The power of teams: Do self-managing work teams influence managers' perceptions of potency? Page: 8
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including productivity, employee satisfaction, and manager judgments. Questions surrounding
whether the potency-performance relationship exists merely because better performing teams are
comprised of more able team members prompted Hecht et al. (2002) to test if potency could
predict performance over and above actual team abilities. Results showed that potency
contributed positively and significantly to performance after team member ability was controlled.
These results indicate that although high-performing teams require exceptional abilities of
members, the belief in those abilities is just as important as the actual abilities themselves. In
other words, those that think they can, do.
On many levels, the relationship between potency and performance is thought to be
reciprocal (Hecht et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2002; Lindsley, Brass, & Thomas, 1999; Pearce et al.,
2002; Sosik et al., 1997; Sivasubramaniam et al., 2002). First, a well-designed team compliments
member ability and bolsters a belief in that ability (potency), increasing the probability of
successful performance. Second, successful past performance is a strong determinant of future
performance, which in turn adds to overall potency. Third, the reoccurrence of successful
performance reinforces potency beliefs by strengthening the team's own view of itself. Hackman
(1990) notes that when a well-designed team encounters reinforcing events, a positive spiral can
be triggered. Spirals have amplifying properties that are defined by the relationship between
certain variables such as potency and performance - an increase in one variable tends to led to an
increase in the other (Lindsley et al.). There is some debate as to whether these amplifying
properties are considered beneficial to self-managing work teams. For example, longitudinal
studies have revealed that the potency-performance relationship, however significant, tends to
decrease over time (Lee, et al.; Lester et al., 2002; Pearce et al.; Sivasubramaniam et al.).
Lindsley et al. explains this phenomenon by reasoning that consecutive positive, or
upward,spirals experienced by teams result in overconfidence and subsequent complacency.
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Hass, Nicolette P. The power of teams: Do self-managing work teams influence managers' perceptions of potency?, thesis, December 2005; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4961/m1/14/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .