What Is Cohesion?
Cohesion is one of the foremost desired outcomes of team building activities. In the Journal Of Sports Science, A.V. Carron (Team Cohesion & Team Success, Vol. 20) defined cohesion as:
"A dynamic process that is reflected in the tendency of a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of its instrumental objectives and / or for the satisfaction of member needs."
Cohesion is dynamic, which means it can change. Sometimes a team will feel more united than at other times. Team building activities are effective in promoting unity by giving team members positive shared experiences.
Cohesion & Improved Team Performance
Various studies including one by Evans & Dion (1991) have found that cohesive groups perform significantly better than non-cohesive groups. A team working in this way will perform better in their specific work functions and will also experience positive effects on their satisfaction and happiness at work.
Yalom (1985) found that cohesiveness leads to increased self-esteem, more willingness to listen to others, freer expression of feeling, better reality testing, greater self-confidence and more effective use of other team member's evaluations in enhancing their own development (for example in 360 degree feedback).
Perception Of Peers
Research by Dodunski & Gordon (A Study Of The Effect Of An Outdoor Education Experience) found that participants' perception of their peers were positively affected by participation in outdoor activities. The demeanor and character of a team can be changed with preconceived notions replaced with positive perceptions.