Abstract

Some team members work on team tasks in anticipation of success; others are motivated by a desire to avoid failure. This difference in orientation may result in differing levels of effort across team members. We attempt to shed light on the mechanism through which orientation influences team member effort and satisfaction. A Regulatory Focus (RF) perspective helps develop a model relating team processes and outcomes to variation in team members’ regulatory orientation. RF theory suggests that individuals differ significantly in the way they approach goals, and in the means they employ to attain those goals. RF theory has been widely applied in marketing and management research but not to team member behaviors. We currently know little about how an individual team member’s RF may interact with team processes and influence the member’s behavior; or about how a team’s processes and performance may influence a team member’s RF over time. In addition, there is a paucity of longitudinal research on teams and the application of RF to team processes in particular. This study attempts small steps in both of these directions by testing whether the relationship between feedback, effort and satisfaction is moderated by the team member’s RF. Further, we examine how the variance in RF within the team is related to team cohesion and performance outcomes. We suggest that the within team variance in RF levels will be negatively related to team satisfaction and team cohesion over time, and that performance over time has implications for the variance in RF across the team.

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