Exceeding the ordinary: a framework for examining teams across the extremeness continuum and its impact on future research

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Work teams increasingly face unprecedented challenges in volatile, uncertain, complex, and often ambiguous environments. In response, team researchers have begun to focus more on teams whose work revolves around mitigating risks in these dynamic environments. Some highly insightful contributions to team research and organizational studies have originated from investigating teams that face unconventional or extreme events. Despite this increased attention to extreme teams, however, a comprehensive theoretical framework is missing. We introduce such a framework that envisions team extremeness as a continuous, multidimensional variable consisting of environmental extremeness (i.e., external team context) and task extremeness (i.e., internal team context). The proposed framework allows every team to be placed on the team extremeness continuum, bridging the gap between literature on extreme and more traditional teams. Furthermore, we present six propositions addressing how team extremeness may interact with team processes, emergent states, and outcomes using core variables for team effectiveness and the well-established input–mediator–output–input model to structure our theorizing. Finally, we outline some potential directions for future research by elaborating on temporal considerations (i.e., patterns and trajectories), measurement approaches, and consideration of multilevel relationships involving team extremeness. We hope that our theoretical framework and theorizing can create a path forward, stimulating future research within the organizational team literature to further examine the impact of team extremeness on team dynamics and effectiveness.
Emergent states, Extreme context, Extreme events, Extreme teams, Ice contexts, Team performance, Team processes
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Schmutz, J. B., Bienefeld, N., Maynard, M. T., & Rico, R. (2023). Exceeding the Ordinary: A Framework for Examining Teams Across the Extremeness Continuum and Its Impact on Future Research. En Group & Organization Management, 48 (2), pp. 581-628.