College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Suzanne Bell, PhD

Second Advisor

Alice Stuhlmacher, PhD

Third Advisor

Megan Greeson, PhD


Organizations utilize teams to effectively reach desired goals and performance. An approach to understanding organizational team effectiveness has been through research on team member roles, which refer to the consistent pattern of behavior characteristic of a person in their typical team setting. Research on team member roles has focused on the ability of team members to shift their roles in response to external catalysts (e.g., adapting to a new reward structure); however, research has yet to address internal catalysts to team role shifting (e.g., shifting to reduce role dissatisfaction). The inclusion of research on internal catalysts to team role shifting could be important to team-based organizations, such that potential drivers internal to a team, like member satisfaction, have been related to key organizational factors like counterproductive employee behavior and turnover. Therefore, this dissertation explores the process of role shifting in organizational teams, as well as the potential facilitators and barriers team members have experienced in carrying out a role shift in their team. This current investigation answered five research questions on this topic first by engaging in theory construction using a grounded theory approach. This grounded theory of team role shifting highlights the process individuals take to enact a role shift in their team, as well as the facilitators of and barriers to team role shifting that individuals consider and experience during the process. Next, to make this theory practical in use to organizational teams, a scale measure was developed based on the four types of facilitators and barriers that emerged from grounded theory. Initial results suggest support for a four factor structure based on the four types of facilitators and barriers, as well as supportive reliability and validity evidence. While additional research is needed, the team role shifting measure (TRSM) demonstrates value to organizations by illuminating features of their teams that could potentially impact employee-level and organizational-level outcomes.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons