Team Performance and the Problem-Solving Approach

  • Sophia Scott (Southeast Missouri State University)


The global landscape in the industrial environment requires teams of individuals who can solve multifaceted technical problems. Many organizations focus on providing team members with the tools and techniques used in solving such problems. However, one overlooked factor of team success is approach. Individuals with similar abilities approach problems in different ways. The right problem-solving ability with the wrong problem-solving approach could translate into ineffective team performance. There has been a plethora of research on the areas of team dynamics and problem-solving, but little research on the connection between team performance and problem-solving approach. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of problem-solving approach on team performance. By studying teams in industrial and engineering education, this investigator sought to determine if teams whose members use similar approaches perform differently from teams whose members use dissimilar approaches. The Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory was used to assess problem-solving approach, and a Hollow Square Puzzle was used to measure team performance. The results indicated that, overall, 65% of the project teams solved the puzzle. Teams whose members had similar problem-solving approaches solved the puzzle 80% of the time, therefore performing better in the team environment. The results also showed that understanding your or your team member’s approach to problem-solving does not influence team performance. The forming of teams according to problem-solving approach was the most significant indicator of team success.

Keywords: human relations|management|project management|sociology|teamwork

How to Cite:

Scott, S., (2007) “Team Performance and the Problem-Solving Approach”, Journal of Industrial Technology 23(4).

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Published on
01 Oct 2007