A Complex Adaptive Systems Approach to Real-Life Team Interaction Patterns, Task Context, Information Sharing, and Effectiveness

Marcella A.M.G. Hoogeboom*, Celeste P.M. Wilderom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-42
Number of pages40
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020



  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • perceived information sharing
  • task context
  • team effectiveness
  • team interaction patterns
  • complex adaptive systems

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