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The relationship of personality traits to satisfaction with the team: A study of interdisciplinary teacher teams in Rhode Island middle schools

Dissertation
Author: Michele Humbyrd
Abstract:
  A shift toward shared practice in schools has emerged and teachers are moving from isolation to collaboration (Hindin, Morocco, Mott, & Aguilar, 2007). One of the structures that supports collaboration is the collaborative team. Teams have great potential, however, their failure can impact the organization's progress and the team members' satisfaction in working with the team (Aube & Rousseau, 2005; Peeters, Rutte, van Tuijl, & Reymen, 2006). There is increasing evidence that personality may be related to the quality of social interactions occurring in teams (Waldman, Atwater, & Davidson, 2004). This study examined the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (i.e., Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience) and Satisfaction with the Team. A mixed methods sequential approach utilized a survey methodology followed by open-ended interviews. A questionnaire was administered to a purposive sample of N = 244 full-time educators from N = 49 interdisciplinary teams at N = 7 middle schools in Rhode Island. It assessed the Big Five personality traits, demographic variables, general job satisfaction, and team member satisfaction. These quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics as well as multiple regression. The open-ended interviews were conducted with n = 14 teachers. A synthesis of coded themes was used to investigate team members' perceptions about team members' personalities and interactions. The quantitative findings indicate no significant relationship between the BFI traits and Satisfaction with the Team. However, the relationships varied across team tenure groups. Team-level analyses indicate a significant negative correlation between Satisfaction with the Team and maximum (highest member score) Extraversion (r = -.44, r 2 = .19, p = .002; medium effect size) and maximum Agreeableness (r = -.31, r2 = .10, p = .031; medium effect size). The qualitative data reveal that team climate, team member personality, and team personality configuration are factors related to Satisfaction with the Team. This study extended the research on teams by investigating longer-lived work teams in real life educational settings. Recommendations for administrators and interdisciplinary team teachers regarding professional development and team selection are provided as well as recommendations for future research.

iv Table of Contents Page

Acknowledgements/Copyright………………………………………………….

iii

List of Tables………………………………………………………………............

vii

Abstract……………………………………………………………………………..

viii

1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………

1

Statement of the Problem……………………………………………………..

1

Background of the Study………………………………………………………

4

Definition of Terms……………………………………………………………..

6

Research Questions…………………………………………………………...

7

Methodology…………………………………………………………………….

9

Quantitative Research………………………………………………….....

9

Qualitative Research…........................................................................

11

Limitations…………………………………………………………………..

12

Delimitations….....................................................................................

13

Summary………………………………………………………………………..

14

II. LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………………………

16

Introduction……………………………………………………………………..

16

A Historical Overview of Group Research…………………………………..

16

Collaborative Teams in Schools……………………………………………...

22

Team Effectiveness……………………………………………………………

27

Personality Traits……………………………………………………………….

34

Group Personality Composition………………………………………………

40

v Page

Satisfaction with the Team……………………………………………......

48

Summary…………………………………………………………………………

56

III. METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………

58

Introduction………...……………………………………………………….

58

Research Design…………………………………………………………...

58

Sample………………………………………………………………………

59

Instrumentation……………………………………………………………..

61

Data Collection……………………………………………………………..

66

Data Analysis…………………………………………………………….....

68

Limitations and Delimitations……………………………………………...

71

Summary…………………………………………………………………....

73

IV. FINDINGS..............................................................................................

74

Introduction………………………………………………………………....

74

Research Questions……………………………………………………….

74

Quantitative Research……………………………………………………..

76

Qualitative Research……………………………………………………….

95

Summary…………………………………………………………………….

112

V. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS…………..

116

Statement of the Problem………………………………………………….

116

Principal Findings…………………………………………………………..

119

Discussion and Conclusions………………………………………………

140

vi

Recommendations………………………………………………..............

144

Summary……………………………………………………………………

146

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………

148

APPENDICES………………………………………………………………….

163

Appendix A: Survey Instrument…………………………………………

163

Appendix B: Interview Questions……………………………………….

166

Appendix C: Follow-Up Letter to Principals……………………………

167

Appendix D: Advance Notice to Team Members……………………..

