The effects of the outdoor experiential ropes course on perceived team performance

Patricia Melise O'Bannon, Florida International University


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to explore the perceived effects of the Ropes Course on the performance of intact work teams. The dependent variable, team performance, was measured by the Team Performance Assessment, a 20 question inventory. The Ropes Course, the independent variable, was an outdoor experiential training program presently marketed as a highly effective team building training program. Issues the team addressed in the highly emotional and physical environment were purported to transfer back to the work environment and act as a catalyst for change The Ropes Course in this study consisted of a day long series of outdoor mental, emotional and physical exercises addressing the issues of goal-setting, role expectations, accountability, trust, respect, communication, problem-solving and decision-making. The 68 subjects, 37 in the treatment group and 31 in the control were employees of a large international financial institution. They were not chosen by random selection. The work teams' managers recognized a need to improve team morale, performance and functioning due to corporate reengineering and downsizing resulting in team members' job losses. Control teams were partially matched to the treatment teams on the basis of professional composition and similar job descriptions. The pretest of the Team Performance Assessment was given the morning of the Ropes Course treatment and the posttest was given three to five weeks later. The control teams received the pretests and posttests at about the same time intervals at their work location but received no Ropes Course treatment. The treatment teams' scores and the control teams' scores were statistically compared using the Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) and the Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) at the .05 level of significance. The statistical analysis revealed a significant difference between the control and experimental teams after the team building Ropes Course training as measured by the Team Performance Assessment (Gilbert, 1996).

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Social structure|Occupational psychology|Management

Recommended Citation

O'Bannon, Patricia Melise, "The effects of the outdoor experiential ropes course on perceived team performance" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9966112.