Predicting Group Performance Using Cohesion and Social Network Density: A Comparative Analysis
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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Group performance has been an important topic as evidenced by an extensive amount of literature that supports a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance. Social network researchers also have found a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance using social network density as a proxy for cohesion. The traditional cohesion construct is measured using an attitudinal instrument that relies on member perceptions aggregated at the group level. The social network density construct, on the other hand, is based on social network relations. These relations are based on behaviors and actual member interactions and relationships. Although both cohesion measures have been shown to predict group performance, it is important for leaders to understand the subtle differences between them so that they can better understand how to influence them. A study of 672 students in 48 groups provided empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between task cohesion and group performance, while a negative relationship was found for social cohesion and friendship network density relating to performance. Results also indicate a significant relationship between group cohesion and social network density, suggesting that social network density could be used as a proxy for group cohesion.