Discussion : Team Performance, Productivity and Rewording Teamwork

Open Posted By: surajrudrajnv33 Date: 09/09/2020 High School Homework Writing

Primary Post Assignment: Team Performance, Productivity and Rewording Teamwork :(400+ words)

This week module focuses on performance, productivity, and rewarding teamwork. Based on your understanding, discuss the following.

>How to achieve team productivity:

>What conditions need to be in place for teams to excel and why?

>Suggest ways to design teamwork so that threats to performance are minimized.

>As a manager, how would you reward teamwork?

-Support your work with specific citations from this week's learning resources and other sources.

Respond to post in one of the following ways:(200+ words)

• Share an insight from having read your colleagues' postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.

• Make suggestions based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.

Category: Engineering & Sciences Subjects: Engineering Deadline: 12 Hours Budget: $150 - $300 Pages: 3-6 Pages (Medium Assignment)

Attachment 1

How to increase Team Productivity?

It is an important responsibility of the manager to ensure that the team performs in unison to achieve the common goal. The members of the team have to engage and coordinate to work and increase the team’s efficiency, and a strong team culture can be built and followed to gain success and timely completion of projects (Luo & Qiao, 2020). Communication is key to success, all the individuals who are a part of the team, have to be transparent and the project manager has to set up a chain of flow for communication and enforce it. The leader has to adapt participating style of leadership and be a good example for the team to perform and maintain high morale among the members.

What conditions need to be in place for teams to excel and why?

The manager has to create an environment of trust and integrity, so that the members can perform without inhibitions. It is important to establish a setting where risk taking is encouraged and suggestions are welcome (Hasanali, & Saeed, 2014). The project manager has to be supportive of his team members and maintain a respectful atmosphere, that establishes the fact that everyone’s contribution is important and necessary to achieve the end result. The team members and the leader have to be reliable and committed to the goal.

Suggestions to minimize threats and maximize performance

The best option to minimize threats and maximize performance is periodical monitors, internal audits and continuous improvement systems enforced to maintain high standards. It is important to maintain high morale among the team members to increase productivity and reach maximum efficiency (Sindhumol, 2020). Poor communication is also a threat to team unity, and can be corrected by establishing a channel for effective communication and ensuring transparency in team efforts. The team has to be made aware of the order of performing activities, as one activity may be dependent on the completion of another task, so every member should know this timeline and stick to the plan to ensure final delivery is not delayed. This process can be done by drawing up a project plan. And define the critical tasks along with the time taken to finish the tasks.

Rewards for Teamwork

Successful and timely completion of the project and recognition from the leadership is one of the biggest motivators for team members to excel. Financial incentives also have major impact on teams, as equity is applied to individual performance that ensures inspiration among team members.

Attachment 2

http://hum.sagepub.com/ Human Relations

http://hum.sagepub.com/content/61/11/1593 The online version of this article can be found at:

DOI: 10.1177/0018726708096639

2008 61: 1593Human Relations Knippenberg

Michaéla C. Schippers, Deanne N. Den Hartog, Paul L. Koopman and Daan van The role of transformational leadership in enhancing team reflexivity

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The role of transformational leadership in enhancing team reflexivity Michaéla C. Schippers, Deanne N. Den Hartog, Paul L. Koopman and Daan van Knippenberg

A B S T R AC T Team reflexivity, or the extent to which teams reflect upon and

modify their functioning, has been identified as a key factor in the

effectiveness of work teams. As yet, however, little is known about

the factors that play a role in enhancing team reflexivity, and it is thus

important to develop theorizing around the determinants of

reflexivity. From an applied perspective, leadership is a very relevant

factor. The current study is a first step in the development of such

a model, and addresses this important gap in our understanding of

team reflexivity by focusing on the role of leader behavior. We

examined the extent to which transformational leadership influences

team reflexivity, and in turn, team performance, in a field study

conducted among 32 intact work teams from nine organizations.

Team members rated reflexivity and leadership, while external

managers rated team performance. We hypothesized and tested a

mediational model proposing that transformational leadership is

related to the adoption of a shared vision by the team. This in turn

relates to team reflexivity, which leads to higher team performance.

Results support this model.

K E Y WO R D S learning � performance � reflexivity � transformational leadership � vision

1 5 9 3

Human Relations

DOI: 10.1177/0018726708096639

Volume 61(11): 1593–1616

Copyright © 2008

The Tavistock Institute ®

SAGE Publications

Los Angeles, London,

New Delhi, Singapore


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Teams have become the basic organizing structure for accomplishing work in many firms, especially for the increasing numbers of organizations operating in dynamic and complex environments (e.g. Edmondson, 1999). A growing number of teams in the workplace perform intellectual and cognitive tasks (Cooke et al., 2000; Hinsz et al., 1997; Salas et al., 1992), with information processing as a central aspect of their work, making it important to identify factors that influence effectiveness of those teams. Recently, reflexivity (a concept related to team learning) has been identified as a key factor in the effectiveness of work teams (e.g. Schippers, 2003; Schippers et al., 2003, 2007; West, 2000).

At the same time, scholars have noted that individuals and teams rarely reflect spontaneously; rather, teams tend to behave in habitual ways, even when presented with evidence that this behavior might be dysfunctional (Gersick & Hackman, 1990). However, research and theory regarding the determinants and outcomes of reflexivity is still scarce. Therefore, given the importance of reflexivity for the effective functioning of teams, it is crucial to understand what factors motivate teams to become more reflexive, and to develop theory about the determinants of reflexivity. In the present study, we focused on a factor that may be of particular importance in this respect: team leadership (see Bass, 2000; Hirst et al., 2004). More specifically, we examined how leadership may motivate group members to become more reflexive. We tested the hypothesis that transformational leadership is positively related to team reflexivity and team performance, and that this relationship is mediated by a shared vision within the team. We expect that transformational leader- ship will enhance a common goal and shared vision in the team. Having the shared frame of reference inherent in such a shared team vision will enhance teams’ ability to collectively reflect on team objectives and the strategies used to reach them and, in turn, this should enhance team effectiveness.

Team reflexivity, transformational leadership and a shared vision

The concept of reflexivity is rooted in ancient philosophy and is seen by Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Epicures as seeing the world and oneself in a dialectical manner. In developmental and educational psychology, a related concept is metacognitions, referring to reflecting on the learning process (e.g. Brown, 1978; Flavell, 1979), whereas in medicine the same concept is used to refer to a reflective approach involving stepping back from the problem at hand in order to examine and reflect on the thinking process. In a work context, reflexivity has taken on the meaning of both sensemaking and learning from actions (Senge, 1990; see Daley, 2001). For instance, Schön

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(1983) coined the term ‘reflection in action’ to describe the interwoven cycle of reflection and action of professionals completing complex tasks. At the team level, reflexivity is defined as ‘the extent to which group members overtly reflect on, and communicate about the group’s objectives, strategies (decision- making) and processes (communication), and adapt these to current or anticipated circumstances’ (West, 2000: 3). A critical difference between indi- vidual reflexivity and team reflexivity is that reflexivity at the team level necessarily involves discussion and is thus observable behavior, and so can be seen as a relational activity (Barge, 2004). According to Barge (2004: 92), ‘the latter recognizes that managers are continually co-creating conversational texts with others and that the tactics they employ influence the shape and form of the emerging text’. In this view, reflexive practice involves making sense of situations together in a continually changing environment. In the current research, we focus on reflexivity in a relational way, entailing communicating views and ideas within a team.

Research has consistently found reflexivity to be positively related to subjective as well as objective measures of team performance (Carter & West, 1998; Hirst et al., 2004; Schippers et al., 2003; Somech, 2006; Tjosvold et al., 2004). For example, in a study among 19 BBC production teams, Carter and West (1998) found that reflexivity predicted team effectiveness. A study among three-person experimental groups showed that teams in the reflexivity condition performed better than teams in the control condition (Gurtner et al., 2007), and a field study among 59 work teams found that team reflexivity mediated the (moderated) relationship between diversity and team performance, commitment, and satisfaction (Schippers et al., 2003).

The converging evidence that reflexivity enhances team performance suggests that organizations may improve team performance by fostering team reflexivity. This gives rise to the question of how team reflexivity may be stimulated, and an obvious route would be through team leadership. Team leaders carry the responsibility for the day-to-day functioning of the team and should be especially well positioned to influence team processes like reflexivity. Although it seems an obvious relationship, and some authors hint at the relationship between transformational leadership and learning (e.g. Bass, 2000), empirical evidence regarding the relation between trans- formational leadership and reflexivity (i.e. team learning) is still lacking. In a similar vein, Gersick and Hackman (1990) suggested that a team leader might help the team to develop meta-routines, which prompt members to initiate re-evaluation of first level routines in a regular and timely fashion, and thus become more reflexive. Indeed, others also mention collective infor- mation processing and team metacognition (i.e. reflexivity) as important mediators between leadership processes and team effectiveness (e.g. Zaccaro et al., 2001).

