The Relative Influence of Drivers and Empaths on Team Synchronization

Abstract

To further the understanding of how to build or reduce synchrony in a work team, we examined two principles for defining the optimal condition to produce or limit synchrony: the empath-driver ratio, and the balance between autocorrelated autonomic arousal and the degree of influence that transfers from each group member to other group members. In study 1, we employed a series of computational simulations designed to manipulate the four variables. The results indicated that there is a four-way balance between driver strength, empath strength, autocorrelational and transfer effects among team members. The relationship between the synchronization coefficient and the empath-driver ratio was moderated by whether the group adopted a network structure for group problem solving or command-and-control. In study 2 we analyzed autonomic arousal in four teams of five participants playing a first-person shooter computer game. The correlation between the synchronization coefficient and the empath-driver ratio was 0.280 based on 64 pairs of observations. The relationship was moderated by both the network structure and the statistical model that one adopted to analyze dyadic relationships within the group. The implications of these relationships for a growing theory of team synchrony are discussed.

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Anthony F. Peressini
Marquette University

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