Personality research in teams : A methodological reconsideration of the individual differences perspective

Abstract: The aim of this doctoral dissertation was to investigate whether the application of personality in team research canbe performed so that the individual differences, that are typically studied in personality research, are maintained.Two different approaches to apply personality to team research, without changing the unit of study from individualsto teams, were suggested and demonstrated with example data. Personality in individuals was related to teamprocess perceptions in individuals, to evaluate construct overlap. Personality in individuals was also related to teamoutcomes by team role subgroups of individuals. Team role subgroups were additionally used to study if individualdifferences are useful when we study team processes. The different units of analysis in personality- and teamresearch were discussed in relation to the dimension of data that is about persons or entities (Cattell, 1952).In Study 1, we studied whether team process perceptions of individuals had relationships with personality traits.Furthermore, we addressed how such construct content overlaps may affect team level relationships. It wassuggested that personality traits be applied at the individual level in team process research, instead of at the teamlevel.In Study 2 I addressed the possibility to relate individual level personality to team level outcomes, by dividing thesample of individuals into team role subgroups. It was illustrated how team data must be restructured to enableanalysis. Interaction effects were suggested as a means of addressing interdependence in teams.With Study 3, my aim was to investigate whether the individual level variability of team processes would bemeaningful to understand team processes. I used team role subgroups to show how we can evaluate whether teamprocesses develop differently in team members of same teams.The method in common to the three studies was that individuals were studied across teams, instead of within orbetween teams, yet in relation to the team structure of data.