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The effect of team learning behaviours and team mental models on teacher team performance

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Teams become a key resource for organisations to meet different challenges. Thus a high team performance is essential in work context. The aim of this study was to get a deeper understanding of meaningful team learning and team mental models in educational contexts, by analysing the effect of team learning behaviours (TLBs) on the development of task-related team mental model (Task-TMM) and team performance. A three-wave longitudinal survey was conducted among interdisciplinary vocational teacher teams (N = 66 teams with 276 team members). TLBs and team performance were measured by validated scales. Task-TMM was measured by an open question about the work tasks of the teams to achieve its goals. The answers were evaluated by content analysis and categorised according to their semantic similarity. Path modelling of the data shows that TLBs have a positive effect on developing Task-TMM and on team performance in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and innovativeness. Task-TMM has a positive effect on effectiveness but not on efficiency or innovativeness. The results provide insights into how teachers’ team performance can be fostered, such as by fostering TLBs creating a learning environment where team members depend on each other to accomplish their work tasks. Especially the longitudinal design and the type of analysis of Task-TMM provides new and deep insights into the relationship between TLBs, Task-TMM and team performance. Through the qualitative approach investigating Task-TMM the study also provides insight into the work tasks of teams in detail.

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This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), Grant MU 2833/4-1, awarded to Regina H. Mulder.

The authors declare that this study is in compliance with ethical standards.

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Correspondence to Andreas Widmann.

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The authors (Andreas Widmann and Regina H. Mulder) declare that they have no conflict of interest. All the authors have seen and agree with the contents of the manuscript.

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Widmann, A., Mulder, R.H. The effect of team learning behaviours and team mental models on teacher team performance. Instr Sci (2019).

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  • Team learning behaviour
  • Team mental models
  • Team performance
  • Teacher teams
  • Longitudinal study
  • Vocational education