Science behind Teamspective's pulse questionnaire

Scientific research is the foundation of Teamspective's feedback processes. In this article, we share what studies have been most influential for us in designing and building our pulse solution for modern people-oriented organizations, who want to empower people to own their personal and team development, and to maximize engagement, productivity and wellbeing.

Jaakko Kaikuluoma


Scientific research is the backbone of a great pulse questionnaire

In order to help our customers make data driven decisions to improve wellbeing and team collaboration, we've studied extensively the science behind successful teamwork, productivity, psychological needs, employee wellbeing, and organizational culture. Here we're presenting the top 4 scientific theories that have helped shape the Teamspective Pulse questionnaire.

1. Job demands and resources (JDR)

Job demands and resources is a model for understanding employee wellbeing by defining job positives (resources) and job stressors (demands), and analyzing the balance between them. Different levels of job demands and job resources lead to variances in the strain that people experience at work.

High workload, short deadlines, goal ambiguity, low trust, micromanagement (low autonomy) and poor relationships are examples of job demands. Manageable workload, autonomy, good relationships, learning, recognition, coaching, and role clarity are examples of job resources. We've incorporated the key components of JDR into Teamspective's pulse questionnaire.

Read more:

Relevant pulse themes in Teamspective pulse questionnaire: Workload, Fairness, Wellbeing at work, Clarity of goals, Learning, Autonomy, Satisfaction with feedback, Help and support

2. Google re:work (project Aristotle)

The main objective in Google's research project 'Aristotle' was to find out what makes some teams at Google more productive than others, so that others could learn from the best. A surprise winner was found: Psychological safety. The social environment in which people work was found to be the number 1 most important factor of team success. Others in the top five were Dependability (of colleagues), Structure & clarity, Meaning, and Impact.

Interestingly, for instance the combined experience of team members did not make it into top 5. So this reserach showed that team success is more about how the team works together, rather than who is in the team. That's encouraging news to anyone, because the ways we collaborate are well within the realm of our control, and through open discussion and feedback, these ways can be improved. That's the reason psychologically safe teams win: there are less restrictions to sharing suggestions and new ideas.

We've made sure that our whole concept, including the pulse questionnaire, takes into account the key findings of this study, and makes it psychologically safer to discuss about teamwork and collaboration.

Read more:

Relevant pulse themes in Teamspective: Psychological safety, Communication in team, Dependability, Goals and clarity

3. Intrinsic motivation / Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory explains how internal (intrinsic) motivation works – a vital piece of psychological wellbeing and sustained productivity. Internal motivation consists of three components: Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness. First, people need to have a choice between options (autonomy). Then, they need skills and opportunities to make progress (competence). Finally, they need to feel connected to other people (relatedness). If you have all three, you have high intrinsic motivation – good for you!

In the workplace reality, people are affected by multiple facets of both internal and external motivation. For instance salary and other compensation represent external motivation.

Read more:

Relevant pulse themes in Teamspective: Autonomy, Competence, Inclusion, Help and support

4. SCARF-model – social threats and rewards

According to the SCARF-model, our brains treat social threats and rewards similarly to physical threats and rewards. Experiencing social threat creates a fight or flight response which momentarily reduces our cognitive capacity. Similarly, social rewards increase it. Social threats have generally more weight than rewards, and thus need to be minimized at the workplace in order to collaborate effectively. The absence of social threat is conceptually identical with psychological safety.

We experience social threat and reward on five areas in the SCARF-model: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.

Read more:

Relevant pulse themes in Teamspective: Psychological safety, Goals and clarity, Autonomy, Inclusion, Fairness

Try out Teamspective

Teamspective is a feedback and pulse solution, built for people-focused companies employing high-skilled professionals, who want to empower people to own their personal and team development, and to maximize engagement, productivity and wellbeing.

We recommend you to give us a try.

Sign up at or book a demo for you and your team