Factors affecting team dynamics, performance and creativity


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Teamwork, creativity, and innovation are essential 21st-century skills as team collaborations become organisations' default strategies to innovate optimal solutions to complex problems. Previous research established effects between a team’s dynamics on their performance and creativity; however, contradictory results highlight the need for further research and investigation. A key issue is the 'poverty of the outcome measure', with most studies limited to post-session questionnaire data. A key feature of the studies reported here was the live coding of all verbal interactions using a newly developed iPad app to implement Rackham's Behaviour in Teams (BiT) coding to measure a team’s dynamics.
The Covid-19 pandemic also revealed important questions unanswerable by currently available literature regarding the differences between face-to-face (F2F) team collaborations and online team collaborations on video conferencing platforms (e.g., Teams/Zoom). In four experimental studies, this PhD used the BiT app to create rich, sequential data on the teams' interactions as they undertook short and lengthy tests of teamwork and creativity. It also evaluated the effectiveness of providing teams feedback about their communication patterns in subsequent tasks. All four studies were undertaken with teams of undergraduate Psychology students.
Study 1 was a pilot investigating the BiT coding app’s ability to precisely code a team’s verbal interactions during idea generation & creativity problem-solving (innovation) tasks and effectiveness in providing feedback about their dynamics. Improved idea generation was associated with more balanced participation equity rates (PER) and significantly correlated with increased team total interaction frequencies (TIF). Teams receiving feedback also had increased TIF and better PER in subsequent tasks.
Study 2 integrated the recommendations of study 1and replicated it using the 15-category BiT coding system. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced data collection to be halted halfway. Analyses of the collated data found that increased team total interaction frequencies negatively affected their idea generation, contradicting study 1’s findings. However, the data also indicated significant relationships between a team’s TIF and PER in the team’s innovative performance.
Study 3 was an experimental study investigating team dynamics and idea generation performance differences between F2F and online teams. The results indicated no significant differences between F2F and online teams on idea generation performance and total verbal behaviour frequencies. Results found that online teams with Cameras off had significantly better participation equity than F2F teams and online teams with Cameras on.
Study 4 replicated Study 2 virtually to understand virtual team dynamics during idea generation and creative problem-solving tasks and evaluate the effectiveness of providing feedback improves virtual team dynamics and performance. The results indicated findings from the previous studies were supported and that providing feedback helped improve team dynamics, idea generation, and creative problem-solving performance, especially in underperforming teams.
The original contributions to knowledge from this PhD are fourfold. First, insights were obtained about using the newly developed and technologically aided BiT coding iPad app to precisely live-code a team’s dynamics and use its detailed analyses to provide effective short-cycle feedback. Second, further insights were obtained regarding the relationships and trends between team dynamics and their creativity and innovation. Third, new insights about the effects of virtuality on team dynamics, the type of information exchanged and effectiveness during collaborations were obtained. Lastly, recommendations are made for practitioners, researchers and institutes of higher education and organisations seeking to teach or enhance team dynamics, performance and creativity.
Keywords: creativity, innovation, team performance, live verbal behaviour coding, online team collaboration, face-to-face team collaboration, participation equity, team dynamics
Date of Award20 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorRODERICK NICOLSON (Director of Studies) & SIMON BOLTON (Supervisor)


  • creativity
  • innovation
  • team performance
  • live verbal behaviour coding
  • virtual team collaboration
  • face-to-face team collaboration
  • participation equity
  • team dynamics

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