168

Appendix E: Survey Cover Letter/Consent Form………………………

169

Appendix F: Interview Cover Letter/Consent to Audio Tape………….

170

vii List of Tables

Page

Table 1: Demographics of Participating Schools……………………………..

60

Table 2: Cronbach’s Alpha Reliabilities for the Survey Data………………..

69

Table 3: Total Group Descriptive Statistics: BFI Traits, Satisfaction with the Team, General Job Satisfaction (N = 244)…………………………….

77

Table 4: Descriptive Statistics: Demographics………………………………..

79

Table 5: Correlations of BFI Traits and Satisfaction with the Team………..

81

Table 6: Correlations of BFI and Satisfaction with the Team by Team Tenure………………………………………………………………………….

82

Table 7: Correlations of Demographics and Satisfaction with the Team (N = 243)………………………………………………………………………

85

Table 8: Correlations of Demographics and Satisfaction with the Team (Subgroups)…………………………………………………………………...

85

Table 9: Correlations of BFI traits and General Job Satisfaction…………...

87

Table 10: Team Level Descriptive Statistics: BFI Traits, Lowest and Highest Group Means, Standard Deviation, Lowest and Highest Group Standard Deviation (N = 49)…………………………………………………

89

Table 11: Correlation of Mean BFI Traits and Mean Satisfaction with the Team…………………………………………………………………………...

90

Table 12: Correlation of Mean Satisfaction with the Team and BFI Variability (N = 49)……………………………………………………………

92

Table 13: Correlations of Maximum and Minimum BFI scores and Mean Satisfaction with the Team (N = 49)………………………………………...

94

Table 14: Studies Using the BFI..................................................................

121

Table 15: Emergent Concepts and Themes from the Open-Ended Interviews (N = 14)……………………………………………………………

136

viii ABSTRACT

A shift toward shared practice in schools has emerged and teachers are moving from isolation to collaboration (Hindin, Morocco, Mott, & Aguilar, 2007). One of the structures that supports collaboration is the collaborative team. Teams have great potential, however, their failure can impact the organization’s progress and the team members’ satisfaction in working with the team (Aube & Rousseau, 2005; Peeters, Rutte, van Tuijl, & Reymen, 2006). There is increasing evidence that personality may be related to the quality of social interactions occurring in teams (Waldman, Atwater, & Davidson, 2004).

This study examined the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (i.e., Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience) and Satisfaction with the Team. A mixed methods sequential approach utilized a survey methodology followed by open-ended interviews. A questionnaire was administered to a purposive sample of N = 244 full-time educators from N = 49 interdisciplinary teams at N = 7 middle schools in Rhode Island. It assessed the Big Five personality traits, demographic variables, general job satisfaction, and team member satisfaction. These quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics as well as multiple regression. The open-ended interviews were conducted with n = 14 teachers. A synthesis of coded themes was used to investigate team members’ perceptions about team members’ personalities and interactions.

The quantitative findings indicate no significant relationship between the BFI traits and Satisfaction with the Team. However, the relationships varied across team tenure groups. Team-level analyses indicate a significant negative correlation between Satisfaction with the Team and maximum (highest member score) Extraversion (r = -.44, r 2 = .19, p = .002; medium effect size) and maximum Agreeableness (r = -.31, r 2 = .10, p = .031; medium effect size). The qualitative data reveal that team climate, team member personality, and team personality configuration are factors related to Satisfaction with the Team.

This study extended the research on teams by investigating longer-lived work teams in real life educational settings. Recommendations for administrators and interdisciplinary team teachers regarding professional development and team selection are provided as well as recommendations for future research.

1 I. INTRODUCTION

This study examined teacher collaboration, specifically the relationship of teacher team personality traits to an individual team member’s satisfaction in working with the team. A discussion of the problem and its significance is followed by background information to facilitate an understanding of the problem and the research. A definition of key terms and the research questions that directed the study are provided. This is followed by a description of the study design and its limitations and delimitations. The chapter concludes with a summary of the problem, including the implications for researchers and the field of education.

