Explaining effective team vision development in small, entrepreneurial teams: A shared mental models approach


  • Rainer Hensel The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • Ronald Visser The Hague University of Applied Sciences


Organizing entrepreneurial collaboration in small, self-directed teams is gaining popularity. The underlying co-creation processes of developing a shared team vision were analyzed with a core focus on three underlying processes that originate from the shared mental models framework. These processes are: 1) the emergence of individual visions and vision integration, 2) conflict solving, and 3) redesigning the emerging knowledge structure. Key in the analysis is the impact of these three processes on two outcome variables: 1)the perceived strength of the co-creation process, 2) the final team vision. The influence of business expertise and the relationship between personality traits and intellectual synergy was also studied.

The impact of the three quality shared mental model (SMM) variables proves to be significant and strong, but indirect. To be effective, individual visions need to be debated during a second conflict phase. Subsequently, redesigning the shared knowledge structure resulting from the conflict solving phase is a key process in a third elaboration phase. This sequence positively influences the experienced strength of the co-creation process, the latter directly enhancing the quality of the final team vision. The indirect effect reveals that in order to be effective, the three SMM processes need to be combined, and that the influence follows a specific path. Furthermore, higher averages as well as a diversity of business expertise enhance the quality of the final team vision. Significant relationships between personality and an intellectual synergy were found. The results offer applicable insights for team learning and group dynamics in developing an entrepreneurial team vision.


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