J Appl Psychol 2012 Jul 2;97(4):825-41. Epub 2012 Apr 2.
Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614, USA.
Team mental models (TMMs) have received much attention as important drivers of effective team processes and performance. Less is known about the factors that give rise to these shared cognitive structures. We examined potential antecedents of TMMs, with a specific focus on team composition variables, including various facets of personality and surface-level diversity. Further, we examined implicit coordination as an important outcome of TMMs. Results suggest that team composition in terms of the cooperation facet of agreeableness and racial diversity were significantly related to team-focused TMM similarity. TMM similarity was also positively predictive of implicit coordination, which mediated the relationship between TMM similarity and team performance. Post hoc analyses revealed a significant interaction between the trust facet of agreeableness and racial diversity in predicting TMM similarity. Results are discussed in terms of facilitating the emergence of TMMs and corresponding implications for team-related human resource practices.