Flow experience and team performance: The role of team goal commitment and information exchange

Abstract

While a number of studies show that the flow experience is related to different outcomes at the individual level, the role of flow in work teams remains unclear. This study contributes to the advancement of knowledge on flow by testing the relationships between this psychological state, team goal commitment and team performance. Data were gathered from 85 teams comprised of graduate and undergraduate students who participated in a project management simulation. The results show that the flow experience is positively related to team performance. This relationship is mediated by team goal commitment and moderated by the level of information exchange between team members. In practical terms, the results of this study show that managers should implement interventions fostering the flow experience in their teams, while at the same time encouraging information exchange between members.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    A regression analysis was carried out by including team size as a control variable, but the results were essentially the same as those produced by the correlation analysis.

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Correspondence to Caroline Aubé.

Additional information

The research was supported by a grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Appendix

Appendix

Scale items adapted or created for this studya,b

Short flow (adapted from Martin and Jackson 2008)
1. I felt I was competent enough to meet the high demands of the situation
2. I did things spontaneously and automatically without having to think
3. I had a strong sense of what I want to do
4. I had a good idea while I am performing about how well I am doing
5. I was completely focused on the task at hand
6. I had a feeling of total control
7. I was not worried about what others may be thinking of me
8. The way time passed seemed to be different from normal
9. The experience was extremely rewarding
Team goal commitment [adapted from Klein et al. (2001) by Aubé and Rousseau (2005)]
1. We were committed to pursuing the team’s goal
2. We think it was important to reach the team’s goal
3. We really cared about achieving the team’s goal
Information exchangec
1. We shared with each of the members information useful for the work
2. We made sure we correctly understood our co-workers’ point of view
  1. aIn this study, the measures were administered in French
  2. bThe items are formulated in the past given that the participants should refer to their experience during the simulation
  3. cScale developed for this study

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Aubé, C., Brunelle, E. & Rousseau, V. Flow experience and team performance: The role of team goal commitment and information exchange. Motiv Emot 38, 120–130 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-013-9365-2

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Keywords

  • Flow experience
  • Team performance
  • Team goal commitment
  • Information exchange