OB Brownbag - Mahshid Khademi, HEC
From Hierarchical to Egalitarian: The Effect of Task Interdependence on Emerging Hierarchy Steepness and Group Performance
Thursday 2 May 2019 (12h00 - 13h00) - Internef - 149
Task type affects how group members interact with each other. We investigate how task type affects the hierarchy formation and group outcomes. In an experimental setting, 405 participants formed same-gender 3-person groups. They were randomly assigned to either were confronted with solving a high interdependent or a low interdependent task and to receive either individual or group speaking time feedback.
Results show that task type affected how steep a hierarchy emerged; confirming our hypothesis, high interdependent tasks lead to steeper emerging hierarchies. However, hierarchy Steepness mediated the effect of task type on group performance meaning that groups with interdependent tasks formed steeper hierarchy and their performance was negatively affected by the hierarchy steepness.
This study highlights the importance of task type when trying to understand how group members interact and what makes them perform well. Hierarchy steepness does seem to play an important role in higher group performance. It is hence, important to ensure that in groups with interdependent tasks, the members’ contributions are managed in a balanced way with flatter hierarchy formations.