Statement of the Problem The long-standing tradition of teachers working in isolation has impacted teachers’ professional growth and school-wide improvement efforts (Elmore, 2000; Little, 2002; Schmoker, 2006). Teacher autonomy and privacy of practice has contributed to this buffer of isolation (DuFour, Eaker, & DuFour, 2005; Elmore; Fullan, 2001; Little; Schmoker). Teachers are trained independent of their colleagues, learn to work alone, cope with problems individually, and continue to develop their professional skills on their own (Somach & Drach- Zahavy, 2007). Shared practice through collaborative teaming is one way this buffer of isolation has begun to erode (Blankstein, 2004; DuFour & Eaker, 1998). Through collaborative teams, teachers study their profession in community with others (Hord, 2007). This type of professional development results in sustained school

2 improvement because it is embedded in practice and is on-going (DuFour et al., 2005; Hindin, Morocco, Mott, & Aguilar, 2007; Little, 2002). While collaborative teams began to emerge in educational settings as early as the 1960’s, it was not until the 1980’s that the concept of collaborative teams became more widely recognized and implemented (Achinstein, 2002). In 1989, the groundbreaking report, Turning Points: Preparing American Youth for the 21 st

Century, launched the middle school reform movement (Jackson & Davis, 2000). This unprecedented movement challenged the organizational structures of traditional junior high schools by restructuring schools around the teaming concept. This concept involved teams of teachers from various content areas sharing a common group of students. As part of this restructuring, teachers were encouraged to work collaboratively with colleagues during an established common planning time which was scheduled within the school day. Over the past two decades, this common planning time has come to be recognized as an important structure to support the improvement of teaching and learning. In fact, in 2006, the Rhode Island Board of Regents adopted regulations specifying that common planning time in middle schools would be increased to four times a week by the year 2012 (RIDE, 2006, p. 8). Providing a structure for teachers to meet does not ensure that effective collaboration will occur however (Aubé & Rousseau, 2005; Mohammed & Angell, 2003; Rousseau, Aubé, & Savoie, 2006; Tilleman & van der Westhuizen, 2006). Teamwork involves members working interdependently, adaptively, and cooperatively (Salas, Sims & Burke, 2005). In order for teams to reach their

3 potential they must learn to function effectively. While the business world trains its employees to work in teams, the education world has neglected to provide professional development to teachers and administrators on how to function in collaborative settings. Team teachers may lack skills such as conflict management, collective problem-solving, relational communication, and social support. As a result, conflict and frustration may develop. This may diminish the effectiveness of the team as well as a team member’s learning and personal fulfillment. When a group of diverse individuals works together, predictable patterns of behavior, known as group dynamics, develop. Examination of group dynamics focuses on the influence of the individual on the group and the group on the individual (Salas et al., 2005; Sessa & London, 2008; Shani & Lau, 2000). Individual differences, such as personality traits, may influence group interactions. This may involve an individual team member’s personality or the mixture of personality traits within the team. Therefore, personality traits may relate to the level of satisfaction team members experience in working with the team (Mason and Griffin, 2003; Peeters, Rutte, van Tuijl, & Reymen, 2006). Research from the social sciences has helped to expand the understanding of the role of team functioning, personality, and satisfaction in the workplace. Since teaming is becoming more commonplace in schools, with middle school teams expected to participate in common planning times more frequently and regularly, it is beneficial to the educational field to use past and current research to better understand how team members can work together more effectively.

4 Background of the Study The practice of teaming has been recognized for many years in various fields including sociology, sports and military psychology, business, and manufacturing (Beyerlein, 2000). Research on teams as a productive work structure has been evident in these fields but little empirical research has been conducted on the use of teams in schools. While organizational literature provides many useful models of teamwork, educational literature lacks such models. Furthermore, the educational information that is available has focused largely on student teams (den Bossche, Gijselaers, Segers, & Kirschner, 2006; Somech & Drach-Zahavy, 2007). As the number of organizations using work teams has increased, the research on work teams has likewise increased. As part of this research, the social sciences have also focused more studies on personality in the workplace. Individual level personality traits have been related to various outcomes (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002; Salgado, 2003). For example, in a meta-analysis of personality traits and job performance by Barrick and Mount (1991), it was found that a worker’s conscientiousness predicted higher job performance in most occupations. At the team level, there has been much emphasis on personality and performance outcomes as well (Mohammed & Angell, 2003; Stewart, 2006; van Vianen & De Dreu, 2001; Waldman, Atwater, & Davidson, 2004). In 2006, Stewart conducted a quantitative review of 93 studies and determined that aggregated measures of team personality were related to higher team-level performance.

