The influence of emotional intelligence on team cohesion and the mediating effects of self-efficacy and trust: time-lagged approach

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Purpose: Using the input-mediator-output-input (IMOI) model, this paper aims to use longitudinal data to test team level self-efficacy and trust as mediators in the relationship between team emotional intelligence (EI) and team cohesion (TC) and examine the relationship between TC and team performance. Design/methodology/approach: In an experimental design, 347 senior business students (84 teams) played a simulation game for 12 weeks. The authors collected data at three different time points to avoid reverse causal effects in the mediation relationship. Findings: As hypothesized, trust and self-efficacy mediate the relationship between EI and TC. Moreover, TC is a strong and significant predictor of team performance. Research limitations/implications: The authors measured most variables using a self-reported survey, which can cause common method bias, and the authors used a business simulation game for the team task with student participants, which may limit the generalizability of the findings to other team contexts or populations. Practical implications: When forming work teams, managers should consider levels of EI and self-efficacy because they facilitate the development of trust and TC, which, in turn, lead to improved performance. Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature on EI and TC by revealing the mediating effects of trust and self-efficacy and contributes to the team literature by leveraging the IMOI model to explicate the mediation effects. This study’s longitudinal study design clarifies the causal relationship among EI, trust and self-efficacy and TC, thereby eliminating reverse causation concerns.

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Team Performance Management

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