Types of Tasks Involved
The next consideration involves the types of tasks involved, which include tasks that cannot be broken down into subtasks and those that can.
When a task cannot be divided into smaller subtasks, team size greatly influences successful performance. When a team’s success depends on the additive contributions of all members, the greater number of teammates available increases team performance. However, when a team is too large, a negative ceiling effect emerges because there are too many people attempting to complete a single task, thus limiting team performance. Alternatively, when individual success at each phase of a task is required, it is best to have fewer members because, as team size increases, the chance of having more incapable members increases.
When tasks can be divided among members, there is a positive increase on team performance. When more members are available to contribute resources, a team is able to divide a task into more subtasks, which decreases the time necessary to complete a task. However, the more subtasks, the harder it is for team members to combine individual results into a collective whole, thus jeopardizing successful team performance.