Towards a Cohesive Theory of Cohesion


  • Janet McLeod School of Psychology, Deakin University
  • Kathryn von Treuer Deakin University



Cohesion, Cumulative research program, Performance


Conventional wisdom suggests that group cohesion is strongly related to performance. This may be based on the notion that better cohesion leads to the sharing of group goals. However, empirical and meta-analytic studies have been unable to consistently demonstrate a relationship between cohesion and performance. Partially, this problem could be attributed to the disagreement on the precise definition of cohesion and its components. Further, when the cohesion construct is evaluated under Cohen’s Cumulative Research Program (CRP), it is surprisingly found to belong to the category of early-to-intermediate stage of theory development. Therefore, a thorough re-examination of the cohesion construct is essential to advance our understanding of the cohesion-productivity relationship. We propose a qualitative approach because it will help establish the definitions, enable us to better test our theories about cohesion and its moderators, and provide insights into how best to enlist cohesion to improve team performance.


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