Teams as complex adaptive systems: reviewing 17 years of research

Pedro J. Ramos-Villagrasa, Pedro Marques-Quinteiro, José Navarro, Ramón Rico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


At the turn of the century, Arrow, McGrath, and Berdahl portrayed teams as complex adaptive systems (CAS). And yet, despite broad agreement that this approach facilitates a better understanding of teams, it has only now been timidly incorporated into team research. To help fully incorporate the logic of teams as CAS in the science of teams, we review extant research on teams approached from a nonlinear dynamical system theory. Using a systematic review approach, we selected 92 articles published over the last 17 years to integrate what we know about teams as CAS. Our review reveals the evidence supporting teams as CAS, and the set of analytical techniques to analyze team data from this perspective. This review contributes to teams’ theory and practice by offering ways to identify both research methods and managing techniques that scholars and practitioners may apply to study and manage teams as CAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-176
Number of pages42
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


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