Team Building Research Studies

By: | Updated: March 18, 2022

Here is our list of team building research studies.

Team building research studies are academic papers that present experiments and observations on the science of team building. These scholarly articles have been published in reputable journals and are cited often by experts.

These studies help highlight team building statistics, the elements of team building and team building process.

Specifically, this list includes:

  • research studies on team building
  • team building research paper
  • scholarly articles on teamwork in the workplace
  • literature review on teamwork
  • team effectiveness research paper

Here’s the list!

List of team building research studies

Team building has some serious science behind it. Here are some of our favorite team building research studies.

1. Klein, Cameron & DiazGranados, Deborah & Salas, Eduardo & Le, Huy & Burke, Shawn & Lyons, Rebecca & Goodwin, Gerald. (2009). Does Team Building Work?. Small Group Research. 40. 181 – 222. 10.1177/1046496408328821.

This study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of team building by measuring goal setting, interpersonal relations, problem solving, and role clarification. Through a comprehensive literature review, the researchers found team building to have a positive influence on teams, especially larger ones.

Access the study.

2.  De Meuse, K. P., & Liebowitz, S. J. (1981). An Empirical Analysis of Team-Building Research. Group & Organization Studies, 6(3), 357–378.

The authors of this study reviewed 36 team building research studies, concentrating on research design, sample size, dependent variables, and experiment duration.. However, the scholars found that the researchers could have structured the studies better, which made it difficult for the researchers to determine team building’s ultimate effectiveness.

Read the paper.

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3. Lacerenza, C. N., Marlow, S. L., Tannenbaum, S. I., & Salas, E. (2018). Team development interventions: Evidence-based approaches for improving teamwork. American Psychologist, 73(4), 517–531.

This study argues for the importance of “psychologically-sound, evidence based” team development interventions, such as Productivity Tracker or Online Office Games, as opposed to unstructured hang outs, where coworkers do not have an agenda. The researchers also provide added value by recommending ways to increase the effectiveness of team building activities.

Check out the study.

4. Tannenbaum, S. I., Beard, R. L., & Salas, E. (1992). Chapter 5 Team Building and its Influence on Team Effectiveness: An Examination of Conceptual and Empirical Developments. Issues, Theory, and Research in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Advances in Psychology, 117-153. doi:10.1016/s0166-4115(08)62601-1

For a general overview of the concept of team building, this chapter of Advances in Psychology defines teams and team building, while also reviewing major research studies on the topic. The authors point out an interesting commonality of these studies—the fact that most team building studies were performed on white-collar teams, which indicates missing research on blue-collar teams.

View the article.

5. Ms. Neelam Saraswat and Dr. Shilpi Khandelwal, Impact of Team Building Exercises on Team Effectiveness. International Journal of Marketing and Human Resource Management, 6(3), 2015, pp. 89-97.

This study also seeks to examine the influence of team building exercises on group effectiveness. Using a control group that did not go through team building and another group that did, the researchers scored these teams’ performance. By the end of the experiment, the researchers found that the team building exercises had a positive influence on effectiveness.

Peruse the paper.

6. Fapohunda, Tinuke. (2013). Towards Effective Team Building in the Workplace.

In this literature review, Fapohunda analyzes factors in team building that improve team performance. She identifies eight factors that help develop cohesive teams. These factors include: “clear goals; decision making authority; accountability and responsibility; effective leadership; training and development; provision of resources; organizational support; and rewards for team success”.

See the study.

7. Huang, W. W., Wei, K., Watson, R. T., & Tan, B. C. (2003). Supporting virtual team-building with a GSS: An empirical investigation. Decision Support Systems, 34(4), 359-367. doi:10.1016/s0167-9236(02)00009-x

In the only study on this list that focuses on online team building, researchers discovered the significance of a goal-setting structure on improving team building for virtual teams. The results indicate that the best team building experiences rely on planned objectives.

Look up the article.


When planning your company’s team building events, it is important to consider the science behind them. With these research studies, you can structure your activities, so the team benefits from a more focused, effective approach to bonding. As employees become closer and engaged, you will find that your company will become more productive in return, which is a win for everyone.

Next, check out the history of team building, our post on team building psychology and this explainer on employee engagement theory.

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Marketing Coordinator at
Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.


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