Team Science (TSci) is a multidisciplinary field that concentrates on the interpersonal, intrapersonal, organizational, physical, environmental, technological, societal, and political contextual factors in the workplace. Team Science touches on the collaborative functioning of teams and small groups in the workplace, often involving cross-disciplinary and cross-functional groups. Team Science research studies the antecedent conditions, collaborative processes, and outcomes associated with teams and small groups. Topics studied within the field of TSci include: group dynamics, team processes, leadership, team leadership, team training, team evaluation, team cognition, intergroup conflict, change theory, complexity leadership theory, decision-making/problem-solving skills, and systems thinking. Also, there is a large variety of technologies used to support teams and small groups in the workplace. This webpage will try to highlight current research relating to TSci as it relates to workplace issues.
Team Science (TSci) focuses on team science issues in the workplace, utilizing evidence-based research to help organizations better deal with complex problems and human resources while operating in interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and global environments.
Team Science Background
Recently, through the efforts of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) the science of team science (SciTS) was formed as an effort to understand and manage “circumstances that facilitate or hinder the effectiveness of large-scale, cross-disciplinary, collaborative research initiatives” (Falk-Krzesinski, 2012, The science). From this effort, Team Science (TSci) evolved, identifying evidence-based methods to aid collaborative research and to produce problem-solving methodologies and techniques. Team science is essentially a “cross-disciplinary science in which team members with training and expertise in different fields work together to combine or integrate their perspectives in a single research endeavor” (Team Science, n.d., What Is). Team science, as a field of study, has expanded beyond the organized efforts of NIH and NCI in their formation of the SciTS. Salas et al. (2015) utilized TSci to develop the science of team effectiveness for NASA in their efforts to support teams in space exploration. Shuffler, DiazGranados, and Salas (2011) utilized the science of team development interventions to look at team building and team training interventions in the workplace. Weaver, Feitosa, Salas, Seddon, and Vozenilek (2013) identified team science within healthcare by stating: “Teamwork is now recognized and embraced as a critical component of the healthcare vocabulary and as an integral part of the continuum of care” (p. 3). Team science is currently beginning to emerge as a key component of organizations and fields of study to incorporate into their policies and practices.
One example of this is provided in how team science assisted emergency response teams (workplace) in becoming more efficient at responding in times of crises. Here team science provided “evidence-based practices used to enhance teams’ abilities to be adaptive, solve problems, communicate, build trust, and develop shared knowledge among team members… to improve the effectiveness” (Steinke et al., 2015, p. 26) of emergency response teams (i.e., cybersecurity incident response teams, emergency medical systems teams). Other examples include the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) where they implemented team science foundations into their program to enhance collaboration. From a pilot program at the Duke Institute for Health Innovations (DIHI), the director stated that “extending the multidisciplinary team science research paradigm to health innovation will be critical to the success of our innovation agenda” (Duke, 2016). Other literature highlights the benefits that team science plays in educational programs, community interventions, public policy development (Falk-Krzesincki, 2010), its role in improving “the transfer of knowledge across multiple initiatives and evaluation studies” (Stokols, Hall, Taylor, & Moser, 2008, p. S86), and the benefits it can play in improving mentoring practices, leadership skills, interpersonal and managerial skills, and communication strategies (Hall et al., 2008).
A 2012 estimate by the World Bank reported: “that capital investment in teams represented approximately 20% of the world’s economy” (Salas, & Rico, 2017, Forward). However, programs in team science have yet to flourish with very few disciplines (i.e., engineering, engineering technology, healthcare, management, nursing) incorporating team science related courses into their curriculum. This webpage will help to highlight some of the recent research in team science within the context of today’s complex workplace.
Duke University School of Nursing (August 9, 2016). Reimagining nursing research: Accelerating nursing science and translation into clinical practice. Retrieved from https://nursing.duke.edu/news/reimagining-nursing-research-accelerating-nursing-science-and-translation-clinical-practice
Falk-Krzesinski, H. J., Borner, K., Contractor, N., Fiore, S. M., Hall, K. L., Keyton, J., …Uzzi, B. (2010). Advancing the science of team science. Abstract presented at The First Annual International Science of Team Science (SciTS) Conference: Chicago, IL.
Hall, K. L., Feng, A. X., Moser, R. P., Stokols, D., & Taylor, B. K. (2008). Moving the science of team science forward: Collaboration and creativity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(2S), S243-S249. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2008.05.007
Salas, E., & Rico, R. (2017). The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the psychology of team working and collaborative processes. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
Salas, E., Tannenbaum, S. I. Kozlowski, S. W. J., Miller, C. A., Mathieu, J. E., & Wessen, W. B. (2015). Teams in space exploration: A new frontier for the science of team effectiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 200-207. doi:10.1177/0963721414566448
Shuffler, M. L., DiazGranados, D., & Salas, E. (2011). There’s a science for that: Team development interventions in organizations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 365-372. doi:10.1177/0963721411422054
Stokols, D., Hall, K., Taylor, B., & Moser, R. P. (2008). The science of team science: Overview of the field and introduction to the supplement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(2S), S77-S89. doi:10.1016/j.ampepre.2008.05.002
Steinke, J., Bolunmez, B., Fletcher. L., Wang, V., Tomassetti, A. J.,Repchick, K. M., …Tetrick, L. E. (2015, July/August). Improving cybersecurity incident response team effectiveness using teams-based research. Multidisciplinary Security, IEEE Computer and Reliability Societies, 15, pp. 20-29. Retrieved from http://www.computer.org/security
Team Science (n.d.). About team science. National Cancer Institute: Team Science Toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.teamsciencetoolkit.cancer.gov/Public/WhatIsTS.aspx
Weaver, S. J., Feitosa, J., Salas, E., Seddon, R., & Vozenilek, J. A. (2013). The theoretical drivers and models of team performance and effectiveness for patient safety. In E. Salas & K. Frush (Eds.), Improving patient safety through teamwork and team training, pp. 3-26. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Falk-Krzesinski, H. J. (2012). Guidance for team science leaders: Tools you can use. The Academic Executive Brief. Retrieved from https://academicexecutives.elsevier.com/articles/guidance-team-science-leaders-tools-you-can-use