Development concept

One of the most significant changes in organizational structures in recent decades has been the increasing use of teamwork (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003). In order to increase effectiveness and to develop employees, self-responsible teams are formed in organizations. Establishing a team does not automatically lead to well-functioning teamwork. Effective teams constantly reflect on their own goals and processes (cf. West, 1996). Team diagnoses provide a good basis for this.

The first organizational diagnostic procedures available on the market (e.g. Neuberger, 1975; Udris & Alioth, 1980; Rosenstiel, Falkenberg, Hehn, Henschel & Warns, 1983), which included "cooperation with colleagues" as a dimension, were often insufficient. There was a lack of a holistic scientific measurement method aligned to teams. For some time now, there have been individual methods that attempt to close this gap (Haak, 1994, Brodbeck, Anderson & West, 2000, Kauffeld, 2001). However:

  • The procedures are often only aligned with certain requirements (e.g. semi-autonomous groups in production, team contribution to innovations, attitude to teamwork),
  • The procedures are often incomplete because important performance-relevant influencing factors (e.g. team leadership) are missing,
  • The procedures are often too extensive (application in business practice not reasonable) or
  • too vague, i.e. no concrete improvement measures can be derived,
  • and have no current comparative standards.

In addition, several questionnaires have been published (e.g. Francis & Young, 1996; Moran, Musselwhite & Zenger, 1997), some of which are used in company practice, but which do not meet the scientific quality criteria of a measurement method, hardly show any relation to objective team performance and often have questionable scope for interpretation.

Observation instruments developed within the framework of small group research (e.g. Bales & Cohen, 1982) are not relevant for company practice due to the very high effort involved (systematic observation by trained observers) (Haase, 1999; Kauffeld, 1999).

In addition, there are several methods which are limited to personality typologies (e.g. Belbin, 1981; Myers & Mc Caulley, 1985; Fahden, 1993) and which focus on different roles of team members. Other performance prerequisites for successful teamwork are not considered. In addition, it is questionable to what extent practical degrees of freedom exist for the composition of teams or for changing the team composition in order to do justice to different personality characters.

In view of current developments in recent years, continuous learning processes and learning from mistakes are prove to be increasingly important for successful teamwork (cf. West & Markewicz, 2004; Mohr & Otto, 2005; Bauer & Mulder, 2007, Sonntag & Stegmaier, 2008). To the authors' knowledge, diagnostic procedures with a focus on learning processes in teams have so far been completely lacking. Here one can speak of a real "instrument gap".

A further challenge exists with regard to different team types. In the field of team types, there is a research gap regarding the determinants of effectiveness (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003). This is also reflected in the fact that currently common team diagnostic procedures do not adequately capture the particularities of different team types.

Problems in the application of team diagnostic procedures also arise because the peculiarities of the surveyed organizations, such as certain internal notations, are often not taken into account. This can lead to comprehension problems for the respondents and reduce the quality of the results. Practical solutions are necessary for this.

With TeamPuls®, a measurement method has been developed that offers practicable solutions for the requirements listed above. The holistic assessment of performance relevant factors of a team is in the foreground. In addition, special aspects of certain team types can be evaluated.

The original version by Wiedemann, by Watzdorf and Richter (2000) as well as the subsequent extensions and adaptations (e.g. Frömmer, Wegge & Wiedemann, 2010; Frömmer, 2011) were developed in cooperation with the Professorship of Work and Organizational Psychology ( of the TU Dresden and the original first author (Wiedemann, J.).

The basis for the process design of TeamPuls® is a combination of several theoretical concepts and the practical experience of many years of team consulting. Among the theoretical foundations are the "System of Participative Productivity Management" by Pritchard, Kleinbeck & Schmidt (1993), the "Goal-setting Theory" by Locke & Lathem (1990), the theory of team reflexivity by West (1996), the "Job Characteristic Model" by Hackman & Oldham (1974), the "Approach of Theme-Centred Interaction" by Cohn (1995), the "Degree of Maturity" by Hersey & Blanchard (1979), general team typologies (cf. Sundstrom, McIntyre, Halfhill, and Richards, 2000), the "Normative Approach to Leadership Decisions" according to Vroom & Yetton (1978), and the categories of self-regulation of groups, which Susman (1976) formulated following on from the "Autonomy Criteria" of Gulowsen (1972).