Faculty & Research Unpacking the Black box: How inter- and intra-team forces motivate team rationality Jul 01, 2022 By Eileen ChouKathy W. Phillips Unpacking the Black box: How inter- and intra-team forces motivate team rationality How can we ensure that teams can fulfill their full cognitive potential? This article investigates team rationality by examining when and why team formations facilitate rational decision-making. A pilot experiment (N = 78) found that within the context of a two-person beauty contest game, interacting teams behave more rationally and are more likely to attain full rationality than individuals. Two experiments (N = 855) investigated why interacting teams are more rational by investigating the motivation forces individual team members may experience. We extrapolate two motivating mechanisms that approximate the inter- and intrateam forces that team members may experience—interteam competitiveness and intrateam accountability—and impose them on members in a nominal team. Results show that together, these mechanisms synergistically motivate members in a nominal team to behave more rationally than if those who were only exposed to one or none of the two motivating forces. Furthermore, nominal teams where all members were exposed to both inter- and intrateam forces achieved rationality on par with those of interacting teams. The synergistic effects are robust for both virtual (Experiment 1) and face-to-face teams (Experiment 2). This suggests that the locus of team rationality resides within individual members of the team: Each of the three heads can be motivated so that, collectively, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The article concludes with some practical implications of our findings. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved) Link to Paper Areas of focus Leadership Eileen Chou Eileen Chou, associate dean for academic affairs and Batten Family Bicentennial Teacher-Scholar Leadership Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, researches the organizational, social, and psychological forces that shape individual and group behavior in organizational settings. Read full bio Kathy W. Phillips Related Content Eileen Chou Once bitten, twice shy: The negative spillover effect of seeing betrayal of trust. Research Our research demonstrates that people who had perceived a recent betrayal were significantly less likely to trust a new entity that shared nominal group membership with the previous trust transgressor. By systematically investigating whether, why, and to what extent betrayal spillover can subsequently contaminate trust development, we present a robust account of the downstream economic and behavioral consequences of observing others who have been betrayed by a similar entity, particularly in the context of charitable organizations. The Goldilocks Contract: The Synergistic Benefits of Combining Structure and Autonomy for Persistence, Creativity, and Cooperation Research Contracts are commonly used to regulate a wide range of interactions and relationships. Yet relying on contracts as a mechanism of control often comes at a cost to motivation. Eileen Chou New Associate Dean for Academic Affairs News The Batten School is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Eileen Chou as associate dean for academic affairs, effective July 1, 2023. Why Americans Feel More Pain News Millions of Americans are suffering from chronic pain linked to troubled childhoods, loneliness, and a host of other pressures on working families. Economic insecurity is also associated with more pain, according to a study by Batten Professor Eileen Chou cited in a New York Times series exploring the interrelated crisis impacting working-class America.