A century of work teams in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

John E Mathieu, John R Hollenbeck, Daniel L Van Knippenberg, Daniel Ilgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Work groups are a vital link between individuals and organizations. Systematic psychological research on the nature and effects of work groups dates back at least to the Hawthorne studies of the 1920s and 1930s. Yet little to none of this work appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology until the 1950s when groups were treated primarily as foils against which to compare the performance of individuals. From the 1990s to the present, the volume of research and the nature of topics addressing work group/teams expanded significantly. The authors review the evolution of team research over the past century with a particular focus on that which has appeared in this journal. They chronicle the shift from a focus on individuals within teams, or on individual versus team comparisons, to a focus on the team itself and larger systems of teams. They describe the major outcomes studied within this literature, and how they relate to the nature of team tasks and structures. Further, the authors consider the roles of team members’ characteristics and composition, and team dynamics in terms of processes and emergent states. They close with a call for future research that models dynamic team relationships in context and as they operate in complex systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-467
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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