Jeffrey T. Polzer

UPS Foundation Professor of Human Resource Management

Jeff Polzer is the UPS Foundation Professor of Human Resource Management in the Organizational Behavior Unit at Harvard Business School. His research aims to understand the causes of team performance. He has taught a variety of courses in the MBA, Executive, and Doctoral Programs at HBS. He has also conducted executive training sessions for a variety of organizations including IBM, Novartis, Seagate, Jabil, Merrill Lynch, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citizens Bank, Young President's Organization, and Ernst & Young.

Professor Polzer has published his research in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Psychological Science, and Small Group Research. He also serves on the editorial board of ASQ.

Professor Polzer teaches the required MBA course Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD) and is the faculty chair of the Organizational Behavior PhD program. He previously taught Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Leading Teams, and the doctoral course Human Behavior. Before coming to Harvard, he taught courses in Organizational Behavior and Negotiations at the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University, where he won the Kellogg Graduate School of Management's Doctoral Teaching Award. More recently, HBS awarded Professor Polzer the Robert F. Greenhill Award for outstanding service as well as the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching.

A native of Wisconsin, Professor Polzer earned a B.S. in Finance and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and an MBA from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, where he worked for Burlington Northern Railroad as a marketing analyst. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He then taught and conducted research as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and was a Visiting Scholar in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard University.

Books

Journal Articles

  1. Not Just for Stereotyping Anymore: Racial Essentialism Reduces Domain-General Creativity

    Individuals who believe that racial groups have fixed underlying essences use stereotypes more than do individuals who believe that racial categories are arbitrary and malleable social-political constructions. Would this essentialist mind-set also lead to less creativity? We suggest that the functional utility derived from essentialism induces a habitual closed-mindedness that transcends the social domain and hampers creativity. Across studies, using both individual difference measures (in a pilot test) and experimental manipulations (Experiments 1, 2a, and 2b), we found that an essentialist mind-set is indeed hazardous for creativity, with the relationship mediated by motivated closed-mindedness (Experiments 2a and 2b). These results held across samples of majority cultural-group members (Caucasian Americans, Israelis) and minority-group members (Asian Americans), as well as across different measures of creativity (flexibility, association, insight). Our findings have important implications for understanding the connection between racial intolerance and creativity.

    Keywords: Prejudice and Bias; Creativity; Race Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Tadmor, Carmit, Melody Chao, Ying-yi Hong, and Jeff Polzer. "Not Just for Stereotyping Anymore: Racial Essentialism Reduces Domain-General Creativity." Psychological Science 24, no. 1 (January 2013). View Details
  2. Friends in High Places: Structural Discrimination in Salary Negotiations

    Keywords: Negotiation;

    Citation:

    Seidel, M. D., J. Polzer, and K. Stewart. "Friends in High Places: Structural Discrimination in Salary Negotiations." Administrative Science Quarterly 45 (2000): 1–24. (Reprinted in Social Capital in Business, edited by K.W. Koput and J.P. Broschak, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010.) View Details
  3. Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams

    Although recent research has consistently demonstrated the benefits of multicultural experience for individual-level creativity, its potential advantages for collective creativity in culturally diverse teams have yet to be explored. We predicted that multicultural experience among members of a collective would enhance joint creativity in a superadditive fashion. Using a two-step methodology that included both individual and dyadic brainstorming sessions, we found that even after controlling for individual creativity, multicultural experience had a superadditive effect on dyadic creativity. Specifically, dyads performed best on a creative task in terms of fluency, flexibility, and novelty—three classic dimensions of creativity—when both dyad partners had high levels of multicultural experience. These results show that when it comes to multicultural experience, the creative whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Implications for diversity research are discussed.

    Keywords: Creativity; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Tadmor, Carmit, Patricia Satterstrom, Sujin Jang, and Jeffrey Polzer. "Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams." Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 43, no. 3 (April 2012): 384–392. View Details
  4. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth: How High Status Individuals Decrease Group Effectiveness.

