An investigation of the prevalence and measurement of teams in organisations
: the development and validation of the real team scale

  • Joanne Richardson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis begins with a review of the literature on team-based working in organisations, highlighting the variations in research findings, and the need for greater precision in our measurement of teams. It continues with an illustration of the nature and prevalence of real and pseudo team-based working, by presenting results from a large sample of secondary data from the UK National Health Service. Results demonstrate that ‘real teams’ have an important and significant impact on the reduction of many work-related safety outcomes. Based on both theoretical and methodological limitations of existing approaches, the thesis moves on to provide a clarification and extension of the ‘real team’ construct, demarcating this from other (pseudo-like) team typologies on a sliding scale, rather than a simple dichotomy. A conceptual model for defining real teams is presented, providing a theoretical basis for the development of a scale on which teams can be measured for varying extents of ‘realness’. A new twelve-item scale is developed and tested with three samples of data comprising 53 undergraduate teams, 52 postgraduate teams, and 63 public sector teams from a large UK organisation. Evidence for the content, construct and criterion-related validity of the real team scale is examined over seven separate validation studies. Theoretical, methodological and practical implications of the real team scale are then discussed.
Date of Award2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael A West (Supervisor), Stephen A Woods (Supervisor), Judith W Scully (Supervisor) & Matthew Carter (Supervisor)


  • team
  • team-based working
  • real team
  • pseudo team
  • team realness

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