated the item scale developed by Zhang et al. Because obtaining an objective innovation outcome measure is relatively difficult, Barrick et al. Therefore, team leaders rated the four-item team innovative performance scale developed by Anderson and West e. We included team size, tenure diversity, age diversity, and gender diversity as controls because prior work suggests that these variables are related to interpersonal contacts, knowledge bases, and performance Ancona and Caldwell, Moreover, to control for any potential confounding effects of company-level factors, we created a dummy variable 1, Center in Beijing; 0, Center in Shanghai and controlled for it in our regression analysis.