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First evidence for the role of team leadership in engendering team reflexivity may be found in studies by Hirst et al. (2004), who found that facilitative leader behaviors were positively related to team reflexivity, which in turn affected customer ratings of team performance, and Somech (2006), who found that both directive and participative leadership moderated the relationship between functional heterogeneity and team reflexivity, and that team reflexivity, in turn, influenced innovation in a sample of health care teams. However, the notion that leaders may engender rethinking or re- flexivity by fostering a shared vision is found in theories of transformational leadership (e.g. Bass, 1985, 2000; Bass & Riggio, 2006; Berson et al., 2001). For example, this literature suggests that leaders present a vision that raises followers’ awareness of and dedication to the ideals of the group and that may help them see old problems in a new light.

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that transforms followers by stimulating them to go beyond self-interest through altering their morale, values and ideals, and motivating them to perform above expec- tations (Bass, 1985; Yukl, 1999). Since its introduction, transformational leadership has been strongly emphasized in the management literature (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1990; Burns, 1978; House, 1996; Lowe et al., 1996; Sashkin, 1988; Yukl, 1998). It is often suggested, but hardly ever tested, that transformational leadership is related to a shared vision and learning among followers. Communicating a compelling vision is seen as an important part of transformational leadership, which is supposed to be related to a shared vision among followers (e.g. Berson et al., 2001). Our central argument is that transformational leader behavior will enhance the development of a shared vision among team members and that this shared vision in turn affects reflexivity. The inspirational motivation, charismatic, and intellectual stimu- lation aspects of transformational leadership seem especially important for team reflexivity. For instance, through intellectual stimulation, transfor- mational leaders encourage followers to consider new points of view and question old assumptions (Bass, 1985).

Prior research has shown that transformational leadership is a higher- order construct comprising several components. However, even after decades of research little consensus exists in the literature about the exact components comprising transformational leadership. An often used ques- tionnaire to measure transformational leadership is the Multifactor Leader- ship Questionnaire (MLQ) as developed by Bass and associates (e.g. Avolio et al., 1999), although other dimensional measures (e.g. Podsakoff et al., 1990) or combined scales (e.g. De Hoogh et al., 2005) have also been used. Here, such a shorter, combined scale was used. Several reviews and meta- analyses showed that the subscales of transformational leadership are highly intercorrelated (often around or even above .80), and that transformational

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leadership can also be seen as one higher-order construct (e.g. Den Hartog et al., 1997; for reviews, see Avolio et al., 1999; Lowe et al., 1996). Although often used as a unidimensional scale, sometimes subscales have been used in prior research. For example, in recent MLQ research on the factor structure of this instrument a five-factor model emerged (Antonakis et al., 2003).

In much of the research on transformational leadership to date, three subcomponents are discerned: a combined scale of charisma/inspirational, as well as intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. Charisma/ inspirational leadership entails appealing to a collective identity and express- ing an energizing vision. Intellectual stimulation is expressed by encouraging followers to see things in a new light, and to question the status quo. Indi- vidualized consideration entails understanding follower’s needs, and helping them to grow to their full potential. Since this latter construct is more on the dyadic level, and can be different for followers from the same team with the same leader, we decided to focus on the transformational leadership aspects that we expected to be positively related to team level reflexivity. Furthermore, individualized consideration is not always included in operationalizations of transformational leadership. For example, in their meta-analysis, Avolio et al. (1999) report a higher-order factor of transformational leadership, consisting of charisma, inspirational and intellectual stimulating leadership, while indi- vidualized consideration and contingent reward (an aspect of transactional leadership) comprise a second higher-order factor.

Transformational leaders articulate a vision that describes a better future and is congruent with the values of followers. The leader’s personal example serves as a model of the kind of behavior required to attain the vision. Visioning is not only seen as crucial to arouse followers in the leader- ship literature, the importance of having a shared vision as a motivating force is also found in the team literature (e.g. West, 2000). Where the team literature focuses on the sharedness of the team vision, which is held to be important for the achievement of a long-term orientation and longer-term goals of the team (see Guzzo & Dickson, 1996), the leadership literature addresses leader’s capacity to develop and communicate such a vision, which is attractive and motivating for followers, and which they collaboratively will try to attain (e.g. Bass, 1985; see Conger & Kanungo, 1987; Tourish & Pinnington, 2002). However, few studies have tested whether such a com- municated vision indeed becomes a shared vision in the team.

We argue that having a shared, overarching goal or vision of the future ensures a shared frame of reference for team members, which makes it easier for teams to reflect effectively on their functioning. If teams have a clear team goal (i.e. a shared vision), they will be better able to reflect, because they will have more of an idea if they are on track in reaching the goal (see Locke & Latham, 1990). The goal will aid the reflective team in deciding if they are

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on the right track or need to adapt. A transformational leader will aid this process by regularly promoting the goal to the team (i.e. enhancing a shared vision) and thus stimulate reflexivity in an indirect way. Thus, we test whether transformational leadership (i.e. charisma/inspiration and intellec- tual stimulation) is positively related to reflexivity and performance through its relationship with a shared vision. In other words, we test whether leaders who engender shared norms, aspirations and ideals and show team members how this new frame of mind helps to look at problems from new angles, will stimulate the formation of a shared vision within teams and, subsequently, increase reflexivity within teams.

Hypothesis 1. Transformational leadership is positively related to team reflexivity.

Hypothesis 2. A shared vision mediates the relationship between trans- formational leadership and team reflexivity.

Besides the proposed relationship with team process, many researchers argue that a link between transformational leadership and team performance should exist (Yukl, 1998), and several studies have tested this link. For instance, Lim and Ployhart (2004) examined the impact of transformational leadership on team performance in combat teams and found a positive relationship. Another study found that transformational leadership positively affected group potency, and in turn group effectiveness (Sosik et al., 1997). Furthermore, a study among 47 intact teams found that transformational leadership was related to group effectiveness, through the effect on group cohesion, empowerment and collective efficacy (Jung & Sosik, 2002). It is important to note that, although we do expect a relationship between transformational leadership and team performance, other variables that are not measured in the current study, such as motivation, group cohesion and collective efficacy, are also likely to influence team performance (e.g. Jung & Sosik, 2002; Sosik et al., 1997; West, 2000). We thus expect reflexivity (and a shared vision) to partially mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and team performance. This line of thinking also assumes that reflexivity mediates between a shared vision on the one hand, and team performance on the other hand. The research model is depicted in Figure 1. Thus, we expect:

Hypothesis 3. A shared vision and reflexivity both partially and sequentially mediate the relationship between transformational leader- ship and team performance.

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Participants and procedure

Thirty-two teams from nine different organizations participated in this study. The teams included management teams, service teams, production teams, teams in government service, and facilitating teams. The teams came from companies in the IT, insurance and banking sector, government and chemical industry. Following Hackman (1987), we considered teams as composed of individuals who both see themselves and are seen by others as an inter- dependent social entity. Furthermore, teams are embedded in a larger organization, and the team’s performance affects others, for instance suppliers or customers. Only teams that met these criteria were considered for participation. In most cases team members were assigned to the teams when they were first formed; teams did not select members themselves. We purposely sought teams with different, but relatively knowledge-intensive, tasks to include in the study. Teams with very routine jobs were not considered for inclusion in the study, as reflexivity is likely to be less relevant for such teams. The team tasks of the participating teams differed widely, from administrative or production work (production teams) to leading a company (management teams).

Teams were recruited by phone. For all teams, questionnaire packages were mailed to the team leaders who had agreed to participate in the study. These team leaders then handed the questionnaires to their team members, and ensured that these questionnaires were completed in private. A cover letter described the purpose of the study and guaranteed the respondents confidentiality. Instructions for completion of the questionnaire were given

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Transformational leadership

Shared vision

Team reflexivity

Team performance

Figure 1 Hypothesized direct and indirect relationships in this study Note: Hypotheses in bold are the hypotheses including the mediator(s)

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on the first page. All teams had an appointed team leader, which enabled the researchers to ensure that all team members were referring to the same team leader when filling out the questionnaire. All individual team members sent the questionnaires directly to the researchers. Feedback sessions with the teams were held to explain the results.

The response rate was 95 percent. Two questionnaires were incom- plete and thus excluded from further analyses. The remaining respondents (N = 238) were from 32 teams ranging in size from four to 14 members with an average of 7.56 persons per team and at least two respondents per team. In most teams, all team members returned the questionnaire. Of these respondents, 68 percent were male. The mean age of respondents was 38 years (SD = 9.28).


Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership was measured using six items based on Den Hartog et al. (1997). Because we had access to the teams on the condition that the survey would be as short as possible, we were unable to measure transformational leadership with a lengthy questionnaire. The items in the scale were formulated to measure a combination of intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and charisma, which we argue are the key elements of transformational leadership in this context (Waldman et al., 2006). Other studies have used similar short measures to tap such forms of leadership (De Hoogh et al., 2005; Den Hartog et al., 2007; Waldman et al., 2006). The items were: ‘The team leader serves as a role model for me’, ‘The team leader makes me aware of strongly held values, ideals, and aspirations which are shared in common’, ‘I have complete confidence in him/her’, ‘In my mind, he/she is a symbol of success and accomplishment’, ‘Shows us how to look at problems from new angles’, ‘Stimulates me to back up my opinions with good reasoning’ (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree), α = .85. The first pair of items concerns the subscale inspirational motivation, the second pair charisma, and the last pair intellectual stimulation.

