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Lehmann-Willenbrock, Nale
Chiu, Ming Ming
Lei, Zhike
Kauffeld, Simone
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
ESMT Working Paper 13-02 (R1)
Positivity in the workplace has been heralded to produce individual, social and organizational benefits. Although we know more about how positivity “broadens” and “builds” within individuals, little research has explicitly studied how positivity naturally occurs and dynamically unfolds in the flow of team interactions. This study aims to address this research gap by integrating existing knowledge on team processes with the notions of emotional cycles and “energy-in-conversation.” We observed meeting interactions of 43 frontline problem solving teams and analyzed a sample of 43,139 coded individual utterances from these teams. Using statistical discourse analysis (SDA) to model multi-level dynamics over time, we found that early positive and solution-focused interactions could send teams down a path of eliciting more “upward spirals”, thus more positivity. We also found that speaker switches added more positivity to team interactions both directly and by strengthening the positive effects of early positive and solution-focused interactions on subsequent positivity occurring in team interactions. Additionally and importantly, we found that overall positivity has positive implications for team performance. We discuss both theoretical and managerial implications of our findings.
dynamic positivity
team processes
team interactions
dynamic multi-level modeling
statistical discourse analysis
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Working Paper

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