Kristopher Potrafka, School of Human and Organizational Development
This study examined the relationship between team mental models, interpersonal trust, and team performance in knowledge-based teams. It is widely assumed in the popular literature that the success of today’s businesses in the knowledge economy is dependent upon the performance of teams. A closer look at the underlying assumptions inherent in the ambiguous concept of teams creates a compelling opportunity for better research. Although trust and the mental models team members share have been scrutinized in the academic literature, no studies have examined the possibility of a relationship between these variables and team performance.
This quantitative study surveyed 36 intact field-based teams and affect-based trust.
A significant relationship was found between team performance, interpersonal trust, and the components of team mental models that consist of taskwork accuracy, teamwork accuracy, and teamwork similarity. Trust, particularly affect-based trust, explained a significantly large amount of the variance in team performance. These findings advance our understanding of knowledge-based teams by revealing how trust and team mental models contribute to team performance.
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