Team members' interaction anxiety and team-training effectiveness: a catastrophic relationship?
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OBJECTIVE: In the present study, we examined the relationship between team members' interaction anxiety and team-training effectiveness. BACKGROUND: Training in the context of teams can be focused on either individual or team outcomes. Relatedly, the individual differences of team members can hinder or facilitate the effectiveness of training for both individuals and the team as a collective. Interaction anxiety is an understudied individual difference that has been shown to be negatively related to training effectiveness in individual contexts. However, its effects in team-training contexts are yet to be investigated. METHOD: A sample of 492 students in 123 four-person teams was trained to operate a complex, computer-based team task RESULTS: Interaction anxiety negatively related to team cohesion and team-training effectiveness. A cusp catastrophe model fit the data and showed that teams with more than one high-interaction-anxiety member were negatively affected. CONCLUSION: Interaction anxiety inhibits the social activities of team training, in turn reducing team-training effectiveness when there is more than one high-interaction-anxiety individual on the training team. APPLICATION: These results highlight the importance of examining interaction anxiety as a training team compositional variable that may inhibit behaviors and team processesnecessary to capitalize on the positive social activities on which team training depends since the interaction anxiety composition of training teams may serve as an important boundary condition on the effectiveness team-training interventions.