Interaction dynamics are considered to be key characteristics of complex adaptive systems (CAS). Taking a CAS approach, this study examines how three team interaction patterns affect team effectiveness. Specifically, we analyze recurring, heterogeneous, and participative patterns of team interaction in routine and nonroutine team-task contexts. Fine-grained coding of video-based footage plus nonlinear dynamical systems (NDS) statistics are used to identify the interaction patterns in a sample of 96 real-life teams, comprising 1,395 team members. We establish that recurring patterns of team interaction reduce perceived team information sharing and, in turn, team effectiveness and that these harmful effects are more pronounced in teams doing nonroutine work than in those engaged in routine work. Participative team interaction was found to be positively related to a high level of perceived team information sharing and effectiveness. Heterogeneous team interaction was not associated with perceived team information sharing and effectiveness. Post hoc analyses, in which the behavioral content of the interaction patterns of the 15 most effective and least effective teams is compared, revealed primarily task-directed patterns in the most effective teams. We offer practical recommendations for team development and call for more CAS research on the communicative behaviors within teams of knowledge workers.
- perceived information sharing
- task context
- team effectiveness
- team interaction patterns
- complex adaptive systems