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Team Climate at Antarctic Research Stations 1996–2000: Leadership Matters

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Schmidt LL, Wood J, Lugg DJ. Team climate at Antarctic research stations 1996–2000: leadership matters. Aviat Space Environ Med 2004; 75:681–687.

Introduction: The popular assumption is that extreme environments induce a climate of hostility, incompatibility, and tension by intensifying differences and disagreements among team members. Team members’ perceptions of team climate are likely to change over time in an extreme environment, and thus team climate should be considered as a dynamic outcome variable resulting from multiple factors. In order to explore team climate as a dynamic outcome, we explored whether variables at multiple levels of analysis contributed to team climate over time for teams living and working in Antarctica. Method: Data for this study were collected from volunteers involved in Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions conducted from 1996 to 2000. Multilevel analysis was used to partition and estimate the variance in team climate and to explore factors explaining variance at the group/team, individual, and weekly levels. Results: Most of the variance in perceptions of team climate was at the individual level (57%). Team climate had less variance at the group level (16%) and at the weekly level (26%). Results indicated that perceived leadership effectiveness was significantly related to team climate. Perceived leadership effectiveness accounted for an estimated 77% of the group level variance, which equated to 14% of the overall variance in team climate. Discussion: Our results suggest that exploring the characteristics and behaviors that constitute effective leadership would contribute to a more complete and useful picture of team climate, as well as guide selection research.
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Keywords: Antarctic; demographic diversity; group cohesion; leadership effectiveness; social isolation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2004

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