The Dilemma of Threat: Group Effectiveness and Ineffectiveness Under Adversity
Threats pose a paradox for groups and teams. Sometimes, threats can spur extraordinary group achievements. Yet, frequently, threats can produce disastrous consequences that can endanger the very existence of the group and innocent bystanders. Groups in organizational settings can be called on to resolve a breathtaking array of decision situations that can be considered threatening. For example, management teams may need to respond to product tampering, employee sabotage, employee violence, dangerous product failures, toxic spills, natural disasters, and host of other hazards. On a more mundane level, groups may need to respond to extreme competitive pressures (both internal and external to the organization), negative publicity, and takeover and acquisition attempts. Yet, our understanding of just what makes groups effective and ineffective under these conditions is indeed only quite rudimentary.