Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Eric Sundstrom

Committee Members

Craig Colvin, Michael Rush, Joyce E. A. Russell


A field study examined team effectiveness in relation to group composition in thirty-four (34) Specialized Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) Teams. Data collection during a five-day, work-focused, SWAT team competition and included judges’ ratings of team performance, a questionnaire among team members and leaders to assess individual personality traits conscientiousness and agreeableness, and perceptions of team performance, norms, and conflict. Hypotheses derived from current research and theory. Results showed that the team maximum conscientiousness score correlated positively with member-rated team performance, as predicted. Team average and minimum conscientiousness correlated with leader-rated team viability; whereas, only the maximum conscientiousness team score correlated positively with Team average, minimum, maximum, and variance on agreeableness scores correlated negatively with leader rated team viability; however, the average, minimum, and maximum agreeableness scores correlated positively with team performance. None of the team composition variables significantly correlated with the criterion of judges’ ratings. Intra-group task and relationship conflict mediated the agreeableness-performance relationship. SWAT teams with high levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness reported higher levels of team performance, but did not receive higher performance ratings from judges. Recommendations for future research are provided.

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