5 Team level analysis has greatly expanded individual level analysis and has supported the idea that individual characteristics do emerge to form a collective construct. However, in small group research there has been disagreement regarding how to aggregate individual characteristics to the team level. Commonly, researchers have used the mean scores of the team members to represent the group personality composition. However, more recently, researchers have used a multilevel theory of analysis (Peeters et al., 2006; Stewart, 2003; Tett & Burnett, 2003). This analysis examines the variability of individual personality traits with consideration of the variance and range of individual scores and the proportion of team members possessing each personality trait (Mohammed & Angell, 2003; Neuman & Wright, 1999). Another method of analysis considers the minimum and maximum trait scores of members in the group (Halfhill, Sundstrom, Lahner, Calderone, & Nielsen, 2005). One factor that has greatly influenced the research on personality has been the development of a taxonomy of personality known as the Five Factor Model (FFM) or the Big Five. Prior to this development, much of the earlier research on personality was fragmented and resulted in inconsistent findings. The FFM provides a well-accepted and consistently replicated framework to describe and measure personality (Judge et al., 2002; McAdams & Pals, 2006), thus helping to integrate findings. While there has been a considerable amount of research on personality as related to collective performance, little research has been conducted on the relationship of team personality and the outcome variable satisfaction,

6 particularly individual satisfaction with the team. Additionally, much previous research with small groups has been conducted in laboratory settings where long-term relational interactions cannot be observed. Also, many studies in the area of applied psychology have not been transferred to settings for practical application (Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2000). Therefore, further study on teams in the natural school setting is needed. The current study explored the relationship between team personality traits and satisfaction with the team by studying interdisciplinary teams at N = 7 middle schools in Rhode Island in which common planning time has been structured in the school day.

Definition of Terms The following key terms are defined to enable the reader to understand the context in which they are being used in this study. Attitudes The positive and negative feelings that teachers have toward teamwork.

Personality An individual’s characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, and the psychological mechanisms behind those patterns (Funder, 2001).

Team Level Personality A collective phenomenon in which individual characteristics aggregate to the team level in various ways.

Team Member Satisfaction An individual team member’s positive emotion that may result from team composition or team processes. Also referred to as group personality composition (GPC).

General Job Satisfaction The degree to which individuals feel positively or negatively about their jobs.

7 Collaborative Team Planning A structured common planning block within the school day during which teachers interdependently share knowledge about teaching and learning.

Team Effectiveness Productive group functioning that results from positive interpersonal relationships. Group members are able to work adaptively and interdependently, and in a cooperative manner, to accomplish their goal of focused learning and tasks related to teaching and learning.

Interdisciplinary Teams A group of teachers from various disciplines, such as math, science, social studies, language arts, and unified arts who share the same group of students. This team of teachers meets regularly during a common planning block to share knowledge about teaching and learning practices.

Middle Schools Seven schools in Rhode Island in which common planning time is regularly scheduled during the school day.

Research Questions The following research questions were developed to direct this study: 1. At the individual level of analysis, what is the relationship of individual Satisfaction with the Team and the following personality variables: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience? 1a. To what extent and in what manner can variation in individual Satisfaction with the Team be explained by the following personality variables: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional stability, and Openness to Experience?

