Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 February 2012
Despite the applied importance of cohesion within organisational settings, researchers have yet to reach consensus about the dimensionality of group cohesion, and therefore appropriate tools for its measurement. The way that cohesion has generally been conceptualised has changed over time, but the measures appear not to reflect the underlying theory. This deficiency has impeded attempts to explore the relationship between co-worker cohesion and group performance (Beal et al., 2003; Mullen & Copper, 1994). Given inconsistent findings from previous factor analyses of cohesion, the present study employed exploratory means to help clarify the factor structure of cohesion within the workplace. Potential participants were recruited via the researchers' social networks. This snowballing technique led to 236 participants completing the online questionnaire. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four first-order factors of team commitment, friendliness, interpersonal conflict and communication that collectively accounted for 55.17% of the variance shared among the 75 cohesion items. Subsequently, a single higher-order factor was extracted which accounted for over half of the co-variation among the first order factors. This higher-order factor seems to reflect a general cohesion factor, as it was loaded by a diffuse collection of items, including those from the four lower-order factors as well as items that failed to load onto these lower-order factors. While there were similarities between these results and those of previous studies, the present factor structure did not map perfectly onto any of the existing conceptual models of cohesion. This finding highlights the need to incorporate some alternate factors that have previously been given little consideration.