Time’s Up: the Effects of Time Urgency on Dyadic Perfromance
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KEMPF, E. J. (2003). Time’s Up: the Effects of Time Urgency on Dyadic Perfromance. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 6. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 15, 2018
EMILY J. KEMPF
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Time urgency is the manner in which people keep track of and utilize time in applied settings. Previous research has found differences in abilities to meet deadlines but had failed to analyze the quality of the work produced. The purpose of this study is to determine if differences in dyadic composition (time-urgent vs. non-time-urgent dyads) correspond to the dyad’s ability to meet a deadline (deadline hypotheses), and to produce high quality work in the effort to meet the deadline (quality hypotheses). Participants were placed in homogenous dyads and asked to complete a simple but tedious task while pressed with a strenuous deadline. The tasks were then scored by assessing the number of terms defined, if the direction were followed (verbatim definitions or paraphrased), and the number of mistakes made within those definitions. When analyzed it was found that the time-urgent dyads has a slight, but non-significant, tendency to complete more definitions then the non-time-urgent dyads. However, the time-urgent dyads were significantly more likely to not follow directions, and those that did follow directions made more errors then the non-time-urgent dyads. The present research extends existing research on time-urgency in important ways. First, it will examine how this individual difference variable influences dyadic performance, not just individual-level performance. Secondly, it extends the measurement to include both quantity and quality of work performed. Both of these extensions will have useful applications to team-based organizations that use work groups to meet tasks with either qualitative or quantitative performance criteria.|
INTRODUCTION Time urgency is the manner in which people keep track of and utilize time in applied settings (Landy, Rastegary, & Thayer, 1991). This orientation of time has been a topic of interest in industrial and organizational psychology for some time. On of the first industrial psychologist, Hugo Musnterberg (1913, as cited in Landy, Rastegary, & Thayer, 1991) conducted research in time urgency. Musnterberg studied the way in which an individual kept track of , and utilized their time when placed in certain situations. This approach studied the impact on performance when time is viewed as a valuable resource. This hypothesis poses that some individuals are more concerned with the passage of time than others. This has become a growing issue as organizations expect teams of employees to achieve high levels of performance under extreme time pressure. Research has been done to link the ability of a team to meet its deadlines to the pace of the activities performed by the team. Its is also though that the team members’ perceptions of deadlines are likely to affect their choices and actions when working under deadlines (Waller, Conte, Gibson, & Carpenter, 2001). Deadlines play a key roll in the construct of time urgency. Studies show that groups pay more attention to time as their deadlines near. When groups view time as a resource, the time remaining serves as a measure of progress, and is given more attention as the resource dissipates. In that same sense, deadlines act as temporal goals, and as with goals, the closer the deadline is, the greater the motivation to meet the deadline becomes (Waller, Zellmer-Bruhn, & Giambatista, 2002). These studies lead to the examination of punctuated equilibrium, which, in brief, is the belief that groups move quickly to establish a somewhat stable structure, which leads to the mid-point in the groups development. It is at this mid-point that there will be a flurry of reorganization before settling back in to equilibrium. Punctuated Equilibrium has also been viewed as a task progress model, with focus on the task performance processes and progress over time (Okhuysen, & Waller, 2002). Because the mid-point of the groups development plays such an important role in the punctuated equilibrium theory it can be directly related to the idea of time-urgency verses non-time-urgency. An individual whom is highly time-urgent will tend to pay more attention to the passage of time and the nearing of the mid-point in order to exhibit control over the flurry of reorganization and maintain a focus on meeting the goals of the group. Regardless of weather the group is in a stable or a reorganization state, the way the group as a whole views time as a restraint will play a factor in the productivity of the group. I was to conceptualize the views of the group members, that a variable of time-urgency was developed. This variable is a measurement of the participants’ perception of deadlines and subsequent deadline-oriented behaviors in teams. When placed under pressure the time-urgency variable has a critical influence on how individuals and teams perceive and respond to deadlines (Waller, Conte, Gibson, & Carpenter, 2001). A time-urgency scale was developed based on self-report measures using behaviorally based rating scales. Previously time urgency was thought to be a uni-dimensional construct, Jeffery M. Conte and colleges (1995) concluded that contrary to popular belief time-urgency is a multi-dimensional construct (Conte, Landy, & Mathieu, 1995). This original construct included such dimensions as time awareness, eating behavior, scheduling, nervous energy, list making, speech patterns, and deadline control. In further research it was indicated that time-urgency was measured using a 33-item five-point Likert scale. The results of this scale were analyzed and the items that did not meet the established criteria were eliminated This process resulted in the dropping of nine items. A final factor analysis was performed, which resulted in five time-urgency dimensions: eating behavior, competitiveness, speech patterns, task-related hurry, and general hurry. These five dimensions were then compiled in to a 24-item five-point Likert scale (Conte, Ringenbach, Moran, & Landy, 2001).Previous studies show a relationship between time urgency and ability to meet deadlines (Conte, Landy, & Mathieu, 1995). But research that has found differences in abilities to meet deadlines has failed to analyze the quality of the work produced. The purpose of the present study is to determine if differences in dyadic composition (time-urgent vs. non-time-urgent dyads) correspond to that dyad’s ability to meet a deadline (deadline hypothesis), and to produce high quality work in the effort to meet the deadline (quality hypothesis).
