A study of contextual factors which influence the performance of task group

Date created
Author: Johnson, Lea
The study set out to determine what factors managers, who sponsor task groups in which they are not members, could act upon to increase the possibility of a task group achieving a task on time, on schedule, within cost and with an acceptable and quality result. Telephone surveys and statistical methods were employed to collect and analyze data from 59 members of 10 different task groups in 5 separate organizations.

Variables pertaining to the group's context over which the sponsor had some control (le. resource mix of group members., motivating task, environmental support,. group leader's organizational power and sponsor's commitment were measured along with internal group conditions (ie. leadership, commitment, group process and group effectiveness) that a sponsor would have no direct control over. The study explored what relations existed between these variables and different measures of group performance.

Through correlational and regression analyses, the quality of group outputs was found to be significantly related to three internal group conditions : group effectiveness, leadership and member skills and knowledge. The ability to achieve the task on schedule was significantly related to: the sponsor's commitment and the importance of the task to group meabers. The acceptability of group outcomes was significantly related to environmental support.

Thus one performance outcome was attributable to internal conditions while two others were attributable to contextual variables.

The importance of this study is that there has been little research on the effects of group context on small group performance. While the research had limitations it does highlight the need to continue to study context in the design of
effective task groups.

Implications for managerial action and future research are discussed.
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Copyright is held by the author.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Bushe, Gervase
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