Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Joanne Richardson and Michael A. West Introduction At its best, teamwork offers a way of synthesizing individuals’ knowledge, skills and abilities in order to achieve exceptional creativity, innovation and productivity. Through combining the efforts of individuals within a team the aggregate of individuals’ contributions can be surpassed (West et al., 1998). As a result, team-based organizations have the unique collaborative capability to integrate a diverse range of skills and expertise, execute complex tasks and accomplish challenging goals in a timely and adaptive fashion (see Salas et al., 2009). However, the intuitively appealing premise that teams can offer synergistic outcomes very often goes unrealized when teamwork is not designed, implemented and supported properly. Further, when team working goes wrong, there are detrimental consequences for team members and their organizations. So why do some teams flourish and other teams fail? Why do some teams have a passion for their work and contribute beyond expectations, when others lack enthusiasm, choose to procrastinate and exert only minimum effort? In this chapter, we argue that team engagement is the key to creating effective, positive team-based organizations. We explore two bodies of literature; work engagement and team effectiveness, to develop a conceptual model of team engagement which we hope provides a fresh insight into understanding team working. Engagement as a team-level phenomenon Engagement has recently been proposed as a powerful antecedent of performance outcomes in organizations (Salanova et al., 2005). Therefore it is conceivable that work engagement is not only an individual-level construct, but is also...
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