Predicting individual and team performance through personality traits, cohesion, and mental models
Marberry, Stephanie Jean
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Previous research has examined the effects of personality on performance but has neglected the effects of individual traits on mental model development. The present study made predictions regarding personality traits (i.e., conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and emotional stability) and team cohesion (i.e., task and social) in the development of similar and accurate task and team mental models. Direct and indirect effects of these variables were further hypothesized to influence performance outcomes. Interactions were also predicted between personality traits at the individual and team levels and between the similarity and accuracy of mental models at the team level. Participants from classroom teams completed personality and cohesion measures that were examined at the individual and team levels. Similarity and accuracy of task and team mental models were assessed through concept ratings that were compared to teammates and professor ratings. Performance measures were based upon course grades and professor ratings. Data were analyzed through mediational and hierarchical regression using SPSS and structural equation modeling using LISREL. Several direct effects were found between personality traits, cohesion, mental model accuracy and similarity, and performance at individual and team levels. A specific mediation of task cohesion in the relationship between conscientiousness and individual professor ratings was found. At the team level, interactions were found between conscientiousness and emotional stability in predicting task mental models and between extraversion and agreeableness in predicting team mental models. Other team-level interactions were found between task mental model similarity and task mental model average accuracy and between task mental model professor accuracy and task mental model similarity in predicting individual grades. Individual-level interactions were also found between extraversion and emotional stability and between emotional stability and agreeableness in predicting individual professor ratings. The best-fitting LISREL indices were found for individual and team models that involved team performance. Team models that included both implicit and explicit mental models exhibited a slightly better fit for the implicit models. Both team and task models indicated the highest degree of fit over all variable models at the individual level.