    Can groups become effective simply by assembling high status individual performers? Though an affirmative answer may seem straightforward on the surface, this answer becomes more complicated when group members benefit from collaborating on interdependent tasks. Examining Wall Street sell-side equities research analysts who work in an industry in which individuals strive for status, we find that groups benefited-up to a point-from having high status members, controlling for individual performance. With higher proportions of individual stars, however, the marginal benefit decreased before the slope of this curvilinear pattern became negative. This curvilinear pattern was especially strong when stars were concentrated in a small number of sectors, likely reflecting suboptimal integration among analysts with similar areas of expertise. Control variables ensured that these effects were not the spurious result of individual performance, department size or specialization, or firm prestige. We discuss the theoretical implications of these results for the literatures on status and groups, along with practical implications for strategic human resource management.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Equity; Theory; Human Resources; Integration; Body of Literature; Performance Effectiveness; Status and Position; Experience and Expertise;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, Jeffrey T. Polzer, and Hillary Anger Elfenbein. "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth: How High Status Individuals Decrease Group Effectiveness." Organization Science 22, no. 3 (May–June 2011): 722–737. View Details
  5. Making Diverse Teams Click

    High interpersonal congruence-meaning alignment between team members' self-assessments and their appraisals of one another-improves the performance of diverse teams. And 360-degree feedback can help.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Alignment; Performance Evaluation; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T. "Making Diverse Teams Click." HBS Centennial Issue. Harvard Business Review 86, nos. 7/8 (July–August 2008): 20–21. View Details
  6. Extending the Faultline Concept to Geographically Dispersed Teams: How Colocated Subgroups Can Impair Group Functioning

    We theorize that in geographically dispersed teams, members' geographic locations are likely to activate "faultlines" (hypothetical dividing lines that split a group into subgroups) that impair team functioning. In a study of 45 teams comprised of graduate students from 14 schools in ten countries, we found that geographic faultlines heightened conflict and reduced trust. These faultlines were stronger when a team was divided into two equally sized subgroups of colocated members and when these subgroups were homogeneous in nationality.

    Keywords: Geographic Location; Nationality Characteristics; Groups and Teams; Trust; Conflict and Resolution;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., Brad Crisp, Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa, and Jerry W. Kim. "Extending the Faultline Concept to Geographically Dispersed Teams: How Colocated Subgroups Can Impair Group Functioning." Academy of Management Journal 49, no. 4 (August 2006). (This article was subject of a Recent Research of Note in the Organization Management Journal, Vol. 3, no. 3 (2006): 157-159.) View Details
  7. Group Learning: A Multi-Level Model Integrating Interpersonal Congruence, Transactive Memory and Feedback Processes

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Learning; Integration; Relationships; Agreements and Arrangements;

    Citation:

    London, Manuel, Jeffrey T. Polzer, and Heather Omoregie. "Group Learning: A Multi-Level Model Integrating Interpersonal Congruence, Transactive Memory and Feedback Processes." Human Resource Development Review 4, no. 2 (2005): 114–136. View Details
  8. Finding Value in Diversity: Verification of Personal and Social Self-Views in Diverse Groups

    Keywords: Value; Groups and Teams; Identity; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Swann, W. B., Jr., J. Polzer, D. C. Seyle, and S. J. Ko. "Finding Value in Diversity: Verification of Personal and Social Self-Views in Diverse Groups." Academy of Management Review 29, no. 1 (January 2004): 9–27. View Details
  9. Fostering Group Identification and Creativity in Diverse Groups: The Role of Individuation and Self-verification.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Creativity; Identity;

    Citation:

    Swann, William B., Jr., Virginia S. Y. Kwan, Jeffrey T. Polzer, and Laurie P. Milton. "Fostering Group Identification and Creativity in Diverse Groups: The Role of Individuation and Self-verification." Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 29, no. 11 (November 2003): 1396–1406. View Details
  10. Waning of Stereotypic Perceptions in Small Groups: Identity Negotiation and Erosion of Gender Expectations of Women.

    Keywords: Perception; Groups and Teams; Identity; Negotiation;

    Citation:

    Swann, William B., Jr., Virginia S.Y. Kwan, Jeffrey T. Polzer, and Laurie P. Milton. "Waning of Stereotypic Perceptions in Small Groups: Identity Negotiation and Erosion of Gender Expectations of Women." Social Cognition 21, no. 3 (June 2003): 194–212. View Details
  11. Capitalizing on Diversity: Interpersonal Congruence in Small Work Groups

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Polzer, J., L. P. Milton, and W. B. Swann Jr. "Capitalizing on Diversity: Interpersonal Congruence in Small Work Groups." Administrative Science Quarterly 47, no. 2 (June 2002): 296–324. (

