Team adaptability and task cohesion as resources to the non-linear dynamics of workload and sickness absenteeism in firefighter teams

Pedro Marques-Quinteiro*, Catarina Marques Dos Santos, Patrícia Costa, Ana Margarida Graça, João Marôco, Ramón Rico

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current study builds on the non-linear Dynamic Systems (NDS) perspective to test the assumption that change in sickness absenteeism is non-linear, and that such change is due to workload, team adaptability and task cohesion. Participants were 37 firefighter teams (n = 250 individuals) from a main European capital city. The research hypotheses were tested using SPSS and the “cusp” package, in the statistical software R. The results suggest that change in sickness absenteeism behaviours over time is non-linear, with the cusp catastrophe model predicting such behaviours better than the linear and logistic models. In our model, task cohesion functions as an asymmetry factor (i.e., the independent variable that determines the strength and discrepancy between the two stable states of the dependent variable) leading to a linear change in sickness absenteeism. Interestingly, both workload and team adaptability function as bifurcation (i.e., the independent variable that determines the change between the two stable states of the order parameter) and asymmetry factors leading to non-linear and linear change in sickness absenteeism over time. This study contributes to the growing evidence that incorporating the NDS perspective enables a better understanding of action teams, namely those working in extreme environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-540
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Non-linear dynamic systems
  • Sickness absenteeism
  • Task cohesion
  • Team adaptability

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