Olympics Skiing, Elite Distance Runners, & NCAA Basketball: Three Cases of Exemplary Team Performance
The Norwegian team garnered 39 medals during the Winter 2018 Olympics, more than any other nation in Olympic history. In 2017, Shalane Flanagan led 11 of her teammates to make the Olympics in a traditionally individualized sport of elite running. During the 2017-2018 season, the Duke Blue Devils basketball team made it to the NCAA Elite Eight, adding another victory as one of college’s all-time most successful basketball team programs. The case overviews these exemplary team stories to highlight factors associated with high-performing teams, including leadership, a relational team culture, and the role of national context in influencing behavior. The case leverages Hofstede’s national culture framework to pique students’ thinking about the role of national culture in driving team members’ behavior.
In analyzing this case, students should be able to:
1. Identify factors that influence team-member behavior and overall team performance.
2. Explain how the way a team interacts, and its resulting culture, influence a team’s success.
3. Analyze how national culture may influence team behaviors and performance.
This case is well suited for upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate courses in management, organizational behavior, and group dynamics. The case applies Hofstede’s national culture framework and team-based frameworks (Input-Process-Outcome model) and the broader literature to heighten an understanding of how to shape high performing teams.