Nick Keca

Nick Keca welcomes you to this website where I’m developing a digital platform to share my research on Personality PsychologyCollaboration and Performance of Virtual Teams. The site is a work-in-progress so, if you’re interested in organisational development, the challenges of composing and working with/in virtual teams, collaboration within and between virtual teams, and/or coordinating virtual teams in distributed matrix structures, please revisit from time to time and check for new stuff.

Personality and Team Performance

A Personal View by Nick Keca

Having held senior executive roles in a variety of industry sectors over the last twenty-five years, I’ve often thought about the challenges faced by teams that are increasingly working virtually in distributed matrix structures, and the related processes and practices associated with them. In my experience, these result in ‘unexpected’ outcomes, more often than not. It’s therefore no surprise that recent research concludes that the majority of virtual teams fail to achieve their objectives. There are a wide variety of reasons for this but it’s largely due to dysfunctional performance caused by a lack of understanding of the pro-social behaviours required, and of the nature of social interactions that take place in highly diverse distributed teams.

The use of personality assessments in recruitment, selection and team composition (e.g. personality, cognitive/emotional intelligence, etc.) are one such practice where, all too often, the predicted behaviours of individuals, and resulting team performance, are rarely consistent with the expectations set by such assessments. This fascinated me and I saw many examples of this during the course of my career, which led me to ask – why it was that seemingly identical organisations located in different parts of the same city, operating in an identical market, with the same operating model, could have hugely different operating results? Why was it that, in organisation after organisation, I saw broadly similar personality profiles amongst the staff despite detailed formal diversity policies to the contrary?

The desire to understand the reasons for these anomalies, and identify how we might better compose teams for optimum performance, is what drives my interest in management research in Personality Psychology and Personality Development. I also recognise that the pursuit of this knowledge is pointless unless it is shared with those that can benefit from it. This is my goal.

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not….Albert Einstein

Je pense, donc je suis…René Descartes

Business leaders today face a ‘perfect storm’ of challenging conditions that degrade the performance of their organisations. Conditions, that include: the increasing role of the knowledge economy and demographic shift to knowledge work, increasing task uncertainty and complexity, competitive pressures, globalisation, flattening and de-layering of hierarchical structures,  increasingly frequent re-structuring, multiteam membership, shared leadership, self-managing teams, outsourcing of strategic non-core activities, technology development, functional fragmentation and specialisation, increased diversity and colliding cultures, pluralistic management systems with conflicting demands on scarce resources. All of these combine to create uncertain conditions, compromise engagement and communication, and disrupt coordination between individuals and groups within organisations. More importantly, the impact of these conditions is amplified by gaps in understanding, in research and practice. Put simply, the adoption of virtual working practices within organisations has progressed beyond our understanding of what is required to enable predictable, and repeatable outcomes.

If you’ve read this far, you may have an opinion, or insights of your own. Clearly these are not trivial issues since they have a profound consequence for organisations and the people that work within them. Therefore, improving understanding and finding solutions to these issues is what I, Nick Keca, and the pages of this site are dedicated to. If you’re interested in organisation design, leadership, and people management more generally, please browse the site, and revisit from time to time. My aim is to continually update and add new stuff.