perspective, concluding that functional diversity is positively related to team performance (Bell, Villado, Lukasik,
Belau, & Briggs, 2011).
Despite the positive effects that functional diversity can
have on team performance, the WHG soon discovered why
functional diversity can be a double-edged sword (
Bunderson & Sutcliffe, 2002). Challenges include differences in
perspective because of diverse backgrounds in training and
methodology (National Research Council [NRC], 2015;
Slatin, Galizzi, Melillo, & Mawn, 2004), knowledge integration (Mesmer-Magnus & DeChurch, 2009; NRC, 2015),
social integration (Harrison, Price, Gavin, & Florey, 2002),
high task interdependence (Mannix & Neale, 2005; NRC,
2015), role conflict (Johnson, Nguyen, Groth, & White,
2018), task conflict (Jehn, Northcraft, & Neale, 1999), and
relationship conflict (Mohammed & Angell, 2004). These
challenges pushed the WHG into the next stage of small-group development: storming.
Storming the WHG
The storming stage entails team members’ learning each
other’s strengths and weaknesses. As such, interactions in
this stage are commonly fraught with conflict due to personality and other individual differences, differences in how
individuals approach tasks, negotiating what tasks are completed by whom, and power differences.
For the WHG, the most contentious interactions occurred
around topics of what constituted sound scientific practices
according to the members’ individual training and experi-
ence. Although the second and third authors completed PhD
degrees emphasizing social psychology, they were quite
dissimilar with respect to their approaches to data analysis.
The second author’s research focus on business management was aligned with the industrial;organizational (I-O)
psychology tradition of proposing a set of conceptually
driven hypotheses and undertaking analyses to test only
those hypotheses ( i.e., a priori analyses). The third author’s
research focused largely on factors in the workplace that
either improved or impeded workplace safety. As such, his
approach to data analysis was discovery. The fourth author,
on the other hand, was much more qualitatively trained.
Needless to say, there were many instances when these
viewpoints clashed during meetings or when the analyses
requested appeared unreasonable to one or more members.
This has been shown to be a common obstacle for multidisciplinary teams (NRC, 2015).
In addition to this primary difference, there were also
differences in work styles, approaches to conducting meetings, and approaches to undertaking the tasks. Reflecting on
these early stages of the group, there were several attitudes
and processes that exacerbated rather than ameliorated the
severity of the storming stage. One challenging attitude
during this stage was rigidity in the members’ functional
perspectives. For example, the second author recalls that in
the early years, he thought nothing of conducting analyses,
drawing conclusions from them on his own, and then telling
the other members about the outcomes.
The same was true of the other primary members when
presenting through their specialized functional lenses.
Moreover, there were team processes during this stage that
detracted from team effectiveness and the transition into the
next stage of group development. Examples of these ineffective processes include irrelevant tangents during meetings, disrespecting boundaries by going around members
rather than through them, and bringing on noncore members
who were necessary for the task but did not share the team’s
mission and values. That final ineffective process taught the
WHG the importance of team member selection on multidisciplinary teams (NRC, 2015). However, membership on
academic, multidisciplinary teams is typically voluntary, so
frustrated or dissatisfied members often simply withdraw
from the team. This begs the question: What kept the WHG
The fact that the group was funded to conduct the research and had externally assigned deadlines provided a
practical reason to move through the storming stage. Even if
there was disagreement on a decision, the group made a
commitment to follow through with the funded project.
Although practical, the “funding” strategy on its own would
not work for 20 years of multidisciplinary research. In
addition to this motivation, there were several aspects of
team composition, structure, and processes that helped the
WHG get through the storming stage.
Regarding the WHG team composition, deep-level composition variables consisting of psychological characteris-
382 HAYNES ET AL.