Flow Experience

pp 233-247


The Application of Team Flow Theory

  • Jef J. J. van den HoutAffiliated withSchool of Industrial Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology Email author 
  • , Orin C. DavisAffiliated withCity University of New York, Baruch CollegeUniversity of Massachusetts Boston
  • , Bob WalraveAffiliated withSchool of Industrial Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology

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Despite the noted potential for ‘team flow’ to enhance a team’s effectiveness, productivity, performance, and capabilities, studies on the construct are scarce. Most research on flow has been conducted either at the individual level, which generally constitutes the experience of complete absorption while working on a task, or at the artistic ensemble level, which reflects a gestalt group experience. But, team flow in the work environment, where teams differ from performance groups, has not yet been studied or reported. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty applying theories of flow to the team level, because the research on flow, group flow, and team dynamics does not readily gel. In this chapter, however, we will briefly discuss the precursors and components of team flow and its consequences. We will also describe how these precursors and components work by giving some examples of team flow experiences in different environments. Our analysis provides both theoretical insights into the causes of the emergence of team flow and practical suggestions for work teams to foster team flow experiences.