The Role of Member Proactive Personality in Mitigating Threat During Team Learning

Published In

Group Dynamics-Theory Research and Practice

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective: What enables teams to reduce negative effects of threat on team learning and performance? Building from the conservation of resources theory, this research proposes that teams composed of members with higher average levels of proactive personality experience higher levels of team learning and subsequent performance when confronting threat. Method: Hypotheses were tested in a 2 × 2 (average team proactive personality high/low; threat high/low) between-subjects experimental design with 94 5-person teams performing a simulated task. Results: Primary results indicate that the indirect effect of threat on total team performance (via team learning) was significantly negative for teams with low proactive personality (B = −0.59, SE = 0.26, p < .05) but not for teams with high proactive personality (B = 0.09, SE = 0.10, p > .05). Bias-corrected 95% confidence intervals for these estimates are as follows: (−0.71, −0.08) for teams with low proactive personality; (−0.08, 0.37) for teams with high proactive personality. Conclusion: These findings provide insight into how team composition impacts behavioral processes and associated outcomes when teams face threats, lending insight to conservation of resources theory and the literature on how and why proactive behavior is beneficial in such settings. Managers should consider team staffing with respect to proactive personality in threatening contexts. Future work should examine additional team compositional patterns and examine whether results hold in the presence of different types of threat.


(c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved