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A Study of Teamwork in a Product Development Laboratory

Hemphill, John K; Ward, Lewis B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
IBM, Engineers, Group Dynamics, Productivity, Research and Development, Teamwork, Work Attitudes


The general purpose of the study was to investigate what relationships may exist between the productivity of product development teams and characteristics of these teams that reflect quality of teamwork. Six teams, ranging in size from seven to twelve members from the IBM Product Development Laboratory at Poughkeepsie, New York, were selected for study. Three of the six teams were judged to be high productivity teams and were paired with three in the same areas of work but which were of lower productivity. The six teams were found to be similar with respect to the following three areas of attitudes: 1. Attitudes indicating that the team works relatively informally without stress on rules and regulations; 2. Attitudes indicating some lack of pleasure, happiness and well-being associated with team membership; and 3. Attitudes indicating that team membership is only of moderate importance insofar as personal achievement or advancement is concerned. The six teams differed one with the others in the following attitude areas: 1. Attitudes indicating that the team has discipline and controls its members' activities; 2. Attitudes indicating that team members are alike and share many common characteristics; 3. Attitudes indicating that team members are well acquainted and know each other personally; 4. Attitudes indicating non-exclusiveness and that the team welcomes new members; 5. Attitudes indicating that the team has a well-defined objective toward which all are working; 6. Attitudes indicating security and stability in the team with low membership turnover; and 7. Attitudes indicating harmony, cooperation, and lack of personal friction.

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