Why and When Hierarchy Impacts Team Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Integration

Greer, L. L., De Jong, B. A., Schouten, M. E., & Dannals, J. A. Why and When Hierarchy Impacts Team Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Integration. Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming

75 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2017

See all articles by Lindred Greer

Lindred Greer

Stanford University

Bart Jong

Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Maartje Schouten

Iowa State University

Jennifer Dannals

Stanford University

Date Written: November 12, 2017

Abstract

Hierarchy has the potential to both benefit and harm team effectiveness. In this paper, we meta-analytically investigate different explanations for why and when hierarchy helps or hurts team effectiveness, drawing on results from 54 prior studies (N = 13,914 teams). Our findings show that, on net, hierarchy negatively impacts team effectiveness (performance: rho = -.08; viability: rho = -.11), and that this effect is mediated by increased conflict-enabling states. Additionally, we show that the negative relationship between hierarchy and team performance is exacerbated by aspects of the team structure (i.e., membership instability, skill differentiation) and the hierarchy itself (i.e., mutability), which make hierarchical teams prone to conflict. The predictions regarding the positive effect of hierarchy on team performance as mediated by coordination-enabling processes, and the moderating roles of several aspects of team tasks (i.e., interdependence, complexity) and the hierarchy (i.e., form) were not supported, with the exception that task ambiguity enhanced the positive effects of hierarchy. Given that our findings largely support dysfunctional views on hierarchy, future research is needed to understand when and why hierarchy may be more likely to live up to its purported functional benefits.

Keywords: Hierarchy, Teams, Meta-Analysis, Power, Status, Conflict

Suggested Citation

Greer, Lindred and Jong, Bart and Schouten, Maartje and Dannals, Jennifer, Why and When Hierarchy Impacts Team Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Integration (November 12, 2017). Greer, L. L., De Jong, B. A., Schouten, M. E., & Dannals, J. A. Why and When Hierarchy Impacts Team Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Integration. Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3069867 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3069867

Lindred Greer

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Bart Jong (Contact Author)

Australian Catholic University (ACU)

250 Victoria Parade
Melbourne, VIC 3002
Australia

Maartje Schouten

Iowa State University ( email )

613 Wallace Road
Ames, IA 50011-2063
United States

Jennifer Dannals

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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