The TIGERS Validation Study

The TIGERS Workforce Behavioral Profile Validation Process

Once the six TIGERS principles  – trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success — surfaced from education, business and psychology group dynamic research, a survey containing 57 questions was developed. The goal was to determine whether the principles are independently measurable within group behavior.

— Or — were the six principles just a clump of feel good goo? That question required an answer.

The validation process and findings

Teams from 17 intact groups, including a Boeing facility, participated in the survey. The work groups received a pre and post survey and team development interventions that were indicated by the assessment results over an 18 month period.  The results were independently monitored by heads of departments at Gonzaga University. The results were interesting.   One finding concluded that the principles, interdependence and success, are highly correlated with the other four values.

This means that an improvement in either Interdependence or Success will improve the other principles to some extent, too.

What was also interesting is that the principle, Interdependence, speaks to building collaborative and cooperative co-worker relationships while Success speaks to accomplishing quality work and achieving goals where employees doing the work have a felt sense of pride and satisfaction.  Therefore, balance between the work people do and the well-being and relationship quality of people doing the work is critical for long term work group success.

Another finding concluded that the six principles predict group behavior either by their inclusion or omission.  This means that group behavior is measurable and corrective action can be taken to shorten the time new teams spend in conflict. This is what differentiates the TIGERS Six Principles from one-off training that may or may not improve skills and attitudes in the workplace.

Another finding indicated that certain understandings that people have about effective team behavior line up with each individual principle.  Therefore, the profile could measure with a good degree of reliability where work groups are strong and areas for improvement.

The first study was met with a high level of psychology peer review interest.  Then the question was, could the results be repeated?

One year later another study was completed for school districts through the Washington State Education Association.  Officials from the teacher’s union wanted to identify specific training to offer teachers to improve their group performance skills for school site councils.  The concept of school site councils – teams — was a new concept in Washington State.

The trend toward site councils — composed of teachers, parents, and principal – proposed that a site council was best suited to make decisions, solve the school’s problems, create and monitor improvement programs then school administrators who had little knowledge of the school’s daily operations and service area.  This was a transformational shift from centralized school decision-making to localized, building decision-making.

Unfortunately training and development days for teachers were seriously limited.  WEA wanted to know where they would receive their best return on their training investment on a school-by-school basis and what training topics were required.

WEA concluded that the TIGERS profile was highly predictive and prescriptive and met their goals.  It gave the school and school union team a good employee opinion snapshot for strategic training and development purposes.  And since the six principles are demonstrated by behaviors that are readily visible, WEA officials concluded that TIGERS was basic, simple and made good common sense. Therefore, the six principles would be easily adopted for any multi-pronged approach for school team development.

As a result, officials further concluded that the quality of the principles can also be measured and monitored over time as a site council changes or grows.  This is an important feature for any team that gains and looses team members and for leaders who want to know what to look for in new employee candidates.  TIGERS offered a way to track and monitor a strategic team development process on a school-by-school basis.

How do the six principles help your vision, mission, values and goals?

From the time the studies were concluded in 1993, work with merging organizations and newly emerging teams concluded that the six TIGERS principles — trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success — reinforce the vision, mission, goals and operational values of employing organizations. They also help merging organizations create operational norms of behavior that produced a better company and cut short periods of conflict and misunderstandings.

The principles and supporting behaviors limit the time teams spend in conflict and are powerful predictors for selecting successful new employment candidates to fill positions on existing teams.

Download a sample survey report here.