The room where it happens: The impact of core and non-core roles on surgical team performance

Research on team roles has demonstrated that the strategic core has a larger influence on team performance than non-core roles. Drawing on theories of shared cognition and the strategic core approach, we posit that not all shared experience within a team is equally impactful and examine how dyadic experience with the strategic core facilitates team performance. We further examine the extent to which task complexity and presence of the strategic core further influence this relationship. In this study, we examine surgical teams in which the surgeon occupies the core role. We analyze archival surgical data from 7,070 team performance episodes (i.e., surgeries) conducted at a large community hospital in the United States. We hypothesize and find that dyadic experience between core and non-core roles has a positive effect on team performance, which is stronger for less complex tasks. We then examine the assumption that the continuous presence of the strategic core is a necessary condition for team performance. We find support for a three-way interaction in which the positive effect of dyadic experience between core and non-core roles on team performance is weaker when task complexity is relatively higher and core presence is relatively lower. Our study highlights the importance of dyadic experience between core and non-core roles, especially for less complex tasks. Furthermore, our findings indicate that for more complex tasks, a team’s core should be present. Additional implications and future directions are discussed.

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Work Title The room where it happens: The impact of core and non-core roles on surgical team performance
Open Access
  1. Manuel J. Vaulont
  2. Jennifer D. Nahrgang
  3. Margaret M. Luciano
  4. Lauren D'Innocenzo
  5. Carolyn T. Lofgren
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. American Psychological Association (APA)
Publication Date November 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1037/apl0000835
  1. Journal of Applied Psychology
Deposited July 19, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added JAP 2021 Valount et al Surgical Roles-1.docx
  • Added Creator Manuel J. Vaulont
  • Added Creator Jennifer D. Nahrgang
  • Added Creator Margaret M. Luciano
  • Added Creator Lauren D'Innocenzo
  • Added Creator Carolyn T. Lofgren
  • Published