How dynamics in perceptual shared cognition and team potency predict team performance

Josette M.P. Gevers (Corresponding author), Jia Li, Christel G. Rutte, Wendelien van Eerde

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In a longitudinal field study of 37 professional project teams over almost 2 years, we investigated the dynamic relationship between perceptual shared cognition and team potency in predicting team performance. Our main results show that initial levels and change in perceptual shared cognition explain team performance outcomes through initial levels and change in team potency, respectively. Thereby, our findings confirmed that initial levels and change in team potency operated as an explanatory mechanism for the relationship between shared cognition and team performance. Interestingly, shared cognition change shows larger benefits on team performance outcomes than initial levels. In addition, we show differential relationships of task- and time-related shared cognition with the quality and timeliness criteria of team performance. Whereas shared task cognition predicts team performance in terms of both output quality and timeliness, shared temporal cognition predicts timeliness only. Altogether, this research suggests the unique theoretical value of change in perceptual shared cognition in explaining team performance and of affective-motivational team states as an alternative explanatory mechanism for the impact of shared cognition on team effectiveness. Practitioner points: Team members’ perceptions of being on the same page about their collaborative task and its temporal elements boost their confidence in the team's capabilities, thereby improving team performance. Team members’ perceived agreement about the ‘what’ of their collaborative task is conducive to both project quality and timeliness. Their perceived agreement on the ‘when’ of task accomplishment further facilitates a timely project completion. Team members’ cognitive consensus about the task and its temporal elements are subject to change, so is their confidence in the team's capabilities. Initial disagreements do not necessarily warrant eventual detriments, but performance excellence does require that cognitive consensus is being maintained and improved throughout the project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-157
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date25 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020



  • dynamics
  • longitudinal
  • team cognition
  • team performance
  • team potency

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