Shared vision

Shared vision was measured with five items, developed in the context of this research and in line with previous literature (e.g. Burningham & West, 1995; Senge, 1990; Tindale & Kameda, 2000). The items were ‘This team has a vision’, ‘Team members are acquainted with the vision’, ‘Team members

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agree on the team’s vision’, ‘The vision provides team members with clear directions with respect to the work that has to be done’, and ‘This team has a clear vision of what it wants to achieve’ (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree), α = .92.


Reflexivity was measured by six items from the reflexivity measure of Schippers et al. (2007) that are in part based on the scale developed by Swift and West (1998). Examples of items are: ‘We regularly discuss whether the team is working effectively’, ‘The methods used by the team to get the job done are often discussed’, and ‘We regularly reflect on the way in which we communicate’ (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree), α = .86.


In order to avoid potential common source bias, external managers or super- visors (who were not team members) were asked to rate the performance of the 32 teams on a scale from one to ten (1 = very bad to 10 = very good). We asked team members and team leaders to identify such a manager who had detailed knowledge about their team performance. In all teams, team members and the leader agreed on a manager that could best rate their team performance. The researchers checked this with the proposed managers, before asking them to rate the teams’ overall performance. This relatively simple measure was used because some managers had to rate up to six teams.


Confirmatory factor analysis of the transformational leadership scale and measurement model

In order to test for convergent and discriminant validity of the trans- formational leadership scales as well as the measurement model, we conducted confirmatory factor analyses, using LISREL. Although confirma- tory factor analyses sometimes offer support for the hypothesized dimensions of transformational leadership, a major problem is that transformational leadership dimensions do not have differential relations with outcome variables (Bycio et al., 1995). Over the last decades, the transformational leadership scale has also often been used as a unidimensional construct (Judge & Bono, 2000; Kark et al., 2003; Lim & Ployhart, 2004). While the

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more parsimonious measurement of our hypotheses would thus reflect the unidimensional construct of transformational leadership, an obvious issue is whether the model with one unidimensional factor reflects the data satisfac- torily. Therefore, we conducted a series of confirmatory factor analyses on the transformational leadership items, to see if a unidimensional scale would fit the data better than a two- or three-factor model. We estimated the models using maximum likelihood techniques within LISREL VIII. Subsequently, we tested our entire measurement model with all constructs in one analysis.

Based on prior research, the following subscales of transformational leadership were distinguished: inspirational motivation, charisma and intel- lectual stimulation. Since an often-used subscale refers to the combination of intellectual stimulation and charisma, (for a review, see Avolio et al., 1999) we composed this scale for the two-factor solution. We compared the fit of the unidimensional model to the two- (i.e. charisma/inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation) and three-factor structure (i.e. inspirational motivation, charisma and intellectual stimulation). In these models, the factors were allowed to correlate. For the unidimensional model, χ2(9, N = 222) = 13.18 (p < .01), AGFI = .95, and RMSEA = .05; for the two-factor structure χ2(8, N = 222) = 8.12, AGFI = .98, and RMSEA = .00; for the three-factor structure χ2(6, N = 222) = 1.04, AGFI = .98, and RMSEA = .00. These results show that the chi-squares and fit indices do not differ much between these three models. Although the improvement in fit of the two- factor solution over the unidimensional model was significant (χ2diff = 8.12, d.f. = 1, p < .05), the absolute difference in fit is small. The improvement in fit of the three-factor solution over the two-factor solution was not signifi- cant (χ2diff = 1.04, d.f. = 2, NS). A test of discriminant validity (recommended by Fornell & Larcker, 1981, and described in full by Netemeyer et al., 1990), is to test whether the variance extracted estimates of the two- and three- factor solutions exceed the square of the correlation between the constructs. If this is the case, evidence of discriminant validity exists (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). The variance extracted estimates for the two-dimensional construct are .56 for inspirational motivation/charisma, and .51 for intellectual stimulation. These are both lower than the square of the correlations between the constructs (φ = .86, φ2 = .74), indicating that no support for discriminant validity of the two-factor solution exists. The variance extracted estimates for the three-dimensional construct are .67 for inspirational motivation, .49 for charisma and .51 for intellectual stimulation. These are lower than the square of the correlations between the constructs (φIM/C = .96, φIM/C2 = .92; φIM/IS = .84, φIM/IS2 = .71; φC/IS = .86, φC/IS2 = .74). These results indicate that there is no support for discriminant validity of the three scales. The standardized loadings suggest convergent validity of a single factor of

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transformational leadership (see Table 1). Concluding, we used trans- formational leadership as one factor in subsequent analyses.

Using the same procedures as described above, we tested the measure- ment model by comparing the fit of the unidimensional model to the hypoth- esized three-factor structure (i.e. transformational leadership, shared vision and reflexivity as separate constructs). For the unidimensional model, χ2(119, N = 225) = 815.14, p < .001, AGFI = .49, RMSEA = .21; for the three-factor structure χ2(116, N = 225) = 158.51, p < .001, AGFI = .89, RMSEA = .04. The significant improvement in fit of the three-factor solution over the unidimensional model, χ2diff = 656.63, d.f. = 3, p < .001, offers support for the discriminant validity of the scales.

We then tested whether the variance extracted estimates exceeded the squares of the correlations (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). The variance extracted estimates are .50 for transformational leadership, .73 for shared vision and .41 for reflexivity. All exceed the square of the correlations between the constructs (φs are .10, .11, and .29 respectively), which offers further support for the discriminant validity between these three constructs (see Table 1). The

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Table 1 Measurement properties

Construct and indicators Standardized loading Variance extracted estimate

1 Transf. leadership .50 λx1 .81 λx2 .78 λx3 .65 λx4 .73 λx5 .60 λx6 .67

2 Shared vision .73 λx1 .85 λx2 .87 λx3 .85 λx4 .88 λx5 .81

3 Reflexivity .41 λx1 .58 λx2 .61 λx3 .53 λx4 .72 λx5 .65 λx6 .72

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standardized loadings for the three scales show that the items load signifi- cantly on their respective constructs, offering support for the convergent validity of the three scales. Support for the nomological validity will be presented in the next section, where we discuss the expected relationships (Hair et al., 2006).

Data aggregation

Although we handed out questionnaires to the individual team members, our measures were clearly aimed at the team level, and therefore the variables in this study are expected to operate at the team level of analysis. Furthermore, our hypotheses identified the group as the unit of analysis. ICC-values reported in Table 2 support this. James (1982) reports a median ICC(1) of .12 for the organizational literature. The ICC(1) values for the variables in this study are all higher than .12. In the table, we also report the ICC(2) values. However, since the ICC(2) value also depends on team size, with higher values of ICC(2) as team size increases (Bliese, 2000), we chose to depend mainly on the outcomes of ICC(1) in deciding whether or not to aggregate the individual-level scores. To further assess within-team agree- ment, we calculated the rwg(j) (James et al., 1984, 1993). A value of .70 or above is suggested as ‘good’ with respect to within-group interrater agree- ment (James et al., 1993). Rwg(j) averaged .81 for transformational leader- ship, .74 for vision, and .79 for reflexivity, all were well above .70 and suggesting that aggregating to the team level is justified.

The team level correlations between all variables are presented in Table 2. As expected, significant positive correlations are found for trans- formational leadership and team performance, as well as shared vision and team reflexivity.

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Table 2 Means, standard deviations, F-values, ICC-values, aggregate level intercorrelations and Cronbach’s alphas (N = 32 teams)

Variable M SD F(59, 392) ICC(1) ICC(2) 1 2 3 4

1 Transf. leadership 3.34 .44 2.84** .21 .68 .85 2 Shared vision 3.24 .61 3.51** .32 .79 .43** .92 3 Reflexivity 2.92 .39 2.33** .16 .61 .32* .61** .86 4 Performancea 7.03 .97 – – – .32* .33* .44** –

Note: * p ≤ .05; ** p ≤ .01; one-tailed. a Supervisor ratings of performance.

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Hypotheses testing

Hypotheses 1 through 3 predicted direct and mediating relationships. We tested these relationships through series of regression analyses. These relationships are described below. We ran all analyses with and without team size and kind of team as control variables. Doing so did not change our results significantly, and thus, to increase power, the results of the analyses without control variables are reported. In order to account for nested effects of teams within organizations, we performed hierarchical linear modeling using STATA in addition to the regression analysis performed in SPSS.

