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Adaptive performance

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Title: Adaptive performance  
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Subject: Industrial and organizational psychology, Goal orientation, Team composition, Work engagement, Stress (psychological)
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Adaptive performance

Adaptive performance in the work environment refers to adjusting to and understanding change in the

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See also

[32] An individual who displays leadership adaptability is one who is able to adjust their thoughts and behavior to attain appropriate responses to complex situations helping them make

Leadership and adaptive decision making

In organizational situations where adaptability to the environment and difficult challenges occur often, an individual who possess work engagement, motivation, and creativity in employees.[30] Parker and Mason’s 2010 study introduced a relationship between transformational leadership with work adaptation and work performance.[28] The study stated that transformational leadership relates to adaptive performance by having team members become creative in the different strategies that can be used when approaching a certain situation which eventually leads to a higher performance.[28] Being creative and handling stressful situations the team leader as well as the team exemplifies the dimensions of adaptive performance.[31] This particular leadership style has also been shown as a motivator to increase the behavior of performance and adaptability in employees.[29] An individual showcasing transformational leadership has the ability to encourage more adaptive and productive behavior within team members through presenting new ideas and possible outcomes in the workplace.[29]

Transformational leadership and adaptive performance

[27] Adaptive performance in leadership is valued by employers because an employee who displays those two characteristics tends to exemplify and motivate adaptive behavior within other individuals in the workforce.[29] Studies show that for an individual to show

Leadership and adaptive performance

People have identified several dispositional and contextual factors that would affect team adaptive performance. The most obvious and natural predictor of team adaptive performance is characteristics of team members, or team learning climate).[20] Among them coordination of team members has been proved to be a most influential factor. Teams’ ability to adapt their coordination activities to changing situational demands is crucial to team performance. A stronger increase in the teams’ adaptive coordination was found to be related to better performance.[21] Researchers have posited that the maintenance of coordinated effort and activities (“coordination maintenance”) is necessary for high team adaptive performance. This is because even with well-adapted individual performance, workflow at the team level often becomes disrupted, “overflowing” in particular directions. Overflow may create excessive work demands for some team members, while encouraging social loafing among those who are in the ebb of the workflow (see social loafing).[22] This suggests that, although team members may have their own task boundaries, and individual adaptive performance may depend on each member’s individual capabilities, however to the team, each employee’s adaptive performance may result in successful completion of the team task only if all activities are coordinated and synchronized in a holistic fashion. Team learning climate also displays a significant, positive relationship with team adaptive performance.[20]

Predictors of team adaptive performance

In addition to individual adaptive performance, psychologists are also interested in adaptive performance at team level. Team adaptive performance is defined as an emergent phenomenon that compiles over time from the unfolding of a recursive cycle whereby one or more team members use their resources to functionally change current cognitive or behavioral goal-directed action or structures to meet expected or unexpected demands. It is a multilevel phenomenon that emanates as team members and teams recursively display behavioral processes and draw on and update emergent cognitive states to engage in change. Team adaptive performance is considered as the core and proximal temporal antecedents to team adaptation, which could be seen as a change in team performance in response to a salient cue or cue stream that leads to a functional outcome for the entire team.[15] Along with the definition of team adaptive performance, researchers came up with a four-stage model to describe the process of team adaptive performance. The four core constructs characterizing this adaptive cycle include: (1) situation assessment; (2) plan formulation; (3) plan execution, via adaptive interaction processes; and (4) team learning, as well as emergent cognitive states (i.e., shared mental models, team situational awareness, psychological safety), which serve as both proximal outcomes and inputs to this cycle.[15] Team adaptive performance differs from individual adaptive performance from several aspects. Team adaptive performance reflects the extent to which the team meets its objectives during a transfer performance episode, whereas individual adaptive performance reflects the extent to which each member effectively executes his or her role in the team during the transfer episode.[16] Team adaptive performance also has different antecedents compared with individual adaptive performance.