2. What is the relationship of individual Satisfaction with the Team and the following demographic variables: number of teammates, frequency and duration of common planning times per week, number of years a

8 respondent has participated in teaming practices, new team members on the team, and professional development in teaming strategies (i.e., conflict management, collaborative problem-solving, relational communication, and social support)? 3. What is the relationship of General Job Satisfaction and Satisfaction with the Team? 4. After controlling for demographic variables and General Job Satisfaction, to what extent and in what manner can variation in Satisfaction with the Team be explained by the following personality variables: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience? 5. At the team level of analysis, what is the relationship of mean Satisfaction with the Team and the following personality variables: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience? 5a. To what extent and in what manner can the overall mean of the N = 49 team means for Satisfaction with the Team be explained by the mean of the variability of each BFI variable for the N = 49 teams? 5b. To what extent and in what manner can the overall mean of the N = 49 team means for Satisfaction with the Team be explained by the mean of each BFI variable for the N = 49 teams? 6. At the team level of analysis, what is the relationship of mean Satisfaction with the Team and the minimum and maximum level of the following

9 personality variables: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience? 7. How do team members feel about working with team members whose behaviors reflect similar or different personality traits?

Methodology A mixed methods sequential study utilized a survey methodology followed by open-ended interviews. This mixed method allowed the results of the qualitative approach to inform the results of the quantitative approach, providing deeper insights and understanding (Creswell, 2003). Using this combined methodology supports a systematic, rigorous, and empirical approach to the educational research (McMillan & Wergin, 2006). The questionnaire was chosen as the instrument for this study because it is an effective data-collection method that can inquire about the attitudes and experiences of individuals (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). This method of data collection is inexpensive and the results can be obtained in a timely manner from an accessible population (Bourque & Fielder, 1995; Creswell). The interview was chosen to provide a more private setting for the participant to share personal experiences regarding team members’ personalities and interactions. Quantitative Research The quantitative data were collected from a questionnaire that was administered to a purposive sample of N = 244 full-time regular education teachers and special education teachers who were members of approximately

10 N = 49 interdisciplinary teams at N = 7 middle schools in Rhode Island. This sample included only team teachers who participate in regularly scheduled common planning time during the school day since opportunities for meaningful collaboration are most successful when embedded in the school day (DuFour et al., 2005; Jolly, 2005). The team teachers’ experience in collaborative planning enabled them to respond to the questionnaire items, yielding the desired results (Gall et al., 1996). In an attempt to increase participation, the surveys were administered during regularly scheduled team and faculty meetings. Additionally, incentives ($5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards) were given to each participant. The demographics of the sample represented middle schools in Rhode Island and included urban and suburban schools from various geographic areas of the state, thus allowing the study to be generalized to middle schools in Rhode Island that are structured with interdisciplinary teams and provide regular common planning time during the school day. The questionnaire was comprised of 59 items that assessed: the five personality traits (Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience), individual team member satisfaction with the team, and general job satisfaction. The demographic variables assessed included: number of teammates, frequency and duration of common planning times, number of years a respondent has participated in teaming practices, new team members on the team, and professional development in teaming strategies. The Big Five Inventory (BFI), a self-report personality questionnaire constructed by John, Donahue, and Kentle (1991) was used to assess team member

11 personality. It was developed through the literature on working in teams and the judgments of educational and industrial psychologists to gain support for content validity. All other questionnaire items were developed based on the literature regarding working in teams and general job satisfaction and were reviewed by content specialists. These items were piloted with n = 20 middle school teachers and their feedback was used to revise the items for individual satisfaction and the scale for general job satisfaction. The entire questionnaire was completed by participants in less than 8 minutes. Questionnaires were numerically coded to categorize participants from respective teams, ensuring that the teams and the participants remained anonymous. This anonymity was further emphasized in all communication with the school principals and participants. The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics including multiple regression and addressed Research Questions 1-6. This survey method helped to describe, compare, and explain the team teachers’ feelings and behaviors regarding individual personality, general job satisfaction, satisfaction with the team, and team experience (Fink, 2006). Qualitative Research The qualitative data were collected from the open-ended interviews with n = 14 teachers who were randomly selected from a pool of interested interviewees. These teachers were representative of the N = 7 middle schools selected for the study. The interviews addressed Research Question 7 and provided data on how team members feel about working with other members of the team whose behaviors reflect similar or different personality traits and about