We hypothesized a main effect of transformational leadership on team reflexivity (Hypothesis 1) and sequential mediational effects: Trans- formational leadership is expected to result in a shared vision amongst followers and a shared vision is expected to be related to enhanced team reflexivity (Hypothesis 2), which in turn is expected to lead to enhanced team performance (Hypothesis 3).1

To examine the sequential mediating roles of a shared vision and reflex- ivity in the relationship between transformational leadership and perform- ance, three steps were followed, in line with the suggestions of Baron and Kenny (1986). First, we should demonstrate that there is a relationship between the antecedent and the consequence. Regression analyses showed significant relationships (see Figure 2). As predicted by Hypothesis 1, a relationship between transformational leadership and team reflexivity was found (β = .32, p < .01), as well as a relationship between transformational leadership and team performance (β = .32, p = .05). Second, the relationship between the antecedent and the mediator should be significant, as well as the relationship between the mediator and the consequence. A relationship between transformational leadership and a shared vision was indeed found (β = .43, p < .01), as well as a relationship between a shared vision and reflexivity (β = .58, p < .01). Furthermore, the mediator shared vision was positively related to team reflexivity, and the mediator team reflexivity was positively related to team performance (see Figure 2).

Finally, the unique impact of the mediators (shared vision and reflex- ivity) should be demonstrated. In line with this, our hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the betas of the simple main effects declined and became non-significant when shared vision was added to the equation (change in beta from .32 to .08), supporting Hypothesis 2. Moreover, the beta values also declined and became non-significant when reflexivity was added in the last step (change in beta from .32 to .19; see Figure 2), corroborating Hypothesis 3. When reflexivity was added to the equation, the relation between a shared vision and team performance also became non- significant (change in beta from .33 to .09). With respect to performance, we

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expected a partial mediational effect, as other variables besides the ones measured in the current study are also expected to influence performance, and the remaining beta coefficient seems to point in that direction, although it is not significant after adding the mediators.2

We then performed Sobel tests in order to assess whether the decreases in the betas of the hypothesized mediational models are significant (Goodman, 1960). For the relation transformational leadership–shared vision–reflexivity, the z-value (one-tailed) was 2.15, p < .05. For the relation shared vision–reflexivity–team performance the z-value (one-tailed) was 1.62, p < .05.

Our results thus suggest that transformational leadership is related to a shared vision among team members, which is in turn related to increased team reflexivity. This is ultimately related to enhanced performance as proposed in Hypothesis 3.

Mediation can also be demonstrated by a procedure put forward by Preacher and Hayes (2004, 2007a), involving bootstrapping (Shrout & Bolger, 2002). Bootstrapping is a nonparametric method for assigning measures of accuracy to statistical estimates (Efron & Tibishirani, 1998; Mooney & Duval, 1993), whereby the standard errors are estimated using the available data. It is an alternative test to normal-theory tests of mediation (e.g. Shrout & Bolger, 2002), and has been used in previous research to test for mediation (Brown et al., 2006), and moderated mediation (Giessner &

Human Relations 61(11)1 6 0 6

Figure 2 Main and mediating relationships of transformational leadership with supervisor-rated team performance (N = 32 teams)a a Numbers above the arrows represent standardized coefficients (betas). Betas in bold are based on regression equations including the connecting mediator. Note: * p < .05, ** p < .01, one-tailed tests.



.43** .58**


Transformational leadership

Shared vision

Team reflexivity

Team performance


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van Knippenberg, 2008). This procedure is recommended for testing of indirect effects, especially with smaller sample sizes, because it has no assump- tions regarding underlying sampling distributions (Shrout & Bolger, 2002). The formal test for mediation involves computing confidence intervals around the product term (a*b), and if zero falls outside of this 95 percent confidence interval, the indirect effect is significant and mediation has occurred. Follow- ing recommendations, we resampled 1000 times, and used the percentile method to create 95 percent intervals (Preacher & Hayes, 2007b). This approach provided consistent results with the mediation analyses described above. Specifically, zero fell outside the confidence interval around the indirect effects, ranging from .01 to .94. These results provide convergent evidence that, in line with our hypotheses, shared vision mediates between trans- formational leadership and reflexivity, and that shared vision and reflexivity mediate between transformational leadership and performance.

In order to account for the nested effects of teams within organizations, we estimated multilevel regression models using the linear mixed effects program xtmixed in STATA 9.1 (StataCorp., 2005), in addition to the regression analysis performed in SPSS. Multilevel regression analysis stat- istically models both within-groups as well as between-groups relations (Bryk & Raudenbush, 1992; Snijders & Bosker, 1999). In our case, within-group effects refer to the team-level effects, whereas between-group relations refer to the organizational-level effects. Unlike ordinary least squares regression (OLS), multilevel analysis considers statistical dependencies of observations within groups as well as differences across groups, and hence provides less biased estimates for standard errors of regression coefficients. We estimated a two-level model with teams nested within organizations, using maximum likelihood (ML) estimation. We reported fixed effects (gammas) analogous to regression coefficients. To evaluate whether each study variable signifi- cantly added to the explanation of team performance, we calculated likeli- hood ratio tests. Likelihood ratio tests determine whether model fit (i.e. log-likelihood values) of a model with more parameters is significantly better than one with fewer parameters. We also computed the proportional re- duction of prediction error when predictors were added to the model, which is analogous to effect sizes or R2 in multiple regression analysis (Snijders & Bosker, 1999).

Results of these analyses showed virtually the same results as reported for the multiple regression analyses. Specifically, a relationship between transformational leadership and team reflexivity was found (γ = .36, p < .01), as well as the relationship between transformational leadership and team performance (γ = .69, p < .05). Also a relationship between a shared vision and reflexivity (γ = .38, p < .01) was found. Furthermore, shared vision was

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positively related to team reflexivity, and the mediator team reflexivity was positively related to team performance. Finally, the gammas of the simple main effects declined and became non-significant when shared vision (change in gamma from .46 to .00) and reflexivity (change in gamma from 1.07 to .87) were subsequently added in the last steps. These results show that our predicted model also holds when the nested structure of the data is accounted for.


Team reflexivity is seen as a key factor in team effectiveness and enhancing reflexivity is therefore important to organizations. A relevant question related to this is whether and how reflexivity can be fostered by team leaders (Hirst et al., 2004; Somech, 2006; see Gersick & Hackman, 1990). The current study therefore focused on potential determinants of reflexivity, and more specifically on the relation between transformational leadership and reflexiv- ity through the establishment of a shared vision. Results supported our hypotheses. Positive relationships between team leaders’ transformational leadership, a shared team vision, team reflexivity and team performance were found, as predicted. The predicted mediational model was also supported. We found that where team leaders were rated as more transformational, teams reported a stronger shared vision, and having this shared vision was positively related to team reflexivity. This was in turn positively related to team perform- ance, as rated by an external manager. These results highlight the direct and the indirect relations between transformational team leadership, shared vision, reflexivity and performance in work teams.

The current study showed that one way in which the team leader’s behavior plays a role in enhancing reflexivity and performance is through engendering a shared vision within the team. The current research is the first to show that transformational leadership is important in stimulating team reflexivity and subsequent team performance. Moreover, the results from this study suggest that this effect might be mainly due to the transformational leader’s role in creating a shared team vision. In our study, the impact of transformational leadership (operationalized as a combination of intellectual stimulation, charisma and inspirational motivation) on reflexivity was mediated by a shared vision. In teams with leaders who inspire confidence and awe, present new ways of seeing the world, and who stimulate their team members to rethink old habits, team members report having a shared vision. In teams with a shared vision, team members see their team as having a common view on the goals and vision of the team and are also aware that team members share this view. In turn, this stronger shared outlook of team

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members is related to increased reflection on, and communication about, objectives, strategies and processes within the team. Sharing this vision or basic outlook on end-goals seems to make it easier for the team to reflect on whether it is still on the right path as well as on alternative ways forward. Finally, in line with previous studies, we found that teams higher on re- flexivity outperform those lower on reflexivity. As noted earlier, several theorists have advanced such propositions, but the available empirical body of knowledge on the role of team leaders as well as the process of reflex- ivity in teams is small. Hence, an important contribution of the present research is that it provides empirical support for a compelling argument that is often advanced but hardly tested.

The current study has several strengths and limitations. An important strength of this research lies in the fact that it was done amongst several different teams from different kinds of organizations, which means that the findings can probably be generalized to several work settings. However, some limitations can be outlined as well. A first limitation lies in the cross-sectional nature of this study. This design does not allow for testing of directionality of the results. Although the mediational tests are consistent with a causal chain between transformational leadership, a shared vision, reflexivity and team performance, according to Shrout and Bolger (2002: 439): ‘statistical mediation analyses based on non-experimental data provide suggestive rather than definitive evidence regarding causal processes’. In other words, reverse causality (e.g. performance increasing reflexivity) cannot be ruled out based on these data and the causal ordering should be tested. In order to test for directionality, longitudinal and experimental research will be necessary.

Second, the performance of teams could not be measured through more ‘objective’ measures, for instance, team output or customer satisfaction. This was due to the fact that the teams in our sample had very different kinds of tasks and roles that could not easily be compared in terms of team output or customer satisfaction (e.g. not all teams had customers or produced tangible output). To minimize bias, we did ensure that the team was rated by an external (higher level) manager, who had detailed knowledge of the teams’ performance, rather than by the team members themselves or even the internal team leader, whose behavior was rated by the relationships with more comprehensive measures of performance and, of course, with more teams as another limitation of our study is that the sample size at the team level is limited. Note, however, that the sample size in the current study is similar to many other team studies and based on a sizeable underlying set of individual ratings and responses.