Definition of team adaptive performance

Team adaptive performance

Coping, as a form of response to stressors, describes how individuals handle stressful events. It is very close to one dimension of adaptive performance by definition (i.e., the Handling Work Stress dimension), and coping has been suggested to be another form of adaptation.[3] However, they are still different constructions. Stress coping could be divided into several styles and strategies based on several theories. One general idea is to divide coping as active coping and avoidant coping.[11] Active coping means to proactively address and resolve stressful events, like quitting a stressful job and changing into a less overwhelming one. Avoidant coping means to reduce stress by ignoring it, like involving in problematic drinking. Another set of coping strategy types includes problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping.[12] Problem-focused coping involves using skills and knowledge to deal with the cause of their problems. Emotion-focused coping involves releasing negative emotions by ways like distracting or disclaiming. Adaptive performance involves a mixture of different coping strategies. Because adaptive performance concerns positive aspects of behaviors, it is more closely related to coping strategies that have positive effects, such as active coping and problem-focused coping.[13][14] Therefore, adaptive performance is more likely to contain such behaviors in stressful situations.

Stress coping

It has been long recognized that work stress generally has a negative effects on job performance,[7] but there is differential influence resulting from different perceptions of stressors. When faced with a new situation, individuals would spontaneously begin to evaluate their own abilities and skills as compared with the requirements of the situation, which is referred to as stress appraisals.[6] Such stress appraisal has two stages: primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. In the primary appraisal stage, individuals evaluate what potential threats there will be, concerning the demands from situation and the goals and values of themselves. In the secondary appraisal stage, individuals evaluate the resources they have to deal with those requirements. The results of appraisal, after two stages, are indicated to fall on a continuum between two extremes of being challenged and threatened.[8] Challenge appraisals mean that individuals feel their resources, like abilities and social support to be abundant sufficient to fulfill requirements of the situation. Threat appraisals, on the other hand, mean that individuals are not confident about their abilities or other resources to respond to the situation demands. Threat appraisals and challenge appraisals could influence job performance distinctively.[9] As for adaptive performance, the more challenging (i.e., the less threatening) one’s stress appraisals are, the more adaptive performance he/she would have.[10] This relationship is mediated by self-efficacy, which is a belief about one’s capacities for certain tasks. Challenging rather than threatening appraisals would lead to higher levels of self-efficacy, and thus benefit individuals’ adaptive performance.

Stress appraisal

. stress coping Not only can work stress predict adaptive performance to a considerable extent, there are also a lot of overlaps between adaptive performance and [6]

Work stress and adaptive performance

Pulakos et al.[1] developed a scale for adaptive performance based on their eight-dimension model. This scale, the Job Adaptability Inventory (JAI), contains 132 questions (15 – 18 questions per dimension). Another similar tool is the I-ADAPT measure (I-ADAPT-M) developed by Ployhart and Bliese,[3] based on their I-ADAPT theory. They focused on dimensions (crisis adaptability, stress adaptability, creative adaptability, uncertain adaptability, learning adaptability, interpersonal adaptability, cultural adaptability, and physical adaptability), with 5 items for every dimension.


  • Handling emergencies and crisis situations: making quick decisions when faced with an emergency.
  • Handling stress in the workforce: keeping composed and focused on task at hand when dealing with high demand tasks
  • Creative problem solving: thinking outside the boundary limits, and innovatively to solve a problem.
  • Dealing with uncertain and unpredictable work situations: able to become productive despite the occurrence of unknown situations.
  • Learning and manipulating new technology, task, and procedures: approach new methods and technological constructs in order to accomplish a work task.
  • Demonstrating interpersonal adaptability: being considerate of other people’s points of view when working in a team to accomplish a certain goal.
  • Demonstrating cultural adaptability: being respectful and considerate of different cultural backgrounds.
  • Demonstrating physically oriented adaptability: physically adjusting one’s self to better fit the surrounding environment.

Pulakos et al.[1] proposed the following dimensions for adaptive performance:



  • Dimensions 1
  • Measurement 2
  • Work stress and adaptive performance 3
    • Stress appraisal 3.1
    • Stress coping 3.2
  • Team adaptive performance 4
    • Definition of team adaptive performance 4.1
    • Predictors of team adaptive performance 4.2
  • Leadership and adaptive performance 5
    • Transformational leadership and adaptive performance 5.1
    • Leadership and adaptive decision making 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7

established eight dimensions of adaptive performance. [1] In previous literature, Pulakos and colleagues[1]

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