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Paul Shashkov
Paul Shashkov

Team Player By LJ Shen, Et Al

As robots increasingly join human teams and collaborate with people on a variety of tasks, it seems reasonable to program these robots with the ability to positively contribute to important team social dynamics, like inclusion and psychological safety in order to maximize team performance. In line with this idea, recent work has discovered robot behaviors that can positively shape specific social dynamics in groups and teams of people, including cohesion (Short and Matarić, 2017), conflict resolution (Shen et al., 2018), conversation dynamics (Traeger et al., 2020), and verbal participation (Tennent et al., 2019). While this body of work has made some important first steps in understanding how robots can influence social dynamics in human-robot teams, little work has investigated how robots might be able to promote greater psychological safety and inclusion among the human members of a human-robot team.

Team Player by LJ Shen, et al


Outgroup members who were in a group with no robot verbal support (no RVS) received significantly more verbal backchannels (sec) from their human teammates than ingroup members in groups with robot verbal support (RVS) and without robot verbal support. *p

Our investigation into robot backchanneling also led to novel findings pertaining to the influence of verbal backchannels from a robot on a collaborative human team. Unlike human verbal backchannels, that exhibit significant positive correlations with psychological safety and inclusion, we did not observe the same with robot backchannels. Participants in groups receiving verbal support from the robot (targeted support, hints, verbal backchannels) had only marginally significantly higher psychological safety scores and no difference in inclusion scores than participants in groups without verbal support from the robot. It is possible that robot verbal backchannels did have a positive effect with respect to these team social dynamics, but perhaps not as strong of an effect as verbal backchannels from a human team member.

Faced with the rapid development of a modern economy, the ability to generate and develop new products in response to changing market needs is a key to success (Subin and Workman 2004). Organizations have been dependent upon R&D teams to achieve open innovation (e.g., Chatenier et al. 2010; Thamhain 2003; von Hippel 1988, 2005), competitiveness and sustainability (Dumaine 1994; Ilgen et al. 2005; Kim et al. 1999; Noe et al. 2000). The term R&D team refers to the combination of two or more individuals with command of specialty technologies, who mutually coordinate to develop new products (or new manufacturing procedures) (Cohen and Bailey 1997). R&D teams generate innovative ideas, which are then transferred through the organizational system for economic gain (Iansiti and West 1999; Thamhain 2003). However, we still know little about the critical success factors for R&D teams (Huang 2009).

One of the most important topics in team research is within-team interdependence (Barrick et al. 2007). As a team-level input (Mathieu et al. 2008), team interdependence describes the extent to which team members cooperate and work interactively to accomplish team tasks (Stewart and Barrick 2000). It consists of task, goal, and outcome interdependence (Campion et al. 1993), each of which is a key determinant of team effectiveness (for a review, see Gully et al. 2002). Although prominent in research on organizational teams, researchers have continued to call for empirical studies to consider team interdependence (Mathieu et al. 2008). Indeed, Kozlowski and Bell (2003) conclude that research that fails to consider team interdependence has limited value for building knowledge about organizational teams.

Although previous research has examined the effects of certain team characteristics (e.g., size, diversity) on team behavioral integration (Simsek et al. 2005), surprisingly, it has overlooked the impact of team interdependence, which is a defining team characteristic (Campion et al. 1993; Thompson 1967). We suggest that team interdependence leads to integrated behavior among team members. The underlying rationale is that interactions among team members that are task driven (task interdependence) or socially driven (goal and reward/outcome interdependence) may have a correspondingly significant impact on the task and social dimensions (e.g., the quantity and quality of information exchange and joint decision making; team collaborative behavior) of team behavior integration. The effect of team interdependence is especially salient in R&D teams, as R&D professionals have to match their own goals with the goals of their partners, be interdependent in their tasks, and share responsibility for outcomes (Chatenier et al. 2010). Hence, the first aim of this study is to build and test the theoretical connection between team interdependence and team integration behavior in the R&D team context.

In addition to investigating the determinants of team behavioral integration, we examine its consequences. Specifically, this study examines the impact of team behavioral integration on team performance among R&D teams. Team performance is highlighted because it is one of the most important indicators of team effectiveness (Barrick et al. 2007).

