African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4064

Full Length Research Paper

Innovation team composition: The enabling role of the individual emotive outlook

Christina Swart-Opperman
  • Christina Swart-Opperman
  • Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business, University of Science and Technology, Private Bag 13388, Windhoek, Namibia.
  • Google Scholar
Kurt April
  • Kurt April
  • Allan Gray Chair in Values-Based Leadership, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3 Rondebosch, 7701 Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 22 March 2018
  •  Accepted: 25 May 2018
  •  Published: 28 June 2018


Despite increased attention to innovation teams in the workplace, composition criteria for implementation success remain unclear. This paper aims to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on the psychological characteristics of innovation team members. This pragmatic, mixed-method convergent parallel design study examines and compares the emotive outlook profiles and patterns of successful and unsuccessful innovation project implementation teams in the financial service industry. The data generated for this study were obtained from multi-national company operating in nine African countries and three Namibian institutions, with a total study sample of 169 participants. Quantitative results were obtained through assessments, namely the EQ-i2, 16PF5 and the StrengthScope®. The TESI and the Emotional Style Questionnaire were also used, but produced no significantly different results. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions produced qualitative findings. The results suggest that individuals in innovation teams have specific emotive outlook profiles. More specifically, the results suggest that successful implementation depends more on the individuals’ intra-psychological strengths than on a specific team profile. The study findings underscore the fact that intra-psychological strengths, that is, mental acuity, emotional self-management awareness and emotional intelligence, rather than team dynamics and interpersonal qualities, characterize successful innovation teams. The key practice implications relate to team selection. The knowledge contribution of this study is the prioritization of the emotive outlook constructs for emotionally and intellectually fit members of innovation implantation teams.

Key words: Emotive outlook, intra-psychological strength, cognitive abilities, emotional self-management, emotional intelligence, innovation team composition, context, mixed-method convergent parallel design.