The Effects of Team Reflexivity on Psychological Well-Being in Manufacturing Teams

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Abstract

While the impact of team reflexivity (a.k.a. after-event-reviews, team debriefs) on team performance has been widely examined, we know little about its implications on other team outcomes such as member well-being. Drawing from prior team reflexivity research, we propose that reflexivity-related team processes reduce demands, and enhance control and support. Given the centrality of these factors to work-based strain, we posit that team reflexivity, by affecting these factors, may have beneficial implications on 3 core dimensions of employee burnout, namely exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy (reduced personal accomplishment). Using a sample of 469 unskilled manufacturing workers employed in 73 production teams in a Southern Chinese factory, we implemented a time lagged, quasi-field experiment, with half of the teams trained in and executing an end-of-shift team debriefing, and the other half assigned to a control condition and undergoing periodic postshift team-building exercises. Our findings largely supported our hypotheses, demonstrating that relative to team members assigned to the control condition, those assigned to the reflexivity condition experienced a significant improvement in all 3 burnout dimensions over time. These effects were mediated by control and support (but not demands) and amplified as a function of team longevity.

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