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AOM Scholars On… Team Dynamics in the New Pandemic Workplace

07 Dec 2021
AOM Scholars discuss how workplace team dynamics have changed as a result of COVID-19. The panel showcased their research-based insights to make sense of new team realities and provide actionable tips and insights for organizations, practitioners, scholars, and the world at-large.

Leading global workplace scholar expert and Panel Moderator Anne Burmeister of Erasmus University Rotterdam joined panelists Hakan Ozcelik of California State University, Sacramento; Ellen Kossek of Purdue University; and Kira Schabram of University of Washington to discuss “Team Dynamics in the New Pandemic Workplace” as part of AOM’s scholar-led webinar panel on 7 December 2021.

The panel shared their expertise and research-based insights on team cohesion and engagement given the increasingly dispersed nature of workplace teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The AOM Scholars showcased their research-based insights to make sense of these new team realities and to provide actionable tips and insights for organizations, practitioners, scholars, and the world at-large. 

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Research-based insights:

  • How the pandemic has dramatically altered workplace teams, and this trend’s impact on organizations
  • How organizations can promote team cohesion in today’s hybrid or remote pandemic workplace 
  • Characteristics of great and inclusive teams in hybrid or remote work environments
  • The need for emotionally intelligent HR systems, the value of spontaneous interactions at work, and how to foster these “water cooler” chats in a hybrid or remote work environment where it may be difficult for teams to develop relationships that are integral for team cohesion
  • How colleagues are missing integral networking and professional relationships as a result of remote work, and how these missed relationship building opportunities disproportionately impact minority workforces, particularly women and/or people of color
  • How the pandemic has created catalyzing events for workers who are reconsidering their careers and their relationship to meaningful work 
  • Why workers are leaving the workplace in such dramatic rates, especially regarding working women, and how organizations can keep talent, make them less stressed, and more fulfilled with their career.
  • What the future of workplace teams looks like, and how organizations, employees and the world can best prepare for it.


Panel Soundbites:

“How organizations communicate to employees why they are making a decision makes a huge impact. Organizations and its leaders must consider internally communicating how important decisions that alter team dynamics are made—what criteria was used to make the decision, which experts or sources are consulted to make the decision, how they poll or gather employee opinion about the pending decision, and so on. The way companies communicate decisions rather than the decisions themselves makes a huge difference in forming positive teams in this new environment."

- Anne Burmeister

“Organizations and leadership should find ways to foster an emotional culture of love—my research indicates that relationships sustained people during turbulent or trying professional environments, much like we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Respect is a huge phenomena right now that we all have to think about—companies who foster a culture of respect will create great teams and will also allow the company to perform better over the long run."

- Hakan Ozcelik


“For younger generations such as Gen Z and millennials, studies have shown as much as up to one-third of these working populations view work as deeply meaningful. To provide meaningful work, employers need to provide transparency of what the job will look like during the interview and hiring process, don’t mislead of what the work and work-life balance looks like. Organizations must implement boundaries and frameworks to make sure employees have a consistent work experience and work-life balance.”

- Kira Schabram


“Many organizations and leaders are rethinking their relationship to work. I’ve been studying how 200 STEM women in the U.S. have managed professional relationship boundaries. Research found that leading with empathy and work life needs to be integrated into leadership styles. Studies have shown that bosses or leaders have done a good job of delegating tasks but haven’t built in time to build relationships with teams and employees as part of their job description. For example, Microsoft tried to do shorter Zoom calls, or 30-minute meetings, and that helps with burnout and gives workers more control of when they’re on and off, but may be challenging for forming relationships. Moving forward, hybrid work needs to be a partnership to give workers control of when and where they work with what is best for their realities.”

- Ellen Kossek