The multilevel well‐being paradox: Towards an integrative process theory of coping in teams

Emma Nordbäck*, NIina Nurmi, Jennifer L. Gibbs, Maggie Boyraz, Minna Logemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Contemporary work teams are increasingly faced with external pressures and changing demands that thrust them into stressful conditions that require coping to maintain not only performance but also well-being. In this paper, we treat the COVID-19 pandemic as an extreme case of multilevel stressors and coping in teams to investigate how teams and their members simultaneously cope with stressors at both individual and team levels and the impacts this has on their well-being. We conducted a longitudinal qualitative multi-case study involving 12 teams, utilizing data from 69 members collected through diaries, interviews, and surveys over a period of 6 months. Our findings illustrate how the needs and coping efforts of teams and individuals can sometimes conflict, resulting in opposing states of well-being at different levels. We frame this phenomenon as the multilevel well-being paradox. Our emergent process model of multilevel coping in teams suggests that teams thrive when they establish a shared appraisal of stressors and coping options through active team reflection, and when they adopt coping approaches that align with the specific stressors experienced at both levels. This study advances our understanding of coping in teams by illuminating the intricate interplay between team and individual well-being and highlighting the paradoxical nature of this relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Pages (from-to)1-21
Publication statusPublished - 28.02.2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • coping
  • multilevel theorization
  • qualitative study
  • reflection
  • team well-being
  • 515 Psychology
  • 520 Other social sciences

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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