Dyadic Viability in Project Teams: the Impact of Liking, Competence, and Task Interdependence

Abstract

Drawing from social exchange theory and the relational approach to social exchange relationships, we examine liking and competence judgments as predictors of dyadic viability, a new, complementary, operationalization of team viability. We also consider team-level task interdependence as a moderator of these dyadic relationships. Based on data from dyads nested within project teams, we found that both liking and competence significantly relate to teammates’ dyadic viability. Additionally, task interdependence at the team level significantly moderates the dyadic-level effects of liking and competence on dyadic viability, such that the effect of liking judgments is stronger when team task interdependence is high, and the effect of competence judgments is stronger when team task interdependence is low. We also show that aggregated (across team members) measures of dyadic viability are highly similar to proxies that have been classified as team viability in the past—team satisfaction and cohesion. However, the moderating effect of task interdependence was not found with these team-level measures.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    As a Supplemental Online Appendices, we have included a brief summary of various conceptualizations and operationalizations of team viability that exist in the literature. Because a complete review of the literature is beyond the scope of the current study, we do not claim that this table is an exhaustive summary. However, it does provide a reasonable snapshot of how scholars have discussed team viability.

  2. 2.

    For a list of other publications and presentations that have also used CATME data, please visit https://info.catme.org/.

  3. 3.

    Because the CATME system allows instructors to select which measures to use with their classes, and many did not request demographic data from their students, the amount of demographic information varied. Specifically, the percentage of responses were 7.8% for year in school (n = 184), 18.0% for age (n = 426), 26.3% for race (n = 621), and 38.3% for sex (n = 906).

  4. 4.

    Although earlier studies of SRM have used different terms for the individual-level effect of the person providing the rating (e.g., perceiver, actor), we have chosen to use the term “rater” to increase the clarity of the description of our hypotheses and results.

  5. 5.

    The TripleR package only accepts two-item latent measures. Because each construct was measured with three to five items, we formed item packets for each construct. Specifically, for competence, we averaged the first three items (i.e., contributing to the team’s work, interacting with teammates, keeping the team on track) and the last two items (i.e., expecting quality and having relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities) to form two separate latent measures of competence. For liking and dyadic viability, we simply used the two highest loading items. Alternative combinations of items yielded very similar results, which are available from the authors upon request.

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This material is based upon the work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 0243254, 0817403, and 1431694.

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Thomas, J.S., Loignon, A.C., Woehr, D.J. et al. Dyadic Viability in Project Teams: the Impact of Liking, Competence, and Task Interdependence. J Bus Psychol 35, 573–591 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-019-09647-6

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Keywords

  • Liking
  • Competence
  • Viability
  • Dyads
  • Task interdependence
  • Teams
  • Social relations model