    Winner of Academy of Management. Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior Award presented by Academy of Management​

    .) View Details
  12. Book Review of Identity in Organizations: Building Theory Through Conversations edited by David A. Whetten and Paul C. Godfrey

    Keywords: Identity; Organizations; Theory; Communication;

  13. Should We Create a Niche or Fall in Line? Identity Negotiation and Small Group Effectiveness

    Keywords: Identity; Negotiation; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Swann, W., L. Milton, and J. Polzer. "Should We Create a Niche or Fall in Line? Identity Negotiation and Small Group Effectiveness." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79, no. 2 (August 2000): 238–250. View Details
  14. A Social Categorization Explanation for Framing Effects in Nested Social Dilemmas

    Keywords: Problems and Challenges;

    Citation:

    Polzer, J., K. Stewart, and J. Simmons. "A Social Categorization Explanation for Framing Effects in Nested Social Dilemmas." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 79, no. 2 (August 1999): 154–178. View Details
  15. Being Different Yet Feeling Similar: The Influence of Demographic Composition and Organizational Culture on Work Processes and Outcomes

    Keywords: Demographics; Organizational Culture; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Chatman, J., J. Polzer, S. Barsade, and M. Neale. "Being Different Yet Feeling Similar: The Influence of Demographic Composition and Organizational Culture on Work Processes and Outcomes." Administrative Science Quarterly 43, no. 4 (December 1998): 749–780. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Reframing Hierarchical Interactions as Negotiations to Promote Change in Health Care Systems

    Citation:

    Satterstrom, Patricia, Jeff Polzer, and Robert Wei. "Reframing Hierarchical Interactions as Negotiations to Promote Change in Health Care Systems." In Handbook of Conflict Management Research, edited by Neal M. Ashkansy, Oluremi B. Ayoko, and Karen Jehn. Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming. View Details
  2. When Identities, Interests, and Information Collide: How Subgroups Create Hidden Profiles in Teams

    Purpose—We review how team members' identities and interests affect team functioning, paying special attention to subgroup dynamics triggered by fault lines and coalitions. This review sets the stage for describing novel pathways through which identities and interests, when considered together, can affect team processes and outcomes.

    Design/approach—We use an extended example of a hypothetical team's decision-making process to illustrate how team members' identities and interests intertwine to affect the distribution and flow of information, subgroup dynamics, and team decisions.

    Findings—We develop three specific ideas to demonstrate the utility of this integrative approach. First, we show how the formation of identity-based subgroups can shape information sharing to create a hidden profile where there was none initially. Second, we describe how individual defection can weaken subgroup competition and, paradoxically, increase the chance that a team will optimize its collective welfare. Third, we analyze how shared identities can shape team members' side conversations in ways that create shared interests and information among those with similar identities, even before the team begins its formal meetings.

    Originality/value—By identifying new routes through which identities and interests can affect team functioning, we provide a foundation for scholars in this domain to theoretically develop and empirically test these and related ideas. More generally, we encourage scholars to study the interplay among identities, interests, and information in their own research to paint a more complete picture of how individuals, subgroups, and teams perform.

    Keywords: Information; Conflict of Interests; Interests; Groups and Teams; Identity; Performance;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeff, and Lisa Kwan. "When Identities, Interests, and Information Collide: How Subgroups Create Hidden Profiles in Teams." In Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Review of Group and Team-Based Research. v.15, edited by Margaret Neale and Elizabeth Mannix, 359–381. Research on Managing Groups and Teams. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2012. View Details
  3. Changing Identity, Changing Language

    Environmental jolts and shifting membership challenge a group's efficacy and survival. Group identity is critical for a shared interpretation of and response to these challenges, but external and internal changes may require corresponding changes in a group's core identity. In a qualitative study of longshoremen in San Pedro, California, we observe an evolution in group identity as we track communication spoken and printed in the hiring halls, on the docks, and during casual social interactions. The emphasis in the shared language gradually shifts from safety and solidarity to safety, collaboration, and economic power. The newly developed language supports and shapes the longshoremen's identity and provides an interpretive guide for how to react to and benefit from disruptive external events.

    Keywords: Change; Spoken Communication; Performance Efficiency; Problems and Challenges; Safety; Identity; California;

    Citation:

    McGinn, Kathleen L., and Jeffrey T. Polzer. "Changing Identity, Changing Language." In Advances in Group Processes. Vol. 28, edited by Shane R. Thye and Edward Lawler, 125–145. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2011. View Details
  4. Identity Negotiation Processes Amidst Diversity: Understanding the Influence of Social Identity and Status Differences

    We integrate an identity negotiation framework with research on diversity, social identity theory, and status differences. This integration reveals the distinct advantages and challenges that high and low status people face when they engage in identity negotiation processes. In particular, our analysis systematically disentangles the obstacles that members of low status social groups must overcome to elicit verification of their positive self-views. People in this situation are not only working against a stereotype from a position of low influence, but are also threatening the relative standing of those whose appraisals they are attempting to change. By considering status differences, we are able to identify certain conditions under which verification effects should have especially potent effects, and other conditions under which appraisal effects may be of greater benefit than verification effects to the performance of diverse groups.

    Keywords: Status and Position; Prejudice and Bias; Groups and Teams; Organizational Culture; Identity; Diversity Characteristics; Power and Influence;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Heather M. Caruso. "Identity Negotiation Processes Amidst Diversity: Understanding the Influence of Social Identity and Status Differences." In Diversity at Work, edited by Arthur P. Brief. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2008. View Details
  5. Team Emotion Recognition Accuracy and Team Performance

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Emotions; Perception; Performance;

    Citation:

    Elfenbein, H. A., J. T. Polzer, and N. Ambady. "Team Emotion Recognition Accuracy and Team Performance." Chap. 4 in Research on Emotions in Organizations. Vol. 3, edited by N. M. Ashkanasy, W. J. Zerbe, and C. E.J. Härtel, 87–119. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007. View Details
  6. The Benefits of Verifying Diverse Identities for Group Performance

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Identity; Performance Evaluation; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Polzer, J., W. Swann, and L. Milton. "The Benefits of Verifying Diverse Identities for Group Performance." In Research on Managing Groups and Teams: Identity Issues in Groups. Vol. 5, edited by M. Neale, E. Mannix, and J. Polzer. Stamford, CT: JAI Press, 2003. View Details
  7. Diversity, Social Indentity, and Performance: Emergent Social Dynamics in Cross-functional Teams

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Identity; Performance; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Northcraft, G., J. Polzer, M. Neale, and R. Kramer. "Diversity, Social Indentity, and Performance: Emergent Social Dynamics in Cross-functional Teams." In Diversity in Work Teams: Research Paradigms for a Changing Workplace, edited by Susan E. Jackson and Marian N. Ruderman. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1995. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Teaming at GE Aviation

    Describes the challenges and successes encountered by GE's Aviation business in implementing a teaming work structure and culture in plants across its supply chain. GE Aviation leadership had seen dramatic gains in productivity, quality, and worker satisfaction in manufacturing plants where it had implemented teaming, which was designed to move decision making as close to the product as possible by delegating authority, responsibility, and accountability to front-line workers. The case describes what teaming looked like in two of GE Aviation's plants and discusses the benefits realized in teaming sites. It also describes the challenges GE Aviation leaders had encountered in implementing teaming in the face of an entrenched work structure and culture in one particular plant and discusses the difficulty management had faced in moving forward in transforming the culture of the plant.

    Keywords: organizational behavior; aviation and aerospace; capacity management; competitiveness; corporate culture; corporate structure; Labor unions; Labor relations; manufacturing; organizational culture; organizational structure; Production Planning; General Electric; teaming; managing change; Transformation; Labor Unions; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Organizational Structure; Performance Productivity; Leading Change; Management Style; Job Design and Levels; Aerospace Industry; Manufacturing Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Khurana, Rakesh, Jeffrey Polzer, Willy Shih, and Eric Baldwin. "Teaming at GE Aviation." Harvard Business School Case 413-074, November 2012. View Details
  2. Bridgewater Associates

    Bridgewater Associates was the world's largest hedge fund with approximately $120 billion in assets under management in mid-2012, and its leaders attribute its record-beating performance to the firm's culture of "radical transparency." The founder, Ray Dalio, was instrumental in developing this unique culture, but at the time of the case he was transitioning out of the firm's leadership and attempting to institutionalize the culture. For example, Dalio codified his personal and management principles in a 123-page document that was not only mandatory reading for all employees, but also formed the basis for nightly "homework" assignments that quizzed people on their understanding of the principles. The case offers the opportunity to explore the unusual practices that underpin Bridgewater's culture (e.g., videotaping meetings, publicizing every employee's performance review, interrupting investment meetings to provide personal feedback to individuals in front of dozens of colleagues). Class discussion prompts students to critically examine whether, how and to what extent the practices foster high performance and to debate their associated tradeoffs.

