How working with third-party clients impacts team dynamics and individual attitudes

Cassaundra Stockner shares her research into the moderating effect of third-party involvement on the relationships between team conflict, team satisfaction, and perceived stress.

| Author: Conner Leslie | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Cassaundra Stockner, a doctoral student of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, has been given an ORGS Endeavors Grant towards their dissertation “The moderating effect of third-party involvement on the relationships between team conflict, team satisfaction, and perceived stress.” This project, in collaboration with faculty advisor Matthew Prewett, Ph.D., viewed the impact that third-party clients may have on work team dynamics and individual attitudes.  

Third-party clients were defined by Stockner, in this study, as “individuals outside the work team who received the final product of the team project.”. 

Their research consisted of using a crowdsourcing platform called Prolific to gather data from full-time employees across various job industries, including Information Technology, Education, Finance, Construction, and Healthcare. Individuals were asked about their experiences working in a team as well as their perceptions of the third-party client. They have found that team conflict decreases overall team satisfaction and increases individuals’ levels of stress. However, if the client supports or provides resources to the team, these resources may buffer the negative effects of the team conflict.   

These resources provided by the third-party client could range from physical materials to reassurance and compliments on team members’ work. Stockner’s research shows that the more comfortable the team-members of a project are with the third-party client, the happier they will be to work with them and the better their overall well-being will be, which highlights the importance of a third-party client creating a good environment. 

Stockner hopes that with future endeavors and getting this information out there it will allow other individuals to begin their own studies on third-party involvement in a team-based work environment. Her new goals are to create a validated measure of what third-party involvement looks like, explore what other factors could have contributed to the results of this study, and gain an overall deeper understanding on what all of these results mean for application in the workplace.

This story is brought to you by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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