Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace
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Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Management Challenges and Symptoms

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski

A work exposing and exploring the phenomena of the dysfunctional workplace is long overdue. This fascinating book does just that, uncovering the subversiveness, counter-productive behaviour and unspoken ‘issues’ that managers struggle with on a daily basis.
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Chapter 19: Collective Wisdom as an Oxymoron: Team-based Structures as Impediments to Learning

Michael D. Johnson and John R. Hollenbeck


Michael D. Johnson and John R. Hollenbeck Interest in team-level information processing and learning has burgeoned in recent years and several theoretical models have been proposed to describe this phenomenon. Although a consensus model of team learning has not yet emerged, the theoretical and empirical treatments of the subject appear to agree that team learning is qualitatively different from individual learning. For example, Argote et al. (2001) suggested that one major shift in thinking about team learning versus individual learning is that team members must coordinate their actions with each other rather than acting alone. The actions of team members affect the team system whether or not they intend to, which can either help or inhibit team learning. Similarly, Hinsz et al. (1997) noted the importance of communication – in terms of sharing information, ideas and cognitive processes – to team-level learning. Larson and Christensen (1993) noted that having multiple conceptualizations of a problem facing the team is a uniquely group-level phenomenon. Interestingly, in outlining the unique characteristics of team-level learning, all of these conceptualizations draw upon individual-level models as a basis for understanding the similarities and differences between learning at each level (Hinsz et al., 1997). Because team-level learning is qualitatively different from individual-level learning, however, we suggest that these models are inadequate in describing the challenges of learning at the team level. Rather, a true team-level model of learning must incorporate not only the cognitive and affective intrapersonal factors that affect the learning process,...

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