Teamwork Complex: Apollo
image of man coaching via zoom
Let us help
you through
Tough Team
The "Apollo Complex"

The Apollo Complex occurs when the team overuse the Scientist team role.

Healthy use

When used appropriately, the Scientist team role provides explanation of how and why things happen. Scientists bring structure and organisation into the inner world of ideas and understanding. They analyse things, formulating hypotheses and explanations of how they function, and gather evidence to assess how true those explanations are. They produce mental models that replicate how particular aspects of the world work, and they try to understand the full complexity of any situation.

Excessive use

If the Scientist team role is used to excess, however, and Group-Think sets in, then the team critique everthing, including each others ideas, and fail to build agreement. Discussions become circular because team members critique the contributions of others in the team and wait for them to concede the point. Colleagues, however, return by critiquing the critique, so the discussion goes round in circles. The team may also overcomplicate things and bring in extraneous considerations that don't need to be taken into account. At extreme, an Apollo team can be very negative in its' outlook, only seeing problems, failing to reach agreement at all and performing very poorly.

The complex is given the name "Apollo" as it is the same as The Apollo Syndrome, a phenomenon observed by Professor Meredith Belbin when he undertook his team role research with British Management in the 1970s: he noted that teams of highly intelligent people can perform very badly as a team because they spend their time arguing rather than making constructive proposals.


Complexes can be very difficult to deal with. See our general page on Complexes for more information.

A good facilitator or consultant can help the team in various ways, such as:

Psychology Footnote

The Apollo Complex results from rigidity in the team's use of introverted Thinking.

See all sixteen team complexes.

©2013 Team Technology. Privacy policy and cookies.