Understanding positivity within dynamic team interactions: A statistical discourse analysis


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Positivity has been heralded for its individual benefits. However, how positivity dynamically unfolds within the temporal flow of team interactions remains unclear. This is an important oversight, as positivity can be key to team problem solving and performance. In this study, we examine how team micro-processes affect the likelihood of positivity occurring within dynamic team interactions. In doing so, we build on and expand previous work on individual positivity and integrate theory on temporal team processes, interaction rituals, and team problem solving. We analyze 43,139 utterances during the meetings of 43 problem-solving teams in two organizations. First, we find that the observed overall frequency of positivity behavior in a team is positively related to managerial ratings of team performance. Second, using statistical discourse analysis, we show that solution-focused behavior and previous positivity within the team interaction process increase the likelihood of subsequent positivity expressions, whereas positivity is less likely after problem-focused behavior. Dynamic speaker switches moderate these effects, such that interaction instances involving more speakers increase the facilitating effects of solutions and earlier positivity for subsequent positivity within team interactions. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of micro-level team positivity and its performance benefits. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-78
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., Chiu, M. M., Lei, Z., & Kauffeld, S. (2017). Understanding positivity within dynamic team interactions: A statistical discourse analysis. Group & Organization Management, 42(1), 39-78.


  • Dynamic positivity
  • Team processes
  • Team interaction
  • Team problem solving
  • Dynamic multilevel modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding positivity within dynamic team interactions: A statistical discourse analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.