Past research shows that teams working on a complex task need developmental space to be successful. They can create this space in their interaction by undertaking four activities: creating future, reflecting, organizing, and dialoguing. These four activities refer to two orientations: the performance orientation, limiting the space, and the sensemaking orientation, opening up the space. Teams need them both, yet it seems inconsistent and impossible to achieve together, thus a paradox. In this exploratory research, we address the way in which teams experience and handle that “developmental space paradox,” and how it affects team success. Individual team members (N = 70) from 12 teams were interviewed. Successful (n = 7) and unsuccessful (n = 5) teams were compared. The results show that successful teams experience this paradox differently than the unsuccessful teams, and that both categories choose other coping strategies to handle this paradox.
- group decision making
- groups/group processes/dynamics