Are Systems-Centered® teams more collaborative, productive and creative?

Richard O'Neill, Verena Murphy, Jacqueline Mogle, Kristin L. MacGregor, Michael J. MacKenzie, Mariam Parekh, Mindy Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Research from numerous theories shows teams' information sharing and discussion enhances effectiveness. Likewise, team communication structure can increase information sharing, manage conflict productively and foster creativity. However, the lack of unifying theory hinders understanding of the disparate research findings. Agazarian aims to unify the field with her meta-theoretical, multi-level Theory of Living Human Systems (TLHS). Furthermore, her TLHS-derived Systems-Centered Training (SCT) presents an innovative structure to improve team performance. The purpose of this paper is to compare the verbal process, productivity, and creativity of pre-existing work groups using SCT methods or Robert's Rules of Order (RRO), to test TLHS/SCT reliability and validity. Design/methodology/approach: The verbal characteristics, information sharing, productivity, and creativity in SCT and RRO teams were compared using the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction (SAVI), Group Productivity Scale and Work Group Inventory. Findings: SCT teams, compared to groups using RRO, talked in ways more likely to transfer and integrate task-related information. Furthermore, SCT teams were more productive, better performing, and more creative. Research limitations/implications: The study's design does not permit cause-and-effect conclusions. Proposals for future research are made. Practical implications: The results suggest SCT methods improve team communication, productivity, and creativity. Because this study examined "real-world" teams, the findings may apply to similar groups in various workplaces. Social implications: Having the ability to use differences as resources could improve society. Originality/value: This paper suggests SCT methods offer innovative communication structures that focus teams effectively, perhaps by minimizing off-task communications and conflict. Also, as SCT operationally defines TLHS, these results support the validity of TLHS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-221
Number of pages21
JournalTeam Performance Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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