Abstract. This article provides an accessible introduction to recurrence analysis—an analytical approach that has great promise for helping researchers understand group dynamics. Recurrence analysis is a technique with roots in the systems dynamics literature that was developed to reveal the properties of complex, nonlinear systems. By tracking when a system visits similar states at multiple points in its life—and the form or pattern of these recurrences over time—recurrence analysis equips researchers with a set of new metrics for assessing the properties of group dynamics, such as recurrence rate (i.e., stability), determinism (i.e., predictability), and entropy (i.e., complexity). Recent work has shown the potential value of recurrence analysis across a number of different disciplines. To extend its use within the domain of group dynamics, the authors present a conceptual overview of the technique and give a step-by-step tutorial on how to use recurrence analysis to study groups. An exemplar application of recurrence analysis using dialogue-based data from 63 three-person student groups illustrates the use of recurrence analysis in examining how groups change their focus on different processes over time. This is followed by a discussion of variations of recurrence analysis and implications for research questions within the literature on groups. When group researchers track group processes or emergent states over time, and thus compile a time series dataset, recurrence analysis can be a useful technique for measuring the properties of groups as dynamic systems.
Erich, R., Eaton, M., Mayes, R., Pierce, L., Knight, A. P., Genovesi, P., Escobar, J., Mychalczuk, G., Selent, M. (2016). The impact of environment and occupation on the health and safety of active duty Air Force members: Database development and de-identification. Military Medicine, 181, 821-826.
Abstract. Preparing data for medical research can be challenging, detail oriented, and time consuming. Transcription errors, missing or nonsensical data, and records not applicable to the study population may hamper progress and, if unaddressed, can lead to erroneous conclusions. In addition, study data may be housed in multiple disparate databases and complex formats. Merging methods may be incomplete to obtain temporally synchronized data elements. We created a comprehensive database to explore the general hypothesis that environmental and occupational factors influence health outcomes and risk-taking behavior among active duty Air Force personnel. Several databases containing demographics, medical records, health survey responses, and safety incident reports were cleaned, validated, and linked to form a comprehensive, relational database. The final step involved removing and transforming personally identifiable information to form a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant limited database. Initial data consisted of over 62.8 million records containing 221 variables. When completed, approximately 23.9 million clean and valid records with 214 variables remained. With a clean, robust database, future analysis aims to identify high-risk career fields for targeted interventions or uncover potential protective factors in low-risk career fields.
Knight, A. P., & Eisenkraft, N. (2015). Positive is usually good, negative is not always bad: The effects of group affect on social integration and task performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100, 1214-1227.
Abstract. Grounded in a social functional perspective, this article examines the conditions under which group affect influences group functioning. Using meta-analysis, the authors leverage heterogeneity across 39 independent studies of 2,799 groups to understand how contextual factors—group affect source (exogenous or endogenous to the group) and group life span (one-shot or ongoing)—moderate the influence of shared feelings on social integration and task performance. As predicted, results indicate that group positive affect has consistent positive effects on social integration and task performance regardless of contextual idiosyncrasies. The effects of group negative affect, on the other hand, are context-dependent. Shared negative feelings promote social integration and task performance when stemming from an exogenous source or experienced in a 1-shot group, but undermine social integration and task performance when stemming from an endogenous source or experienced in an ongoing group. The authors discuss implications of their findings and highlight directions for future theory and research on group affect.
Abstract. Over two decades of research has indicated that group affect is an important factor that shapes group processes and outcomes. We review and synthesize research on group affect, encompassing trait affect, moods, and emotions at a collective level in purposive teams. We begin by defining group affect and examining four major types of collective affective constructs: (a) convergence in group affect; (b) affective diversity, that is, divergence in group affect; (c) emotional culture; and (d) group affect as a dynamic process that changes over time. We describe the nomological network of group affect, examining both its group-level antecedents and group-level consequences. Antecedents include group leadership, group member attributes, and interactions between and relationships among group members. Consequences of group affect include attitudes about the group and group-level cooperation and conflict, creativity, decision making, and performance. We close by discussing current research knowns, research needs, and what lies on the conceptual and methodological frontiers of this domain.
Abstract. We develop and test predictions about how demographic differences influence dyadic deference in multidisciplinary research teams, and how differential patterns of dyadic deference emerge to shape team-level effectiveness. We present a dual pathway model that recognizes that two distinct mechanisms—task contributions and social affinity— account for how team members’ demographic attributes contribute to deference. Furthermore, we propose that the extent to which these different mechanisms are prevalent in a team has implications for the team’s research productivity, with deference based on social affinity detracting from it and deference based on task contributions enhancing it. Using longitudinal data from a sample of 55 multidisciplinary research teams comprising 619 scientists, we found general support for our conceptual model. Our findings underscore the importance of accounting for multiple interpersonal mechanisms to understand the complex, multilevel nature of deference in teams.
Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to advance the team dynamics and group development literatures by developing and testing a theoretical model of how affect shapes transitions in teams over time. Integrating the group transitions literature with theory and research on the mood-as-input theory, I propose that shared team mood influences the extent to which team members seek out and experiment with alternative ways of completing their work at different points in a team’s life. In the first half of the team’s life, when team members are relatively task-focused, I argue that team positive mood (i.e., a positively valenced affective state shared by team members at a given point in time) stimulates, whereas team negative mood (i.e., a negatively valenced affective state shared by team members) suppresses, exploratory search. At the temporal midpoint, however, when team members’ focus on performance heightens, team positive mood acts as a shutoff switch for search, leading to a decline in exploratory search over the second half of the team’s life. Team negative mood at the midpoint, on the other hand, leads team members to persist in exploratory search, even as a deadline draws near. A team’s trajectory of exploratory search over time, I propose, influences team performance such that it is highest when teams engage in high exploratory search early in the team’s life and decline in exploratory search over the second half of the team’s life. The results of a longitudinal, survey-based study of teams preparing for a military competition largely support my predictions.
Knight, A. P., & Baer, M. (2014). Get up, stand up: The effects of a non-sedentary workspace on information elaboration and group performance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 910-917.
Abstract. Non-sedentary work configurations, which encourage standing rather than sitting in the course of work, are becoming increasingly prevalent in organizations. In this article, we build and test theory about how non-sedentary arrangements influence interpersonal processes in groups performing knowledge work—tasks that require groups to combine information to develop creative ideas and solve problems. We propose that a non-sedentary workspace increases group arousal, while at the same time decreasing group idea territoriality, both of which result in better information elaboration and, indirectly, better group performance. The results of an experimental study of 54 groups engaged in a creative task provide support for this dual pathway model and underscore the important role of the physical space in which a group works as a contextual input to group processes and outcomes.
Abstract. The current research explores how awareness of shared attention influences attitude formation. We theorized that sharing the experience of an object with fellow group members would increase elaborative processing, which in turn would intensify the effects of participant mood on attitude formation. Four experiments found that observing the same object as similar others produced more positive ratings among those in a positive mood, but more negative ratings among those in a negative mood. Participant mood had a stronger influence on evaluations when an object had purportedly been viewed by similar others than when (a) that same object was being viewed by dissimilar others, (b) similar others were viewing a different object, (c) different others were viewing a different object, or (d) the object was viewed alone with no others present. Study 4 demonstrated that these effects were driven by heightened cognitive elaboration of the attended object in the shared attention condition. These findings support the theoretical conjecture that an object attended with one’s ingroup is subject to broader encoding in relation to existing knowledge structures.
Klein, K. J., Knight, A. P., Ziegert, J. C., Lim, B. C., & Saltz, J. L. (2011). When team members’ values differ: The moderating effects of team leadership. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114, 25-36.
Abstract. Integrating theory and research on values, diversity, situational strength, and team leadership, we proposed that team leadership moderates the effects of values diversity on team conflict. In a longitudinal survey study of national service teams, we found significant, but opposite, moderating effects of task-focused and person-focused leadership. As predicted, task-focused leadership attenuated the diversity–conflict relationship, while person-focused leadership exacerbated the diversity–conflict relationship. More specifically, task-focused leadership decreased the relationship between work ethic diversity and team conflict. Person-focused leadership increased the relationship between traditionalism diversity and team conflict. Team conflict mediated the effects of the interactions of leadership and values diversity on team effectiveness.
Shteynberg, G., Leslie, L. M., Knight, A. P., & Mayer, D. M. (2011). But affirmative action hurts us! Race-related beliefs shape perceptions of White disadvantage and policy unfairness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115, 1-12.
Abstract. Drawing on social identity theory, we examine how Whites’ race-related beliefs drive their reactions to race-based Affirmative Action Policies (AAPs). Across laboratory and field settings, we find that Whites with relatively high modern racism (MR) or collective relative deprivation (CRD) beliefs perceive greater White disadvantage in organizations that have race-based AAPs, than in organizations that do not. Alternatively, race-based AAPs do not lead to perceptions of White disadvantage among Whites with relatively low MR and CRD beliefs. We also find that White disadvantage mediates the relationship between the combined effects of race-based AAPs, MR beliefs, and CRD beliefs and the perceived fairness of the organization’s selection and promotion policies. Our findings suggest that race-based AAPs do not necessarily lead to perceptions of White disadvantage, but are contingent upon the interpretive lens of Whites’ MR and CRD beliefs, and also offer practical insights for preventing negative reactions to race-based AAPs.