Do increases in task difficulty lead to corresponding increases in group efficacy, cohesiveness and performance?

Tredgett, John (2015) Do increases in task difficulty lead to corresponding increases in group efficacy, cohesiveness and performance? Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The three Royal Air Force Development Training Centres (RAFDTCs) have been established to provide personal and team development training for all ranks. Outdoor activities are used at the centres as a catalyst to promote learning and exploration. Anecdotal evidence suggests there is a training effect from the centre activities however, a link to a specific effect remains elusive. The study, conducted at RAFDTC Fairbourne, explored whether increases in task difficulty (easy, moderate & hard), correspond with increases in group efficacy, group cohesion and performance time to complete the task. Additionally, following literature surrounding mediating and moderating variables (Kim, Kay, & Wright, 2001), research explored whether a triadic reciprocal causation between efficacy, cohesion and performance could be established (Bandura, 2001). The study participants were teams of 6 adults, randomly assigned to training groups for centre activities [12 (pilot) & 68 (main)]. To explore relationships between task difficulty, group efficacy, cohesiveness and group performance, a Leonardo`s Bridge Building exercise (Metalogs, 2010) was set. A small pilot study compared efficacy collection methods and was adjusted accordingly. Both pilot and main studies confirmed that, as task difficulty increases, there is a corresponding increase in time to complete the task (pilot study, pearson’s r (12) = .968*, p= .000 (1 tailed) & main study pearson’s r (68) = .642*, p= .000 (1 tailed)). The pilot study results indicated time was a significant predictor of pre and post task efficacy F(1.000,9.000)=5.880,p=.038, ηp2=.395 and that task level F(2.000,9.000)=12.000,p=.003, ηp2=.727 interacted with time to predict task efficacy. However, the larger sample in the main study did not confirm either of these findings. Results do not support a triadic reciprocal relationship between group efficacy, cohesion and performance. Group efficacy and cohesion (i.e., Group Integration Task) only appeared as an effect of performance.

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