Series editor(s): Professor Michael Beyerlein
Subject Area: Organization Studies
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|Title:||The importance of team task analysis for team human resource management|
|Author(s):||Steven J. Lorenzet, Erik R. Eddy, Gerald D. Klein|
|Volume:||9 ISBN: 978-0-76230-981-8 eISBN: 978-1-84950-188-0|
|Citation:||Steven J. Lorenzet, Erik R. Eddy, Gerald D. Klein (2003), The importance of team task analysis for team human resource management, in (ed.) 9 (Advances in Interdisciplinary Studies of Work Teams, Volume 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.113-145|
|DOI:||10.1016/S1572-0977(02)09008-8 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Article type:||Full length article|
Recent reports suggest that the use of teams in organizations is increasing (Guzzo & Shea, 1992). In fact, many organizations are moving towards team-based approaches, where teams become the centerpiece of organizational structure. As a result of this emphasis on teamwork, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to become skilled at identifying the task and skill requirements, as well as the cognitive demands of teams and team members. Effective identification of necessary team characteristics can inform several human resource management challenges for teams, including, team design, team training, rewards for team performance, team member selection, and the diagnosis and promotion of team effectiveness.
This paper suggests that one way to increase our understanding of teams is through the use of team task analysis (TTA). TTA is a process of analyzing and describing the tasks of teams and the jobs of team members and can be used to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), and attitude requirements relevant to team performance. Despite the obvious importance of TTA, reviews of the literature (Baker, Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 1998; Levine, Penner, Brannick, Coovert & Llobert, 1988) have found very little systematic work on the topic. Further, an examination of traditional job analysis sources (e.g. Gael, 1983; Gael, 1988; Harvey, 1992) revealed twelve pages devoted to TTA (Dieterly, 1988).
Based on the apparent lack of attention given to TTA, one purpose of this paper is to update previous work on TTA, by reviewing and integrating the existing literature. Another purpose of this paper is to offer researchers a foundation for additional theoretical work. Finally, we hope to contribute towards a framework, and/or tool, to aid practitioners in the delivery of human resource management services to teams.
In our review, we provide a comparison of individual task analysis vs. TTA and provide key points of departure between the two concepts. Additionally, a summary of TTA is provided as well as warnings to practitioners and researchers based on previous research and theorizing regarding the aggregation of data (e.g. Bowers, Baker & Salas, 1994; Brenner, Sheehan, Arthur & Bennett, 1998; Kenny & LaVoie, 1985; Klein, Dansereau & Hall, 1994; Rousseau, 1985). In particular, our warnings focus on the potential dangers associated with aggregating individual level information (e.g. individual job analysis data) to higher (e.g. team) levels.
Next, methods that have been used to collect TTA information are reviewed and classified. Then, the type of information gathered, such as, team competencies/skills (e.g. Cannon-Bowers, Tannenbaum, Salas & Volpe, 1995; Stevens & Campion, 1994), job characteristics (e.g. Campion, Medsker & Higgs, 1993; Campion, Papper & Medsker, 1996), and cognitive information (e.g. Brenner et al., 1998; Klein, 1993) are reviewed and categorized. Additionally, comparisons of individual cognitive task analysis (i.e. the mental processes needed to accomplish an individual task) and cognitive TTA (i.e. the integrative team mental processes needed to accomplish a team task) are provided.
We conclude with a presentation of criteria for evaluating TTA methodologies and a series of suggestions to guide both practitioners and researchers regarding future work in TTA. Our emphasis is on explaining the value of TTA and what it means to the reader, regardless of his/her occupation (e.g. practitioner or researcher).
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