Developing a Theory of the Strategic Core of Teams: A Role Composition Model of Team Performance

Stephen E. Humphrey, Frederick P. Morgeson, Michael J. Mannor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Although numerous models of team performance have been articulated over the past 20 years, these models have primarily focused on the individual attribute approach to team composition. The authors utilized a role composition approach, which investigates how the characteristics of a set of role holders impact team effectiveness, to develop a theory of the strategic core of teams. Their theory suggests that certain team roles are most important for team performance and that the characteristics of the role holders in the "core" of the team are more important for overall team performance. This theory was tested in 778 teams drawn from 29 years of major league baseball (1974-2002). Results demonstrate that although high levels of experience and job-related skill are important predictors of team performance, the relationships between these constructs and team performance are significantly stronger when the characteristics are possessed by core role holders (as opposed to non-core role holders). Further, teams that invest more of their financial resources in these core roles are able to leverage such investments into significantly improved performance. These results have implications for team composition models, as they suggest a new method for considering individual contributions to a team's success that shifts the focus onto core roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology


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