In the following section, we begin with a brief discussion of the key features of team behavioral integration and its important role in R&D team settings. We also consider the theoretical linkage between team interdependence and team behavioral integration, and between team behavioral integration and team performance in R&D team contexts. In section 3, we introduce the method and results. We make the discussion according to the results in section 4. Finally, based on the IMO model, we conclude that team behavioral integration plays a mediating role in the relationship between team interdependence and team performance.

Behaviorally integrated teams exhibit the highest degree of wholeness and unity of effort, and place great emphasis on group cohesiveness among members, who work cooperatively as real teams (Hambrick 1994, 1998). Although behavioral integration has been studied exclusively in TMTs, employing the concept of behavioral integration in TMTs to work teams is appropriate. The underlying principle is that behavioral integration is a universal team phenomenon (Hambrick 1998; Mathieu et al. 2008), and that the human processes and member interactions in TMTs and work teams are similar (Smith et al. 1994). This study therefore investigates behavioral integration in work teams, R&D teams in particular.

Interdependence is defined as the extent to which team members work collectively, affect and are affected by others (Campion et al. 1993; Johnson and Johnson 1989; Stewart and Barrick 2000; Wageman 2001). There are three main components of team interdependence: task, goal, and outcome interdependence. Task interdependence refers to the extent to which a team member believes that he/she depends on others to accomplish his/her tasks (Campion et al. 1993; van der Vegt et al. 2000); goal interdependence refers to the extent to which a team member believes that his/her goals can be reached only when the goals of others are also met (Campion et al. 1993; Weldon and Weingart 1993); and outcome interdependence refers to the extent to which a team member believes that his/her expected outcomes (e.g., rewards) depend on the performance of others (Campion et al. 1993; Shea and Guzzo 1987). Although these three forms of team interdependence are conceptually distinct, they tend to be highly interrelated in practice, and thus are likely to influence jointly the degree to which team members work together and their ability to perform effectively (Campion et al. 1993; Gully et al. 2002; van der Vegt et al. 2003). Following previous studies, we examine the overall impact of team interdependence (Barrick et al. 2007; Campion et al. 1993; Gully et al. 2002).

Interdependence is an important team characteristic, which is often considered as an input variable in work group research (Mathieu et al. 2008). On the other hand, behavioral integration has been originally introduced as TMT processes and dynamics (Hambrick 1994, 1995, 1998, 2007). It is then suggested as a blended variable of team process (the means by which team members interact to accomplish tasks) and emergent state (a cognitive, motivational, and affective state of teams which is dynamic in nature and varies as a function of team context) in a team effectiveness framework (Mathieu et al. 2008).

Team interdependence may influence behavioral integration. Among teams with a high level of task interdependence, members interact with and depend on one another to accomplish tasks (Campion et al. 1993). Research indicates that cooperative behavior among team members is more likely to exist among teams with high levels of task interdependence than among those with low levels of task interdependence (Organ 1988; Ramamoorthy and Flood 2004). In order to execute interrelated tasks, mutual trust has to be developed among team members. As mutual trust is found to promote the sharing of unique information, knowledge, and resources (Houghton et al. 2000; Mohammed and Dumville 2001; Peters and Karren 2009; Ramamoorthy and Flood 2004) as well as coordination in group decision-making (Campion et al. 1993), interrelated tasks are likely to facilitate information exchange and joint decision-making among team members conducting tasks of this kind. Hence, task interdependence is likely to play a significant role in influencing team behavioral integration.

Goal interdependence is also likely to facilitate team behavioral integration. The causal effect of goal interdependence on collaboration has been found by Wageman (1995) to be that individuals are more likely to cooperate with others when they realize that the achievement of their goals is dependent on the attainment of the goals of others. Hence, goal interdependent teams may demonstrate higher levels of collaborative behavior than their non-goal interdependent counterparts. Also, goal interdependence increases the sense of sharing a common fate among team members. To achieve collective goals, team members are likely to share their unique information, knowledge, and resources (Deutsch 1973) and make joint decisions (Barrick et al. 2007). 041b061a72


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