17 Work Groups and Teams in Organizations

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


  1. Steve W. J. Kozlowski PhD1,
  2. Bradford S. Bell PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop212017

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Kozlowski, S. W. J. and Bell, B. S. 2012. Work Groups and Teams in Organizations. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 12:III:17.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Michigan State University, Department of Psychology, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

  2. 2

    Cornell University, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, Ithaca, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


This review chapter examines the literature on work team effectiveness. To begin, we consider their nature, define them, and identify four critical conceptual issues—context, workflow, levels, and time—that serve as review themes and discuss the multitude of forms that teams may assume. We then shift attention to the heart of the review, examining key aspects of the creation, development, operation, and management of work teams. To accomplish objectives of breadth and integration, we adopt a life-cycle perspective to organize the review. Topics involved in the team life cycle include: (1) team composition; (2) team formation, socialization, and development; (3) team processes, effectiveness, and enhancements; (4) team leadership and motivation; (5) and team continuance and decline. We characterize representative theory and research, identify thematic limitations, and highlight work that is beginning to push the boundaries on our critical conceptual issues. We also address application concerns where possible. Finally, we close with a discussion that reflects back on the topics, considers the state of progress regarding our critical conceptual themes, and suggests directions for new research to foster continued progress and development.


  • team composition;
  • team development;
  • team effectiveness;
  • team leadership;
  • team motivation