In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, author Eric Barker makes the claim:

You can't rely on HR team-bonding exercises; studies show they're only effective at building distrust.

-- Chapter 4

There is no citation, and my attempts to find relevant studies on Google have only resulted in similarly unsourced claims, but usually in praise of team-building exercises.

Are there actually studies that show that HR-style "team-bonding" exercises promote distrust?


Actually there are studies showing the contrary

This meta analysis shows

the overall take-home message is that teamwork training is an effective way to foster teamwork and team performance

and this study shows

These findings seem to suggest that Team Building Exercises do have an impact on the scores of the all Six TAQ Sub Scales. In other words, there is an association between attending team building exercises and team effectiveness

Looking at the observed values, it may also be suggested that Team Building Intervention is successful in increasing Team Effectiveness.

  • 2
    Are these studies specifically "HR-style" exercises, or all of them?
    – Erik
    Feb 12 '18 at 12:29
  • The articles talk about "Team training" or "Team building" in general, you will need to dig deeper into the quoted articles to get the context, I do agree that there might be a difference between a team building exercise and HR team building exercise, the latter being shorter and more sporadic
    – Rsf
    Feb 12 '18 at 13:33

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