A final limitation may lie in the questionnaire used to measure trans- formational leadership. Some researchers argue that this construct should be used as a formative construct (the measures come together to form the

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construct, e.g. socio-economic status) as opposed to a reflective construct (the measures are seen as reflections of the underlying latent construct; Jarvis et al., 2003; MacKenzie et al., 2005; Podsakoff et al., 2003). However, since in our research we used items from an existing scale that was originally developed as a reflective construct, it may be hard to use that same scale as a formative construct, even if this theoretically makes sense. Research by Diamantopoulos and Siguaw (2006) showed that the perspective taken in developing a measure has a profound influence on the content of that ques- tionnaire. In their research, they developed a questionnaire measuring export coordination, starting with an item pool of 30 items, adopting a reflective versus a formative perspective. Results showed that only two items of the original 30-item pool were common to both measures. A key difference between the two perspectives is that scale development procedures (reflec- tive) tend to retain highly intercorrelated items, whereas index construction procedures (formative) tend to eliminate highly intercorrelated items. The current version of the transformational leadership scale has very high inter- correlations, which makes it hard to consider the scale as formative. Future research could focus more on transformational leadership as a formative measure.

Overall the results of this study suggest that transformational leader- ship can positively influence reflexivity through the formation of a shared vision and this in turn may influence team performance. The finding that reflexivity is positively related to team performance (in our and other studies) is interesting for practicing managers. However, according to West (1996, 2000), teams in organizations are generally not very reflexive. Organizational objectives and the organizational culture are considered as givens and often not subject to discussion (Allen, 1996). Teams tend to behave in habitual ways, even when faced with evidence that this behavior might be dysfunc- tional in reaching team or organizational goals (Gersick & Hackman, 1990). An emphasis on action exists in most companies, which might explain why in most companies teams do not take the time to reflect and learn from past activities. Yet, our results suggest that enhancing team reflexivity may provide an important tool for improving team performance. Our research suggests that one way to do so is to build a shared vision in the team, and that this shared vision can be built through transformational team leader behavior. However, other ways to more directly stimulate reflexivity in teams may also be relevant. For example, teams could be trained to be more re- flexive. Research is needed to assess how, besides through transformational leadership, reflexivity of teams can be enhanced and how reflexivity can become more customary and built into teams’ daily, rather than exceptional, functioning.

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The authors wish to thank Christian Troester and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.


1 One could argue that intellectual stimulation might be more strongly related to reflexivity, whereas fostering a shared vision would be more strongly related to charisma. Although the analyses favored a one-factor solution, we decided to look at the correlations for the subscales and compare these. Results show that the corre- lation between charisma and a shared vision (.43, p < .01) is not significantly higher than the correlation between intellectual stimulation and a shared vision (.37, p < .05), and the relationship between inspirational motivation and a shared vision is .33 (p < .05). Using Steiger’s test for comparing elements of a correlation matrix (Steiger, 1980), these differences in magnitude between the correlations proved not significant (z = .57, NS, and z = –.42, NS respectively) The same holds for the relation between intellectual stimulation and reflexivity, which is .35 (p < .05), versus .33 (p < .05) for the relation between charisma and reflexivity, and.19 (NS) for the relation between inspirational motivation and reflexivity (z = .19, NS; and z = –1.3, NS respectively). Thus, none of the magnitudes of the differences in correlations is significant.

2 One could argue that transformational leadership has an effect on team reflexivity, which in turn has an effect on a shared vision (see van Ginkel & van Knippenberg, 2008). We therefore tested whether transformational leadership affected team re- flexivity, a shared vision and in turn, team performance. However, this relationship did not hold; when adding shared vision in the last step, the effect of reflexivity stayed significant, while the effect of a shared vision was not significant anymore.


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Michaéla Schippers is Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She received her PhD from the Psychology Depart- ment at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her current research interests include team reflexivity, team diversity and team leadership, as well as team cognition, learning and decision-making. Her work has been published in journals such as Annual Review of Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior and Applied Psychology: An International Review. [E-mail: [email protected]]

Deanne N. Den Hartog is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is program director of several Business Studies programs and received her PhD from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU University), The Netherlands. Her current research addresses leadership, especially cross-cultural, charismatic and ethical leadership processes, as well as leadership in project based organizations. Other research interests include team reflexivity, employees’ proactive and innovative behavior at work and human resource management. She is on the editorial boards of Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Applied Psychology: An International Review. [E-mail: [email protected]]

Schippers et al. Transformational leadership and team reflexivity 1 6 1 5

at LIBERTY UNIV LIBRARY on August 17, 2012hum.sagepub.comDownloaded from

Paul Koopman is Emeritus Professor of the Psychology of Management and Organization at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is interested and actively involved in cross-cultural research, in particular in relation to issues of HRM, leadership and organizational culture. [E-mail: [email protected]]

Daan van Knippenberg is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and co-founder of the Erasmus Centre for Leadership Studies. He received his PhD from Leiden University, The Netherlands. His current research interests include leadership, in particular the roles of self/identity and emotions, work group diversity, group decision-making, social identity processes in organizations and creativity and innovation. Currently, he is Associate Editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and of Journal of Organizational Behavior. [E-mail: [email protected]]

Human Relations 61(11)1 6 1 6

at LIBERTY UNIV LIBRARY on August 17, 2012hum.sagepub.comDownloaded from

Attachment 3

Team climate, empowering leadership, and knowledge sharing

Yajiong Xue, John Bradley and Huigang Liang


Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of team climate and empowering

leadership on team members’ knowledge-sharing behavior.

Design/methodology/approach – A research model was developed based on prior knowledge

management studies. Survey data were collected from 434 college students at a major US university,

who took courses that required team projects. The partial least squares technique was applied to test

the research model.

Findings – Team climate and empowering leadership significantly influence individuals’

knowledge-sharing behavior by affecting their attitude toward knowledge sharing. These two

constructs also have significant direct effects on the knowledge-sharing behavior.

Research limitations/implications – The student sample and US setting might limit the generalizability

of the findings. Nonetheless, this study is based on and extends prior research, which provides a

deepened understanding of knowledge sharing in the team context.

Practical implications – This research has practical implications for how to design teams to facilitate

knowledge sharing. It suggests that cohesive, innovative teams with members trusting one another and

led by empowering leaders will have a higher level of knowledge sharing.

Originality/value – This research originally examines the effects of both team climate and empowering

leadership on knowledge sharing. Little prior research has carried out such an integrated analysis. This

paper will have significant value for organizations trying to redesign teams to enhance knowledge


Keywords Team working, Empowerment, Leadership, Knowledge management

Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction

As an organizational process, knowledge sharing plays a fundamental role in generating

new ideas and creating business opportunities (Grant, 1996). Effectively communicated

knowledge benefits all of the involved organizational actors by improving their performance

and eventually improving financial, marketing, and general outcomes of the organization

(Alavi and Leidner, 1999). Yet, in practice, inadequate sharing has been found to be a major

impediment to effective knowledge management (Davenport and Prusak, 1998). Therefore,

understanding employees’ knowledge sharing behavior has important implications for


Although empirical evidence has uncovered some of the complex dynamics of knowledge

sharing in general (Ipe, 2003), there is a paucity of research that explains how individuals

share knowledge in organizational settings. In particular, an in-depth understanding of

knowledge sharing within teams is desirable because team-based design is widely adopted

by contemporary organizations. About 82 percent of companies with 100 or more

employees have team-based mechanisms (Gordon, 1992) and new collaborative job

designs and work practices require teamwork (Capelli and Rogovsky, 1994). Therefore, it is

DOI 10.1108/13673271111119709 VOL. 15 NO. 2 2011, pp. 299-312, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1367-3270 j JOURNAL OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT j PAGE 299

Yajiong Xue is an Assistant

Professor, John Bradley is

Professor of Management

Information Systems and

Huigang Liang is an

Assistant Professor, all in

the College of Business,

East Carolina University,

Greenville, North Carolina,


Received: 16 June 2010 Accepted 18 October 2010

imperative to understand how team-related factors influence individuals’ knowledge sharing


Given that it is people who actually create, share, and use knowledge, an organization

cannot effectively exploit knowledge unless its employees are willing and able to share their

own knowledge and assimilate the knowledge of others (Ipe, 2003). Thus, knowledge

sharing within organizations can be seen as a multifaceted, complex process that involves

intricate human behaviors (Hendriks, 1999). It implies a voluntary act by individuals who

participate in the exchange of knowledge even though there are no compulsory pressures

(Davenport, 1997). It often involves the communication of tacit knowledge that cannot be

reported through formal channels and is difficult to be compelled. Hence, the most

appropriate measure to enhance knowledge sharing seems to be ‘‘soft’’ strategies relying on

the climate and leadership role of the specific organizational unit (Hulsheger et al., 2009;

Srivastava and Bartol, 2006).

