Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can Team Building be measured? Qualitatively? Quantitatively?

Team Building can be measured? Quantitatively?

I have been re-evaluating my consulting effect on team building within organizations, working with a process to determine qualitative vs. quantitative data to ensure that the path I am following with teams is the most effective that it can be.

I came across a resource on Qualitative vs Quantitative research.

Features of Qualitative & Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research;

- "All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding"- Donald Campbell
- The aim is a complete, detailed description.
- Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for.
- Recommended during earlier phases of research projects.
- The design emerges as the study unfolds.
- Researcher is the data gathering instrument.
- Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects.
- Subjective - individuals’ interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant observation, in- depth interviews etc.
- Qualitative data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized.
- Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter.

is that data gathering for Team Building?

Quantitative Research;

- "There's no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0"- Fred Kerlinger
- The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.
- Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for.
- Recommended during latter phases of research projects.
- All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
- Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data.
- Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.
- Objective – seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys, questionnaires etc.
- Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail.
- Researcher tends to remain objectively separated from the subject matter.

is that data gathering for Team Building?

Main Points
Qualitative research involves analysis of data such as words (e.g., from interviews), pictures (e.g., video), or objects (e.g., an artifact).
Quantitative research involves analysis of numerical data.

The strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research are a perennial, hot debate, especially in the social sciences. The issues invoke classic 'paradigm war'.
The personality / thinking style of the researcher and/or the culture of the organization is under-recognized as a key factor in preferred choice of methods.

Overly focusing on the debate of "qualitative versus quantitative" frames the methods in opposition. It is important to focus also on how the techniques can be integrated, such as in mixed methods research.
More good can come of social science researchers developing skills in both realms than debating which method is superior.


-Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning-Team Building, an experiential based training and development consulting organization, as well as a blogger for TeamBuilding NY. Mike specializes in team development and leadership development consulting and training, creating team-building programs that retain talented staff members, increase production and effectiveness of your team. He lives in Buffalo, NY, and travels to you to serve your team-building and leadership training needs, wherever and whenever fits your schedule.