NYU Stern

Getting and Staying In-Pace:
The "In-Synch" Preference and its Implications for Work Groups


This paper draws from research on the phenomenology of how people experience time to examine how groups internally synchronize their work. We begin by reviewing the current paradigm on group temporal alignment, derived from biological and physical principles of entrainment. We argue that despite its many strengths, the greatest weakness of entrainment-based approaches is that they overlook the experience of the individual group member. Instead, we suggest that pace alignment in work groups stems from the individual-level tendency to prefer the experience of feeling in-pace to that of feeling out-of-pace. We label this the in-synch preference, and assert that it is a core construct for understanding temporal performance in work groups. We then use this construct to examine: (a) the mechanisms that facilitate and motivate intra-group synchronization (i.e., getting in-pace) and (b) the role of pace-aligned coalitions and attributional processing in maintaining synchronization (i.e., staying in-pace).