12 how their team functions. The questions were derived from the literature and were designed to gradually elicit more informal conversation as the interview progressed. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, and summarized using only the information pertinent to the interpretation of the findings (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Concepts and themes were systematically coded and sorted and a final synthesis was used to compare this qualitative data to the quantitative data regarding team personality, individual personality, and individual satisfaction. Interview participants received $10 gift certificates (Staples) as an incentive. Limitations There are limitations to this study that could influence the validity and reliability. First, a potential response bias of social desirability that occurs in personality assessment may result from the participant’s tendency to claim virtues. Also, in responding to the satisfaction questionnaire, the participants may have chosen a response because they wanted to be perceived as having a positive attitude toward collaborative teaming or they may have wanted to convey the perception that their team works effectively together (Fowler, 2002; Ozer, 1999). The researcher minimized this limitation by clearly explaining in the cover letter the intent of the study and how the results would be used to inform decisions regarding professional development on this topic. Also, in the cover letter/consent form, the researcher emphasized the anonymity of the survey. A second source of error pertains to researcher bias. The researcher is a middle level administrator at one of the site schools, serves as an executive

13 member of the state middle level organization (Rhode Island Middle Level Educators), teaches a course for middle level teacher certification at a local university, and has presented on the topic of collaborative planning at a RIMLE Summit and several conferences. This limitation was minimized by using experts to review the interview questions and data analyses. A final limitation concerns the confounding variables that may influence the results of the study. These include: number of teammates, frequency and duration of common planning times per week, number of years a respondent has participated in teaming practices, new team members, and professional development in teaming strategies. The researcher controlled for these demographic variables, as well as the variable general job satisfaction, by forcing them first into the multiple regression analysis in Research Question 4. Delimitations The scope of the study was determined by several considerations. First, this study focused on the broad traits of the five dimensions of personality as opposed to subordinate dimensions or narrow facets. Next, the outcome studied was the individual’s satisfaction with working with the team, not job satisfaction in general. To control for this, both the dependent variable and the confounding variable were measured. Additionally, the dependent variable in this study was satisfaction in working with a team, as distinct from other commonly studied outcomes in small group research such as team cohesion, orientation, efficacy, or viability. Questions to measure satisfaction were carefully selected to avoid responses related to these variables. Finally, the study was confined to team

14 teachers at the middle school level in one state. The schools selected to participate in the study were both urban and suburban school types from various geographic areas. By gathering the demographics of the participants, a comparison of Rhode Island teacher data was possible, thus enabling this study to be generalized to Rhode Island middle schools that are structured with interdisciplinary teams and provide regular common planning time during the school day.

Summary

Examining team member traits is important to understanding and improving team functioning. The field of organizational behavior has advanced team research and has made great progress in the area of team effectiveness (Hollenbeck, DeRue & Guzzo, 2004; Salas, Sims, & Burke, 2005). Though this research has provided a good foundation for understanding collaborative work, particularly in the area of group personality composition, more research is needed. Moreover, the relationship of team personality and satisfaction is an area that has been relatively unresearched. An individual’s satisfaction with working on a team is an important variable to study because greater satisfaction is related to a positive team experience. Fostering positive team experiences may help schools in their shift toward shared practice. This movement from isolation to collaboration supports individual and collective learning and ultimately school improvement (Hindin et al., 2007; Hord, 2007; Somach & Drach-Zahavy, 2007).

15 From a practical perspective, one might deduce that understanding team composition in terms of personality traits may help educators to match individuals to teams or to adjust the combination of team members (Humphrey, Hollenbeck, Meyer, & Ilgen, 2007). Also, if team members become more informed about their dissimilarities, they may learn to use their diversity in constructive ways, increasing their team effectiveness. This chapter provided an overview to the dissertation study of interdisciplinary teams at seven middle schools in Rhode Island regarding team personality and its relationship to individual team member’s satisfaction in working with the team. In the following chapter, a summary of the existing body of knowledge will be presented, encompassing the emergence of work teams, team effectiveness, the FFM or Big Five personality traits, group personality composition and analysis, person-environment fit, and job and team satisfaction. Subsequent chapters will respectively detail the methodology and findings of the study. The final chapter will provide the summary, conclusions, and recommendations of the current research.

