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Coordination and collective performance : exploring teamwork as an emergent property

Working in groups is a ubiquitous feature of daily life. For this reason, finding ways to maximise group outputs is of utmost importance. Efforts to enhance group outputs have typically focused on socially relevant interventions, often designed to increase rapport or motivation. Moreover, such interventions are usually implemented and measured at the level of the individual, thereby designating the group to being nothing more than the simple sum of its parts. Although long acknowledged as a key component of group performance, the role of coordination is relatively under-researched. The present thesis focused on understanding whether interpersonal coordination, as viewed through the theoretical lens of coordination dynamics, is able to shed further insight into the relationship between teamwork and productivity. A novel object movement task well-suited for investigating the effects of both social and physical parameters on group productivity was developed and validated. Different extensions of the task were explored across five studies. Shifting the unit of analysis from the individual to the group yielded novel insight into the issue of group productivity. The nature of the dependencies between participants (i.e., positive vs. negative) were seen to change patterns of coordination both within and between teams. Cooperating pairs were also more coordinated and accurate than competing pairs. When interdependence was high, stable modes of coordination enhanced accuracy, but not overall productivity. More broadly speaking, participants spontaneously adopted modes of coordination that were both functionally consistent with the task demands and conformed to the characteristic patterns inherent to self-organised coordination dynamics. The implications of this work are discussed with respect to extant theories of interpersonal coordination and suggestions are made for future research.
Date January 2019
CreatorsAllsop, Jamie S.
ContributorsMiles, Lynden ; Marie, Dannette
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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