In this research, the authors investigate knowledge sharing in light of two team-related

factors: team climate and empowering leadership. First, team climate refers to an implicit

frame that shapes individual perceptions, attitudes and behaviors within the group context

(Seibert et al., 2004). It has long been known as one of the most important sources of social

influence that affects individual behavior in the team environment (Hulsheger et al., 2009;

West and Anderson, 1996). Second, prior research has highlighted the importance of the

leader’s role in organizational processes (Liang et al., 2007), particularly in knowledge

management (Crawford, 2005; Singh, 2008; Srivastava and Bartol, 2006). A variety of leader

behaviors have been studied, among which empowering leadership is found to improve

employee’s job autonomy (Bennis and Townsend, 1997). Such autonomy is essential for

employees to undertake conscious, voluntary knowledge sharing.

Specifically, in this paper the authors investigate the impact of both team climate and

empowering leadership on individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior. This will help

researchers understand how knowledge sharing within the team environment is

influenced by team-related factors. It will also help organizations attend to the team

environment and team leaders when trying to enhance knowledge sharing within


This paper proceeds as follows. The next section presents the literature review and research

model development. The construct operationalization, data collection, data analysis, and

model testing results are described in the method section, after which the authors interpret

the findings and discuss their implications for research and practice. Finally, limitations and

directions for future research are discussed.

2. Theoretical development

Based on the extant research on knowledge management, the authors develop a research

model (Figure 1) to explain why teammembers engage in knowledge sharing. It is proposed

that team climate and empowering leadership help to shape individuals’ attitudes, which in

turn lead to the desired knowledge sharing behavior. In addition, team climate and

empowering leadership both have a direct impact on the knowledge sharing behavior. The

major constructs and hypotheses are discussed as follows.

‘‘ As a social behavior, an individual’s knowledge sharing is inevitably susceptible to social influences arising from other people. ’’


2.1 Team climate

As a social behavior, an individual’s knowledge sharing is inevitably susceptible to social

influences arising from other people. Individuals need to be proximal to the referent others to

be exposed to social influences. Salancik and Pfeffer (1978) suggest that the immediate

social environment is an important source of information which individuals use to construct

reality and formulate perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. While multiple social networks

can exert influences on individual behaviors, prior research in social psychology shows that

stronger social influence takes place in work teams because individuals are likely to identify

most closely with their work team and thus are more willing to comply with team norms (Fulk,

1993). Liang et al. (2010) also find that team climate significantly influences individuals’

perceptions, normative beliefs, and technology usage. In this research, therefore, the

authors contend that a desirable team climate can create an environment in which

knowledge sharing is encouraged.

The extant literature shows that team climate is a composite construct consisting of three

dimensions: affiliation, trust, and innovation (Bock et al., 2005). Affiliation, equivalent to

cohesion in nature, refers to the perception of a sense of togetherness among members.

Cohesion, defined as members’ attraction to the team (Hogg, 1992), can be considered as a

psychological force that binds people together (Keyton and Springston, 1990). The sense of

affiliation or cohesion tends to enhance team members’ willingness to care for or help one

another. As a result, they are more likely to share knowledge with one another.

Trust in the team environment is defined as a member’s willingness to accept vulnerability

based on a confident expectation of teammates’ competence, integrity, and benevolence

(Pavlou et al., 2007). Effective communication occurs in an environment in which trust and

commitment are prevalent (Te’eni, 2001). Huemer et al. (1998) argue that team members

with stronger trust are more likely to work together cooperatively and conscientiously. Zand

(1972) finds that team members share information more freely when they trust one anothers’

capabilities and competencies. Similarly, Weick and Roberts (1993) argue that to coordinate

knowledge among team members, they need to trust one anothers’ capabilities. Hsu et al.

(2007) find that social relationships based on trust have a significant influence on an

individual’s attitude toward sharing knowledge.

Figure 1 Research model

Team Climate

Empowering Leadership

Attitude KS behavior

Control variables

Gender Age

Note: Second-order constructs


H3 H4



Participative Decision Making





Showing Concern

Lead by Example



Innovativeness in a team refers to the degree to which change and creativity are actively

encouraged and rewarded within the team. Innovative teams emphasize learning, open

information flows, and reasonable risk-taking (Bock et al., 2005). Members of such teams

approve innovations and provide practical support to peers’ innovative initiatives.

Consequently, individuals in the innovative team environment are more empowered to

share new and creative ideas with each other than individuals in a non-innovative

environment (Kim and Lee, 1995).

In this study these three constructs – cohesion, trust, and innovativeness – were used as

measures of team climate with the expectation that it not only influences an individual’s

attitude toward knowledge sharing, but also facilitates the actual knowledge sharing

behavior. Therefore, the following hypotheses are derived:

H1. Team climate has a positive influence on knowledge sharing attitude.

H2. Team climate has a positive influence on knowledge sharing behavior.

2.2 Empowering leadership

One of the ways organizations could improve efficiency and performance is to empower

their employees. Knowledge sharing is a critical aspect of empowered teams (Argote,

1999). Prior research has shown that knowledge sharing is a significant determinant of

organizational performance and a team’s leader plays a pivotal role in making knowledge

sharing possible in the team (Srivastava and Bartol, 2006). In an empowering organizational

structure, leaders are capable of increasing team members’ self-efficacy and control over

their work environment. When teammembers are empowered to make job-related decisions

on their own, they need to possess adequate information to ensure that the decisions are

reasonable and justifiable given the decision contexts. As a result, they are more likely to

share knowledge with one another before and during the decision process. Therefore,

empowering leadership is the enzyme that stimulates and nurtures the occurrence of

knowledge sharing.

Arnold et al. (2000) show that empowering leadership has five dimensions:

1. leading by example, referring to a set of behaviors that show the leader’s commitment to

his or her own work as well as the work of his/her team members;

2. coaching, referring to a set of behaviors that educate team members and help them to

become self-reliant;

3. participative decision making, referring to a leader’s use of team members’ information

and input in making decisions;

4. showing concern, referring to a collection of behaviors that demonstrate a general regard

for team members’ well-being; and

5. informing, referring to the leader’s dissemination of company wide information such as

mission and philosophy as well as other importation information.

An empowering leader who possesses these attributes will be seen as a supportive leader

who provides guidance to followers, treats them fairly, and recognizes the value of their

input. Given that team members expect to receive fair recognition by an empowering leader

for their contribution of ideas and information, they are likely to be motivated to share their

unique knowledge with others (Srivastava and Bartol, 2006).

All of the five dimensions of empowering leadership contribute to knowledge sharing. First,

an empowering leader can set an example for subordinates by sharing his or her own

knowledge first, which signifies his or her support for team-wide knowledge sharing.

Second, the coaching behavior of an empowering leader includes teaching team members

how to effectively communicate with one another and encouraging them to collaboratively

solve problems, thereby providing opportunities for them to share their knowledge (Arnold

et al., 2000). Third, when a leader advocates participative decision making, team members

havemore opportunities to voice their opinions and provide suggestions (Locke et al., 1997).


Under such leadership, team members are likely to see themselves as an important part of

the decision process and more motivated to share their knowledge. Fourth, employees

might have concerns when sharing knowledge with peers because their social status in the

organization is often related to their unique knowledge. An empowering leader is able to

identify and alleviate such concerns, thus removing barriers to knowledge sharing. Finally,

Srivastava and Bartol (2006) suggest that informing motivates a search for solutions both

inside and outside a team and a greater collaborative attempt to help one another through

knowledge sharing. Overall, the preceding points suggest that empowering leadership will

strongly influence individuals’ attitudes toward knowledge sharing and increase the extent of

their knowledge sharing behavior:

H3. Empowering leadership has a positive influence on knowledge sharing attitude.

H4. Empowering leadership has a positive influence on knowledge sharing behavior.

2.3 Attitude

Based on theory of reasoned action, attitude is defined as an individual’s positive or negative

feelings about performing knowledge sharing (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975). The theory of

reasoned action posits that attitude determines behavioral intention, which in turn

determines behavior. Numerous empirical studies have confirmed the significant influence

of attitude on intention (e.g., Bock et al., 2005). In this research, the authors decide to

investigate the direct relationship between attitude and behavior because they are

interested in explaining individuals’ actual knowledge sharing behavior rather than

predicting their future behavior. Behavioral intention, as a predictor of actual behavior, has

limitations (Venkatesh et al., 2008). It has been criticized that there exists an

intention-behavior gap (Sheeran, 2002). Therefore, the authors propose that the more

favorable individuals’ attitude toward knowledge sharing, the more likely they will share

knowledge with others. Hsu et al. (2007) state that the biggest challenge in knowledge

sharing is the willingness (attitude) of the individual. That is, negative attitude tends to

decrease the likelihood of knowledge sharing. Overall, it is suggested that there is a positive

relationship between knowledge sharing attitude and behavior:

H5. Knowledge sharing attitude has a positive influence on behavior.

2.4 Control variables

Team members’ knowledge sharing behavior is likely to be influenced by their demographic

characteristics. Gratton et al. (2007) find that at large companies in Europe and the USA

many failures in collaboration and knowledge sharing result from subgroups that have

emerged within teams based on age and gender. Miller and Karakowsky (2005) show that

team members’ gender has a significant impact on their feedback seeking from others.

