Monitoring and supporting the emergence of team dynamics toward positive directions


Previous posts [1][2] mentioned an approach to teams coaching from a Social Complexity point of view:

direct and influence the emergence of behaviors toward positive directions to the advantage of the organization of the team and of the project success, to amplify the emergence of beneficial behaviors and to reduce or revert the non beneficial ones




Other previous posts [3][4] tell about known approaches, tools and models that can be used to direct and influence that emergence of behaviors, acting at the boundaries of the system (i.e. instead of micro-managing the team).




Here is a list of the main categories(*) of global variables, from [5],  that could be observed and tracked to identify patterns of the evolution of team behaviors and so identify related attractors. Global variables from these categories can be  observed to monitor the emergence of beneficial or non beneficial behaviors  :

  1. Fulfilling member needs (i.e. rewardingness from membership or from a member, commitment from members and to members)

  2. Completing team projects (i.e. quantity, rate and quality of the outcomes)

  3. Maintaining the structure and integrity of the team as a system (i.e. team social and task cohesiveness, patterns of interaction, of influence, of participation and of affect)

  4. Processing information and generating meaning (i.e. contribution of information from members, proportion of information held in common or uniquely by single member, proportion of information relevant to the tasks or socio-emotional)

  5. Managing conflict and developing consensus (i.e. distribution between task and procedure and interpersonal conflict, expressed versus unexpressed conflict, escalation and de-escalation dynamic, level of implicit and explicit consensus)

  6. Motivating, regulating and coordinating member behavior (i.e. behavioral coordination about team norms and about errors and its speed/delay of the feedback)

Here some example of what could be seen observing these variables:
  • improved tools and technology used for accomplishing projects
  • created more technical debt
  • increased the team-work effectiveness
  • increased the distrust of the customers
  • elaborated useful information and learned new things and generated new knowledge
  • resolved conflicts, influenced or attained consensus between teams and departments within the company
  • increased conflict and misunderstanding between company departments
For more examples look here.




An example of pattern of a robust equilibrium with a single point attractor here,  an example of multistable multiple point attractors here and an example of multiple periodic attractors here. Again the source is [5].




Looking at the fitness landscape (that is defined by the goal of the team project and the organization) and the relative position of the attractors (identified monitoring the global variables for the categories listed above) at work in the team, is possible to identify the barriers to the team success.    Using the approaches mentioned in the beginning, it is possible then to direct and influence the emergence of new configurations of attractors and fitness landscape that are more beneficial for the team/project/organization success.




(*) It means that the actual variables to observe can change from team to team and belong to these main categories.

[0] Agility
[1] The dimensions of Agile
[2] After 10 years of Agile Manifesto...
[3] ABIDE model
[4] Tools for coaching self-organising teams
[5] Small groups as complex systems; H. Arrow, J.E. McGrath J.L Berdahl; Sage Publications; 2000


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Print | posted @ Thursday, March 1, 2012 9:24 AM

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