    Keywords: Management Style; Motivation and Incentives; Management Practices and Processes; Organizational Culture; Performance; Leadership Style; Investment; Financial Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Heidi K. Gardner. "Bridgewater Associates." Harvard Business School Video Case 413-702, May 2013. View Details
  3. Leading Teams Note

    This note, which describes the architecture and processes that characterize effective teams, begins by detailing the steps involved in designing a team, from diagnosing the complexity, interdependence, and objectives of the task to harnessing the key resources teams need from their environment. It describes the qualities to search for when selecting team members, including finding the right number of people, individual skills along both technical and interpersonal dimensions, and a mix of skills appropriate for the task. Once the team is designed, team leaders and members need to shape and monitor team processes, starting with the team launch. Describes how to diagnose emergent team processes such as information exchange, collaboration, decision making, impression formation, and underlying identity dynamics. Includes steps managers can take to improve dysfunctional team processes such as restructuring and shaping the social forces within the team. Ends with a discussion of bridging differences in teams across both geographic and cultural divides.

    Keywords: Interpersonal Communication; Experience and Expertise; Decision Choices and Conditions; Knowledge Sharing; Leadership; Business Processes; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T. "Leading Teams Note." Harvard Business School Module Note 410-051, September 2009. View Details
  4. Team Processes: Instructor's Overview

    Describes the cases and exercises that comprise the Team Processes module of the Leading Teams course. Also describes the sequence in which the materials are used, along with the connections and transitions among the materials.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Curriculum and Courses; Management Practices and Processes;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T. "Team Processes: Instructor's Overview." Harvard Business School Module Note 405-008, April 2005. View Details
  5. Flextronics: Deciding on a Shop-Floor System for Producing the Microsoft Xbox (TN)

    Teaching Note to (9-403-090).

    Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Video Game Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Spain;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., Hillary Anger Elfenbein, and Jenny Illes. "Flextronics: Deciding on a Shop-Floor System for Producing the Microsoft Xbox (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 405-007, August 2004. (Revised March 2005.) View Details
  6. Flextronics: Deciding on a Shop Floor System for Producing the Microsoft Xbox

    Jim McCusker must guide a group decision-making process aimed at getting input and buy-in from key people in California, Mexico, and Austria to choose a shop floor IT system for Flextronics. McCusker is Flextronics' account manager for the Microsoft Xbox project. Geographical distance and time pressure make it difficult for all the relevant parties to assemble in person in one location. In a company culture that values fast, decisive action, McCusker wonders whether he has the authority to make the decision himself and, if not, how he should involve the other parties who are keenly interested in the outcome.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Decision Making; Power and Influence; Geographic Location; Problems and Challenges; Leadership; California; Mexico; Austria;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld. "Flextronics: Deciding on a Shop Floor System for Producing the Microsoft Xbox." Harvard Business School Case 403-090, February 2003. (Revised August 2004.) View Details
  7. National Semiconductor's India Design Center

    The senior managers of the India Design Center used 360-degree feedback to develop their team competencies. Now, three new managers are about to join their management team, and Ashok Kumar, director of the center, must decide how to integrate the new managers in a way that maintains the team's newfound trust and camaraderie. Describes the managers' work activities, including engineering, human resources, and finance responsibilities, to allow a diagnosis of how the managers can benefit from working together as a team. Also notes the challenges these managers face as they work with their bosses and counterparts at the company's headquarters in California, which is 13.5 time zones away. The team is one that could presumably benefit from better cross-functional coordination and communication regarding their collective relationship with the company's headquarters in California.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Information Technology Industry; India;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Elizabeth Kind. "National Semiconductor's India Design Center." Harvard Business School Case 404-102, February 2004. (Revised August 2004.) View Details
  8. Chapter Enrichment Program Teams at the American Red Cross (A)

    The American Red Cross has a system for structuring, staffing, and leading teams to review its local chapters. Mirroring professional services firms that use teams to serve clients, this system provides detailed guidelines to increase individual team member's efficiency and thoroughness. The protagonist at Red Cross headquarters who designed the system, however, is concerned that the structure she has provided is detracting from the teams' overall creativity and integration. Highlights the trade-offs of providing teams with too little structure (e.g., inefficiency, variable quality of team's work products) vs. too much structure (e.g., team members have little opportunity to utilize their expertise and creativity).