Therefore, the authors control for the influence of age and gender on knowledge sharing


3. Method

3.1 Measurement development

Measures for the four constructs were developed based on prior research. Consistent with

Bock et al.’s (2005) study, team climate is modeled as a second order formative construct

consisting of three first order reflective constructs: cohesion, trust, and innovation. Cohesion

was measured using three items adapted from (Xue et al., 2004/2005). Innovativeness was

adapted fromBocketal. (2005),measuredby two items.Trustwasmeasuredusing three items

adapted from Langfred (2004). Following Arnold et al. (2000), empowering leadership is

modeledasasecondorder reflectiveconstructcomprisingfivefirstorder reflectiveconstructs:

lead by example, participative decision making, coaching, informing, and showing concern.

Themeasurement items for theseconstructswereadapted fromArnoldet al. (2000). Thescale

for attitude includes three items adapted from Bock et al. (2005). The scale for knowledge

sharing behavior was adapted fromHsu et al. (2007). Except attitude items that are evaluated

byafive-pointsemanticscale,allof the itemswereevaluatedbyafive-pointLikertscalewhere1


represents ‘‘strongly disagree’’ and 5 represents ‘‘strongly agree.’’ The Appendix, Figure A1

shows themeasurement items. In addition, age wasmeasured as a ratio variable and gender

as a categorical variable with male coded as 1 and female as 2.

3.2 Procedure

Anonline surveywasdeveloped tomeasure the theoretical constructs. A total of 650 students,

undergraduates and graduates, whowere taking business courses at a large university in the

USA were invited to take the survey. These students were recruited from both management

and management information system (MIS) courses where teamwork assignments were

major course requirements. These team assignments range from case studies, requirement

analyses, and essay writing, to project design and development. Students were grouped into

teams to work on several projects. In each team, a team leader was chosen to act as a

coordinator between the instructor and team members. Team leaders were responsible for

reporting their team members’ activities and involvement and workload allocation within

teams.Peerevaluationwasused toassesseachmember’sperformanceon the teamprojects.

To simulate the real work environment, team leaders’ evaluations were given a higher weight

when aggregatingall of thepeer evaluation scores. The surveywas administeredat the endof

the semester. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary and anonymous. Extra

course credits were employed as an incentive for completing the survey. A total of 434

completed surveys were collected resulting in a response rate of 66.8 percent.

Among the 434 respondents, 219 are male (50.5 percent), and 215 are female students

(49.5 percent). Their average age is 25.81, ranging from 18 to 63 (SD ¼ 7:78). Most of them have some work experiences ranging from 0 year to 35 years (mean ¼ 5:54 and SD ¼ 7:33).

3.3 Data analysis

The authors used partial least squares (PLS) to validate the measurements and test the

hypotheses. PLS employs a component-based approach for model estimation and is not

highly demanding on sample size and residual distribution (Chin, 1998). It is best suited for

testing complex structural models as it avoids two problems: inadmissible solutions and

factor indeterminacy (Fornell and Bookstein, 1982). Both reflective and formative constructs

can be estimated by PLS (Chin, 1998). Hence, this method was chosen to accommodate the

formative second-order construct (team climate) since covariance-based SEM techniques

do not allow formative constructs to be estimated easily.

4. Results

4.1 Measurement validation

The reliability of the measurements was evaluated using Cronbach’s alpha and the

composite reliability scores. As Table I shows, the reliability scores of all of the constructs are

considered adequate as they exceed the recommended cutoff of 0.70 (Nunnally, 1978).

The convergent and discriminant validity of the measurements were confirmed by four tests.

First, as Table I shows, the square root of the average variance extracted (AVE) of each

construct is much larger than all cross-correlations between the construct and other

Table I Construct reliability, AVE, and correlations

Construct Cronbach’s alpha Composite reliability AVE 1 2 3 4 5

1. Team climate – – – – 2. Empowering leadership 0.98 0.98 0.71 0.49 0.84 3. Attitude 0.89 0.93 0.82 0.44 0.38 0.91 4. KM behavior 0.83 0.89 0.74 0.36 0.36 0.41 0.86 5. Gender – – – 0.07 0.13 0.10 0.05 – 6. Age – – – 0.10 0.03 0.12 0.10 0.10

Note: The diagonal elements (in italics) are square roots of AVE


constructs (Chin, 1998). Second, all AVEs are well above 0.50, which suggests that the

principal constructs capture much higher construct-related variance than error variance

(Hair et al., 1998). Third, the correlations among all of the constructs are well below the 0.90

threshold, suggesting that the constructs are distinct from each other (Bagozzi et al., 1991).

Fourth, PLS analysis shows that each item’s loading on its underlying construct is above the

recommended 0.70 level (Chin et al., 2003) and significant at the 0.01 level (Table II). Jointly,

these tests suggest adequate convergent and discriminant validity of the measurements.

The authors paid particular attention to the two second-order constructs – team climate and

empowering leadership. Since empowering leadership is a reflective second-order

construct, its validity is indicated by the path weights of its five first-order constructs

(Jarvis et al., 2003). As Figure 2 shows, the path weights of lead by example, participative

decision making, coaching, informing, and showing concern are 0.92, 0.92, 0.94, 0.93, and

0.91, respectively (p , 0:01), suggesting that they are significantly determined by the

underlying higher order construct.

Traditional methods assessing construct validity and reliability are inappropriate for

formative constructs whose causal direction flows from measures to constructs

(Diamantopoulos and Winklhofer, 2001; Jarvis et al., 2003). Following the formative

measures assessment guidelines recommended by Petter et al. (2007), the authors

evaluated team climate’s construct validity and reliability. First, the PLS analysis shows that

all of the three first-order constructs of team climate have significant weights (Figure 2),

providing evidence for construct validity (Diamantopoulos and Winklhofer, 2001).

Specifically, the weights for affiliation, trust, and innovation are 0.41, 0.46, and 0.25,

respectively (p , 0:01). Second, to assess multicollinearity, the authors computed latent

Table II Factor loadings

Construct Item Mean SD Loading

Innovation 1 3.85 0.92 0.89* 2 3.57 0.86 0.87*

Cohesion 1 3.86 0.81 0.85* 2 3.76 0.97 0.88* 3 4.17 0.79 0.84*

Trust 1 3.80 1.01 0.93* 2 3.79 1.11 0.93* 3 3.80 1.04 0.93*

Lead by example 1 3.90 0.96 0.88* 2 4.09 0.91 0.94* 3 4.03 0.96 0.91* 4 4.07 0.91 0.94*

Participative DM 1 4.03 0.89 0.93* 2 4.10 0.87 0.95* 3 4.14 0.83 0.95*

Coaching 1 3.89 0.93 0.92* 2 3.97 0.87 0.93* 3 3.93 0.92 0.92*

Informing 1 3.94 0.92 0.92* 2 3.90 0.93 0.95* 3 3.80 0.95 0.91* 4 3.94 0.90 0.90*

Showing concern 1 3.73 0.95 0.86* 2 3.89 0.88 0.92* 3 4.11 0.86 0.84* 4 3.91 0.88 0.90*

Attitude 1 4.06 0.71 0.90* 2 3.97 0.69 0.93* 3 4.01 0.66 0.89*

KS behavior 1 3.75 0.85 0.88* 2 3.42 0.90 0.82* 3 3.73 0.81 0.87*

Note: *p , 0:01


variable scores for each first-order team climate component and then tested its variance

inflation factor (VIF)[1]. The VIFs for cohesion, trust, and innovation are 1.62, 1.58, and 1.36,

respectively. It is recommended that the VIF statistic for formative measures should not

exceed 3.3 (Diamantopoulos and Siguaw, 2006). All of the VIFs are under 3.3, which suggest

that the formative measure is reliable.

Since all of the constructs are measured by single-source self-report data, common method

variance (CMV) may bias the construct relationships (Podsakoff et al., 2003). The authors

conducted the Harmon’s one factor test (Podsakoff and Organ, 1986) to evaluate whether

CMV is a serious concern. All of the measurement items were entered into a factor analysis

using the Varimax rotation. No single dominant factor emerged from the analysis. Ten

components were extracted and their explained variance ranged from 2.4 percent to 36.4

percent, indicating that common method variance is unlikely to be serious.

4.2 Model testing

The structural model testing results are shown in Figure 2. Team climate is found to

significantly affect knowledge sharing attitude (b ¼ :34, p , 0:01), as is empowering leadership (b ¼ 0:21, p , 0:01). These two factors account for 23 percent of variance in knowledge sharing attitude, thus supporting H1 and H3. Team climate is found to

significantly affect knowledge sharing behavior (b ¼ 0:14;p , 0:05), thus supporting H2. The link between empowering leadership and knowledge sharing behavior is significant

(b ¼ 0:18, p , 0:01), providing support to H4. Knowledge sharing attitude is also found to have a significant positive influence on behavior (b ¼ 0:28, p , 0:01), thus supporting H5. About 24 percent of variance in knowledge sharing behavior can be explained by the three

determinants. The two control variables, age and gender, do not have a significant effect on

knowledge sharing behavior.

