Self-efficacy and emotional intelligence: Influencing team cohesion to enhance team performance

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Purpose: This study aims to examine empirically the effect of emotional intelligence of the team, as calculated by the average of all team members’ individual emotional intelligence measurements, on the cohesiveness of the team, and the effect of the perception of self-efficacy of the team members on the relationship between emotional intelligence and team cohesion. Finally, certain financial indicators were analyzed to evaluate team performance. Design/methodology/approach: This study used quasi-experimental design. Participated in the experiment a total of 146 students (35 teams) who were senior business major students in the mid-sized university in the USA. In the experiment, the participants played a business simulation game over an eight-year simulated time frame. After the final round of the simulation game, the variables of emotional intelligence, self-efficacy and team cohesion were measured using the survey questionnaire and team performance and participation data were collected from the business simulation game. In the support of the quantitative data analysis, the current study also collected and analyzed qualitative data comments on other group members’ contribution to the group task. Findings: Results indicated that team cohesion was highest when team members demonstrated greater emotional intelligence. Self-efficacy also had a positive influence on team cohesion. High self-efficacy was found to be an important mediator of the relationship between emotional intelligence and team cohesion. High emotional intelligence promoted the development of self-efficacy, resulting in increased team cohesion. Increased team cohesion resulted in improved team performance and participation. Research limitations/implications: The current study has several limitations. First, the sample is mostly business major students in the mid-sized university in the USA. There is a limitation in generalizing the findings into other populations. Second, this study accessed information on 35 teams comprising a total of 146 students. While the number of students and teams is sufficient for a study, more data would improve the robustness of the results. Third, this study collected and analyzed cross-sectional data, so there is the possibility for the reversed causal relationship in the findings. Although the authors concluded that team cohesion had a positive impact on team performance and participation, they also found the reverse relationship from the additional analysis. Fourth, the validity of the construct for emotional intelligence has some detractors, mainly because of the subjective nature of the measurement that tends to overlap existing personality measures and the objective measurement which involves a consensual scoring method with poor reliability. Practical implications: This paper implies practical strategies to manage teams and team members for enhanced team productivity. Teams are critical resources within companies. This study demonstrates that high team cohesion leads to better team performance. As team cohesion is important for team performance, the authors found that two antecedents for team cohesion are emotional intelligence and self-efficacy within team members. Therefore, it is important for managers to hire and select team members with high levels of emotional intelligence and self-efficacy. Managers can train employees to internalize increased levels of these traits. Originality/value: The current study demonstrated that self-efficacy mediated emotional intelligence and team cohesion during a research project lasting one semester. There have been few studies examining the mediating effect of self-efficacy on the relationship between emotional intelligence and team cohesion. In particular, unlike many other studies that use short-term laboratory experiments, the duration of this study could provide enough time to more thoroughly develop cohesion among members. The current study collected both quantitative and qualitative data. In addition to the quantitative data analysis, the analysis of qualitative data reinforced the findings of the quantitative data analysis.

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Team Performance Management

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