Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Study Gives Important Clue About How to Boost Collaboration

When you're a manager trying to get team members to work together better, you would be wise to look at the "status" of each worker before asking them to help one another.

A study by The Ohio University's Fisher College of Business finds that you're going to get the best results from team collaboration by asking those a "moderate" distance in status from one another to collaborate.

Why? Researchers say if Bob, for example, perceives Randall as near him in status, then Bob sees Randall as a threat. Bob worries that Randall could overtake him in status if he does well.

On the other hand, if Jean perceives Kate as someone below her in status, then she may worry that Kate will require a lot of time and effort from her. So, Jean may not want to devote all that time to Kate because it will hurt her own career.

The real key for managers seeking effective collaboration on a team may be putting together workers who don't see one another too close or too far in terms of status.

"You might want to avoid assigning the most recently hired employee to train the newcomer," he said. "If that relative newcomer is worried about his or her status in the organization, they may be less than helpful with this new person who could surpass them," says Robert Lount, a study co-author. "Someone who is moderately successful, but not the top performer on the team, might be the most willing to help."

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