5. Discussion

This study examines the impact of team related factors on individuals’ attitude and

knowledge sharing behavior, which makes important theoretical and practical contributions

to team based research. Our results highlight the importance of both team climate and

empowering leadership on individuals’ knowledge sharing attitude and behavior. Previous

Figure 2 Model testing results

Team Climate

Empowering Leadership

Attitude KS behavior

Control variables Gender Age

* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; ns = non-significant


0.21** 0.18**



0.23 0.24 Participative Decision Making





Showing Concern

Lead by Example







0.94** 0.93**


ns ns

Notes: Second-order constructs


research only studied the impact of one of these two important team factors independent of

the other. By putting them together, this study integrates two important perspectives – the

social environment of the team and the value of the team leader.

In addition, our research shows that the impact of these two factors are complementary –

they can work together to cultivate individuals’ knowledge sharing attitude and lead to more

knowledge sharing behavior. The authors find that both team climate and empowering

leadership have two pathways to influence knowledge sharing – besides the indirect

influence via attitude, they also have a direct impact. This suggests that their effects are both

internal and external. Internally, they sway individuals’ subjective attitude which in turn

increases knowledge sharing. Externally, social pressures from team climate or facilitating

conditions from empowering leadership can be created to directly encourage knowledge


These findings extend the existing literature on knowledge sharing. For example, Bock et al.

(2005) found that team climate affects knowledge sharing by influencing attitude, but they

focused on intention to share knowledge and did not examine knowledge sharing behavior.

Srivastava and Bartol (2006) uncovered the direct relationship between empowering

leadership and knowledge sharing behavior, but they did not examine the mediating role of

attitude. Thus, our research integrates discrete findings of prior research and should deepen

our understanding of the dynamics of knowledge sharing within teams.

Practically, this study draws special attention to team design in organizations. In order to

promote knowledge sharing, besides considering other relevant organizational and

individual factors, managers need to cultivate a nurturing team environment since team is

the most proximal social context for individuals within which they frequently interact with

peers (Fulk, 1993; Liang et al., 2010). They need to create cohesive, innovative teams whose

members trust one another. Team climate can help members develop a favorable attitude

toward knowledge sharing. The members might also feel obliged to sharing knowledge with

others due to normative pressures arising from the strong team cohesion and trust on peers.

In addition, empowering leadership skills should be emphasized when selecting or

evaluating team leaders. The empowering leadership skills of current team leaders can be

strengthened by improving each of the five components identified by Arnold et al. (2000):

lead by example, coaching, participating decision making, informing, and showing concern.

Appropriate training programs can be provided to help team leaders identify their

weaknesses and develop the specific skills that they lack. Such training is likely to transform

the organization’s current managerial practice and difficult to achieve, but it has great

potential to stimulate employees’ knowledge sharing behavior and subsequently

organizational performance.

Although this study has important implications for organizations, some limitations related to

the university setting of this study might limit its extrapolation to a wider business context.

The differences between universities and companies give rise to several concerns. First, this

study is based on data collected from college students in a major American university.

Students and employees tend to have different views over their unique knowledge and their

knowledge sharing behavior might be influenced by different sets of factors. Therefore,

researchers should be cautious when generalizing the findings of this study to real business

settings. Second, the leaders of the student teams the authors studied did not have the real

hierarchical power as in a real business setting. The effect of their empowering leadership

might not be as strong as that of team leaders in real organizations. The findings of this study

need to be validated in real-world organizational settings. Finally, the American cultural

background of the students might play a role in influencing their knowledge sharing attitude

and behavior. Cultural differences should be taken into account when applying our findings

to other countries.

These concerns essentially arise from one basic issue: whether it is appropriate to use

students as surrogates for non-students (e.g., employees). This issue ought to be

addressed to afford credibility to the findings of this study. Using student samples in

academic research has been criticized to have low external validity because the findings


cannot be easily generalized to non-student settings. However, Locke (1986) argues that in

the areas of organizational psychology and organizational behavior using student samples

is not as serious a concern as it seems to be. He states:

[. . .] we must begin to rethink the whole issue of external validity. The evidence indicates that a

detailed, point-by-point similarity with respect to subjects, tasks, settings, and so forth is not

necessarily required in order to achieve generalizability. Both college students and employees

appear to respond similarly to goals, feedback, incentives, participation, and so forth, perhaps

because the similarities among these subjects (such as in values) are more crucial than their

differences. Task differences do not seem overwhelmingly important. Perhaps all that is needed is

that the participants in either setting become involved in what they are doing (Locke, 1986, p. 6).

In this study, the focus is individual perceptions, attitude, and behavior in the team context,

and falls in the domain of organizational behavior research. Based on Locke (1986), student

subjects and employee subjects are likely to have similar responses to team climate and

leadership styles in spite of differences between university and company contexts. There is

also empirical evidence showing that students and managers respond similarly to

leadership questions (Singer, 1990).

Although the university environment and business environment differ in some aspects, they

do share many common characteristics. In particular, it can be argued that the student

teams in this study are relatively similar to project teams in companies. Like a project team in

a company, students teamed up to complete their course project. Each member plays a

specific role in the project. During their collaboration, students, just like employees in a

project team, will develop perceptions of the team climate and leadership style. Although the

strength of relationships between these perceptions and knowledge sharing behavior might

differ between employee and student, the authors contend that the direction of the

relationships will not differ. Therefore, the authors believe that the findings of this study can

be generalized to the project team context with a certain degree of confidence. Regarding

the generalizability to other team settings (e.g., product development team, scientific

research team, topmanagement team, etc.), since the team characteristics vary a lot, further

research is strongly recommended.

In conclusion, this study furthers our understanding of the impact of team climate and

empowering leadership on individuals’ knowledge sharing attitude and behavior. The

findings are helpful to practitioners when they develop strategies to foster knowledge

sharing to achieve better organizational outcomes.


1. VIFi ¼ 1=ð12 R2i Þ where R 2 i is the variance explained from regressing the independent variable Xi

on all other independent variable Xs.


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Figure A1

Team Climate Innovativeness

1. My team encourages suggesting ideas for new opportunities 2. My team encourages finding new methods to perform a task

Affiliation 1. I feel I am really a part of my team 2. If I had a chance to do the same work again in a team, I would rather stay in the same

team 3. If I had a chance to do the same work again in a team, I would rather join another

team (revised) Trust

1. We trust one another a lot in my team 2. I know I can count on the other team members 3. I trust all of the other team members

Empowering Leadership My team leader…

Lead by Example 1. Sets high standards for performance by his/her own behavior 2. Works as hard as he/she can 3. Works as hard as anyone in my team 4. Sets a good example by the way he/she behaves

Participative Decision Making 1. Encourages team members to express ideas/suggestions 2. Listens to my team’s ideas and suggestions 3. Gives all team members a chance to voice their opinions

Coaching 1. Suggests ways to improve my team’s performance 2. Encourages team members to solve problems together 3. Encourages team members to exchange information with one another

Informing 1. Explains instructor decisions/comments 2. Explains course/assignment-related materials 3. Explains rules and expectations to my team 4. Explains his/her decisions and actions to my team

Showing Concern 1. Cares about team members’ personal problems 2. Shows concern for team members’ wellbeing 3. Treats team members as equals 4. Takes the time to discuss team members’ concerns patiently

Attitude My knowledge sharing with other colleagues is …

1. Very bad 1 2 3 4 5 Very good 2. Very worthless 1 2 3 4 5 Very valuable 3. Very harmful 1 2 3 4 5 Very beneficial

Knowledge-Sharing Behavior 1. I frequently participate in knowledge-sharing activities in this course 2. I usually spend a lot of time conducting knowledge-sharing activities in this course 3. When participating in this course, I usually actively share my knowledge with others


About the authors

Yajiong Xue is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business at East Carolina University. She received her PhD from Auburn University in 2004. Her research appears or is forthcoming in such journals as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of the AIS, Communications of the ACM, Communications of the AIS, Decision Support Systems, IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, International Journal of Production Economics, and International Journal of Medical Informatics. Her current research interests include the strategic management of IT, IT governance, and healthcare information systems. She was among the top ten globally in terms of MISQ and ISR publications between 2007 and 2009. Yajiong Xue is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: [email protected]

John Bradley is a Professor of Management Information Systems in the MIS Department at East Carolina University. His research interests are expert systems, case-based reasoning, team performance, and IS implementation and organizational impact. He has published in journals such as Expert Systems with Applications, Heuristics, Small Group Research, Information & Management, Journal of Computer Information Systems, and others.

Huigang Liang is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business at East Carolina University. His current research interests focus on IT issues at both individual and organizational levels such as IT avoidance, adoption, compliance, assimilation, decision process, IT strategy, and healthcare informatics. He was among the top ten worldwide in terms of MISQ and ISR publications between 2007 and 2009. His research has appeared or will appear in scholarly journals, including MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of the AIS, Communications of the ACM, Decision Support Systems, the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine, Communications of the AIS, International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Medical Informatics, Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, among others. He received his PhD from Auburn University.


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