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Measuring Ward-Based Multidisciplinary Healthcare Team Functioning: A Validation Study of the Team Functioning Assessment Tool (TFAT)

Sutton, Gigi; Liao, Jenny; Jimmieson, Nerina L.; Restubog, Simon L. D.

The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ): July-August 2013 - Volume 35 - Issue 4 - p 36–49
doi: 10.1111/jhq.12010
Original Articles

The team functioning assessment tool (TFAT) has been shown to be a reliable behavioral marker tool for assessing nontechnical skills that are critical to the success of ward-based healthcare teams. This paper aims to refine and shorten the length of the TFAT to improve usability, and establish its reliability and construct validity. Psychometric testing based on 110 multidisciplinary healthcare teams demonstrated that the TFAT is a reliable and valid tool for measuring team members’ nontechnical skills in regards to Clinical Planning, Executive Tasks, and Team Functioning. Providing support for concurrent validity, high TFAT ratings were predicted by low levels of organizational constraints and high levels of group potency. There was also partial support for the negative relationships between time pressure, leadership ambiguity, and TFAT ratings. The paper provides a discussion on the applicability of the tool for assessing multidisciplinary healthcare team functioning in the context of improving team effectiveness and patient safety for ward-based hospital teams.

For more information on this article, contact Gigi Sutton at or Jenny Liao at

Gigi Sutton, PhD (OrgPsych), MBA, BOccThy (Hons), is the Manager for Team Effectiveness within the Clinical Skills Development Service of Queensland Health, Australia. She is interested in improving the quality of working life for employees within large multidisciplinary teams, and associated organizational and patient-related outcomes.

Jenny Liao is a PhD student (OrgPsych), studying in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland. Her research interest is concerned with how teams effectively coordinate expertise in the workplace, focusing on the development of transactive memory systems, and its effects on team-related outcomes.

Nerina L. Jimmieson is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland (Australia). Employing a range of methodologies, her research interests are concerned with stress and coping in the workplace and employee adjustment to organizational change. Her research is well-supported by national competitive grants

and industry partners, with publications appearing in journals and books in the areas of management and organizational psychology.

Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, PhD (OrgPsych), is Deputy Director for Research and Professor of Management in the Research School of Management at The Australian National University. His research interests include antecedents and maintenance of psychological contracts, measurement and prediction of destructive leadership and workplace deviance, and the role of support and barriers to career development in work and non-work contexts.

Grant sponsor: Australian Research Council; Grant Number: LP0882135.

© 2013 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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