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Team Learning Behaviours and Team Affective Reactions: an Empirical Study on Interdisciplinary Work Teams


This study examined interdisciplinary vocational educator teams to identify differences in their team learning behaviours and examined whether their team affective reactions could explain these differences. We used a mixed-methods approach comprising a survey of 117 interdisciplinary work teams with 604 members and a qualitative analysis of our observations of the meetings of six of these teams. The team-level cluster analysis to identify differences in team learning behaviours revealed three clusters that differed significantly (p = .00) regarding nearly all team learning behaviours. We named these clusters according to their patterns in team learning behaviours: ‘very active all-round teams’, ‘active all-round teams’ and ‘active teams with high knowledge sharing’. These differences in team learning behaviours could be explained by significant differences in team affective reactions (p < .05). Each cluster was represented by two teams whose team meetings (five per team) were audio- and videotaped. The overall findings of this study indicate that team affective reactions are related to team learning behaviours. The results of the qualitative analysis of the observation data provide additional information that not only positive but also negative team affective reactions can stimulate the engagement in team learning behaviours.

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The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), grant MU 2833/4–1, awarded to Regina H. Mulder.

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Correspondence to Verena Watzek.

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The authors do not have any interests that might be interpreted as influencing the research.


Appendix 1

Table 4 Items to measure the relevance of affects for both in teams and for teamwork (affective traits)

Appendix 2

Table 5 Category system of affective reactions of team members

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Watzek, V., Mulder, R.H. Team Learning Behaviours and Team Affective Reactions: an Empirical Study on Interdisciplinary Work Teams. Vocations and Learning 12, 1–22 (2019).

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