    Keywords: Planning; Groups and Teams; Management Teams; Leadership; Organizational Structure;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Anita Williams Woolley. "Chapter Enrichment Program Teams at the American Red Cross (A)." Harvard Business School Case 402-042, January 2002. (Revised April 2004.) View Details
  9. Army Crew Team, The

    The coach of the varsity Army crew team at West Point assembled his top eight rowers into the first crew team and the second tier of rowers into the second team using objective data on individual performance. As the second boat continually beat the first boat in races, the coach attempted to discern the team dynamics causing these aberrant results. By using very clean, objective performance data, the case makes clear that a team can be more (or less) than the sum of its individual parts, but allows students to analyze the factors that make this true.

    Keywords: Groups and Teams; Performance; New York (state, US);

    Citation:

    Snook, Scott A., and Jeffrey T. Polzer. "Army Crew Team, The." Harvard Business School Case 403-131, January 2003. (Revised March 2004.) View Details
  10. Henry Tam and the MGI Team

    Within a short time frame, seven diverse team members assemble to write a business plan for a new company and struggle to define their roles, make decisions together, and resolve conflict. Henry Tam, a second-year Harvard MBA student, who joins an aspiring start-up company and a fellow classmate to enter the school's business plan contest. The founders of the company are two internationally accomplished musicians and a 1987 Harvard MBA, all Russian, who are trying to create, produce, and sell a unique computer-based music game. Conflict builds as the team generates a range of ideas about how to market their product, but has trouble agreeing on which ideas to pursue. Henry Tam wrestles with how to fix the problems that have hindered the team's progress.

    Keywords: Interpersonal Communication; Business Plan; Groups and Teams; Decision Making; Jobs and Positions; Leadership Style; Human Resources; Management Teams; Conflict and Resolution; Diversity Characteristics;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., Ingrid Vargas, and Hillary Anger Elfenbein. "Henry Tam and the MGI Team." Harvard Business School Case 404-068, October 2003. View Details
  11. Leading Teams

    This note which describes the architecture and processes that characterize effective teams, begins by detailing the steps involved in designing a team, from diagnosing the complexity, interdependence, and objectives of the task to harnessing the key resources teams need from their environment. It describes the qualities to search for when selecting team members, including finding the right number of people, individual skills along both technical and interpersonal dimensions, and a mix of skills appropriate for the task. Once the team is designed, team leaders and members need to shape and monitor team processes, starting with the team launch. Describes how to diagnose emergent team processes such as information exchange, collaboration, decision making, impression formation, and underlying identity dynamics. Includes steps managers can take to improve dysfunctional team processes such as restructuring and shaping the social forces within the team. Ends with a discussion of bridging differences in teams across both geographic and cultural divides.

    Keywords: Communication; Decision Making; Leadership; Managerial Roles; Performance Effectiveness; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T. "Leading Teams." Harvard Business School Background Note 403-094, February 2003. View Details
  12. Identity Issues in Teams

    This note explains how identity dynamics underlie many of the observable interpersonal problems that team members encounter, ranging from lack of participation and low involvement to misunderstandings and dysfunctional emotional conflict. It provides a framework for understanding how to recognize and manage identity issues in teams, including sections on communicating identities, forming impressions, and the consequences of the resulting level of congruence between people's identities and others' impressions of them. Outlines action steps managers can take to increase the level of interpersonal congruence in their teams, which should, in turn, make their teams more effective.

    Keywords: Framework; Managerial Roles; Outcome or Result; Performance Effectiveness; Groups and Teams; Conflict and Resolution; Emotions; Identity;

    Citation:

    Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Hillary Anger Elfenbein. "Identity Issues in Teams." Harvard Business School Background Note 403-095, February 2003. View Details

Presentations

  1. Perceiving Collaborative Potential

    Citation:

    Satterstrom, Patricia, Lisa Kwan, Wannawiruch Wiruchnipawan, and Jeff Polzer. "Perceiving Collaborative Potential." Paper presented at the International Association for Conflict Management Annual Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2011. View Details

Other Publications and Materials