16 II. LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

There is a significant body of theoretical and empirical information that is relevant to the study of teams. This chapter provides a framework for understanding the domains of knowledge that served as the basis for the current study. It begins with the historical foundation of team theory and practice in various settings, with a subsequent focus on collaborative teams in schools. This is followed by an exploration of the meaning of team effectiveness. Next, the Big Five personality traits are discussed followed by group personality composition and analysis, person-environment fit, and the outcome variables job and team satisfaction. The chapter concludes with a summary of how the current study relates to and builds upon this existing knowledge.

A Historical Overview of Group Research

In order to understand the current status of small group research, it is important to understand the historical context from which it emanates. The historical roots of the work team are broad, encompassing early laboratory research as well as field studies, multiple countries, and differentiated functions and practices. Additionally, the use of teams has become prevalent in various fields, including manufacturing and business, the military, non-profit organizations, education, and government (Porter & Beyerlein, 2000). Early Research The debates over work groups in social psychology began as early as 1895. Durkheim maintained that the group had its own identity and was thus more than

17 the sum of its parts. This concept was challenged in 1924 by Allport who disputed the concept of group identity and questioned group synergy. An early study at this time that supported Allport was the Ringelmann rope-pull paradigm in which the performance of the group was actually hindered by the group effort (Porter & Beyerlein, 2000). Industrialization in the United States was evolving at this time with the Scientific Management theory strongly influencing organizations. This theory, based on the work of Frederick Taylor, emphasized simplification and efficiency and supported an authoritarian, hierarchical structure. Small groups were evident in the military and some private organizations at this time but these groups were not allowed to exercise their autonomy (Sundstrom, McIntyre, Halfhill, & Richards, 2000). However, a different point of view was also offered at this time by Mary Parker Follett who supported a horizontal approach to organizational structure. She promoted cross-functioning, integration, collective responsibility, and interdependence. These concepts did not have a significant impact on organizations at the time but have proven to be indicative of team practices in organizations today (Porter & Beyerlein, 2000). 1920s to 1940s In the twenties, the Western Electric Company permitted experiments with its factory work groups for the purpose of improving work conditions and retaining employees (Miles, 2000). These experiments, known as the Hawthorne Experiments, resulted in identifying factors related to team member satisfaction,

Full document contains 179 pages
Abstract:   A shift toward shared practice in schools has emerged and teachers are moving from isolation to collaboration (Hindin, Morocco, Mott, & Aguilar, 2007). One of the structures that supports collaboration is the collaborative team. Teams have great potential, however, their failure can impact the organization's progress and the team members' satisfaction in working with the team (Aube & Rousseau, 2005; Peeters, Rutte, van Tuijl, & Reymen, 2006). There is increasing evidence that personality may be related to the quality of social interactions occurring in teams (Waldman, Atwater, & Davidson, 2004). This study examined the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (i.e., Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience) and Satisfaction with the Team. A mixed methods sequential approach utilized a survey methodology followed by open-ended interviews. A questionnaire was administered to a purposive sample of N = 244 full-time educators from N = 49 interdisciplinary teams at N = 7 middle schools in Rhode Island. It assessed the Big Five personality traits, demographic variables, general job satisfaction, and team member satisfaction. These quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics as well as multiple regression. The open-ended interviews were conducted with n = 14 teachers. A synthesis of coded themes was used to investigate team members' perceptions about team members' personalities and interactions. The quantitative findings indicate no significant relationship between the BFI traits and Satisfaction with the Team. However, the relationships varied across team tenure groups. Team-level analyses indicate a significant negative correlation between Satisfaction with the Team and maximum (highest member score) Extraversion (r = -.44, r 2 = .19, p = .002; medium effect size) and maximum Agreeableness (r = -.31, r2 = .10, p = .031; medium effect size). The qualitative data reveal that team climate, team member personality, and team personality configuration are factors related to Satisfaction with the Team. This study extended the research on teams by investigating longer-lived work teams in real life educational settings. Recommendations for administrators and interdisciplinary team teachers regarding professional development and team selection are provided as well as recommendations for future research.