Students enrolled in an introductory psychology class were typed as time-urgent or non-time-urgent using a 24-item five-point Likert scale derived from a five-dimension scale. (Conte, Ringenbach, Moran, & Landy, 2001). Forty students participated in the study. 15 of which were male and 25 of which were female. Each student was voluntarily participation in the study and received a total of six points extra credit in their general psychology course in return for their participation in the study.
The participants were pre-tested to evaluate time-urgency. There were tested using a 24-item five-point Likert scale developed from five dimensions of time-urgency. (Conte, Ringenbach, Moran, & Landy, 2001) (See Appendix A). Participants were then placed in homogenous dyads and asked to complete a simple but tedious task of writing definitions to vocabulary terms as found verbatim in the course text. Each dyad was provided with a list of 20 vocabulary terms extracted from three chapters of course material pertaining to lifespan development, consciousness, and learning (See Appendix B). Each dyad was also provided with the course text book, Hockenbury & Hockenbury (2003) Discovering Psychology, as well as a standard black ink pen.
The participant completed the 24-item five-point Likert scale, which was used to type each participants time-urgency. This data was then compiled in to a data base and analyzed. A median split was performed to classify each participant as either time-urgent or non-time-urgent. Each participant as then placed, at random, in a homogeneous dyad. These dyads were then given the simple but tedious task of writing definitions to vocabulary terms as found verbatim in the course text. The dyads were given verbal as well as written instructions by an experimenter blind to the urgency of the dyad. Each dyad was isolated while performing the task and was given identical materials. The dyads were told they had a deadline of only five minutes to complete this task. The instructions were vague as to institute the possibility that they may not receive the full amount of extra credit if they do not complete the task within the time restraints. Immediately following the experiment each participant was debriefed and told that they would receive the full amount of extra credit for their participation in the study.
RESULTS An independent-samples t test comparing the number of definitions completed by time-urgent dyads and the number of definitions completed by non-time-urgent dyads. No significant difference was found (t (16 ) = 1.48, p = .08). The number of definitions completed by the time-urgent dyads ( m = 6.78, sd = 1.787 ) Had and insignificant tendency to be higher than the number of definitions completed by the non-time-urgent dyads ( m = 5.78, sd = .972). And independent-samples t test comparing the number of errors made with in the completed definitions by time-urgent dyads and the number of errors made with in the completed definitions by non-time-urgent dyads (t (11) =3.015, p = .012). The number of errors made by the time-urgent dyads was significantly higher ( m = 4, sd = 4.43) than the number of errors made by the non-time-urgent dyads ( m = 4.89, sd = 3.10). A Chi-square test of independence was calculated comparing time-urgent and non-time-urgent, and mixed dyads and following directions. It was hypothesized that the time-urgent dyads would be less likely to follow directions. A significant deviation from the hypothesized numbers was found (chi-square (2) = 8.148, p < .05). Time-urgent dyads appear to be less likely to follow directions. Figure 1 has been created to better illustrate these results.
DISCUSSION The present research concludes that although time-urgent dyads have a slight, but non-significant, tendency to meet a deadline, the quality of the work performed is significantly less then the quality or a non-time-urgent dyad. The present research extends existing research on time-urgency in important ways. First, it examines how this individual difference variable influences dyadic performance, not just individual level performance. Secondly it extends the measurement to include both the quantity and quality of the work performed. Both of these extensions have useful application to team-based organizations that use work groups to meet tasks with either qualitative or quantitative performance criteria. This study may be limited because it dose not include a third level of manipulation of the dependent variable of time-urgency. A third level measuring mixed dyadic performance would better allow a functional conclusion to be drawn from the research. A future study may be done on small groups to determine of the same results occur when measuring small group performance as did in dyadic performance. In future experiments a third level of the dependent variable will be created to allow for functional conclusions to be drawn and to control for possible threats to internal validity.
REFERENCES Conte, J. M., Landy, F. J., Mathieu, J. E. (1995). Time urgency: Conceptual and construct development. Journal of Applied Psychology. 80, 178-185.Conte, J. M., Ringenbach, K. L., Moran, S. K., Landy, L. J., (2001) Criterion-Validity Evidence for Time Urgency: Associations with Burnout, Organizational Commitment, and Job involvement in Travel Agents. Applied H. R. M . Research. 6, 129-134.Hockenbury & Hockenbury. (2003). Discovering Psychology, third edition. Worth Publishers. New York, NY. Landy, F. J., Rastegary, H., & Thayer, J. (1991). Time urgency: the construct and its measurement: Behaviorally anchored rating scales. Journal of Applied Psychology. 76, 644-657.Okhuysen, G. A., & Waller, M. J. (2002). Focusing on midpoint transitions: An analysis of boundary conditions. Academy of Management Journal. 45, 1056-1065.Waller, M. J., Conte, J. M., Gibson, C. B., & Carpenter, M. A. (2001). The Effects of Individual Perceptions of Deadlines on team Performance. Academy of Management Review. 26, 586-600. Waller, M.J., Zellmer-Bruhn, M.E., & Giambatista, R.C., (2002). Watching the Clock: Group Pacing Behavior Under Dynamic Deadlines. Academy of Management Journal. 45, 1046-1055.
Submitted 12/4/2003 12:29:49 PM
Last Edited 12/4/2003 12:47:08 PM
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