How Psychological and Behavioral Team States Change during Positive and Negative Momentum

Abstract : In business and sports, teams often experience periods of positive and negative momentum while pursuing their goals. However, researchers have not yet been able to provide insights into how psychological and behavioral states actually change during positive and negative team momentum. In the current study we aimed to provide these insights by introducing an experimental dynamical research design. Rowing pairs had to compete against a virtual opponent on rowing ergometers, while a screen in front of the team broadcasted the ongoing race. The race was manipulated so that the team's rowing avatar gradually progressed (positive momentum) or regressed (negative momentum) in relation to the victory. The participants responded verbally to collective efficacy and task cohesion items appearing on the screen each minute. In addition, effort exertion and interpersonal coordination were continuously measured. Our results showed negative psychological changes (perceptions of collective efficacy and task cohesion) during negative team momentum, which were stronger than the positive changes during positive team momentum. Moreover, teams' exerted efforts rapidly decreased during negative momentum, whereas positive momentum accompanied a more variable and adaptive sequence of effort exertion. Finally, the interpersonal coordination was worse during negative momentum than during positive momentum. These results provide the first empirical insights into actual team momentum dynamics, and demonstrate how a dynamical research approach significantly contributes to current knowledge on psychological and behavioral processes.
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Ruud den Hartigh, Christophe Gernigon, Nico van Yperen, Ludovic Marin, Paul van Geert. How Psychological and Behavioral Team States Change during Positive and Negative Momentum. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (5), pp.e97887. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0097887⟩. ⟨hal-02432877⟩

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