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Define team and teamwork
Team: A small group of people with complementary skills, who work together to accomplish shared goals while holding themselves mutually accountable for performance results.
Teamwork: The process of people working together to accomplish these goals.
What is synergy and what are the advantages of team work?
Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts
; in teams, it is seen when members’ individual talents and efforts are used to achieve/create.
Teams can be good for both organisations and their members:
- More resources for problem-solving.
- Improved creativity and innovation.
- Improved quality of decision-making.
- Greater commitments to tasks.
- Higher motivation through collective action.
- Better control and work discipline.
- More individual need satisfaction.
What are formal and informal teams?
- Formal groups are officially recognised and supported by the organisation.
- eg. A work group. These groups may be called departments, units or teams.
- Informal groups are unofficial and emerge from relationships and shared interests among members.
- eg interest groups, friendship groups or support groups.
What is a committee? Project teams and task forces?
- Committee: Brings people together outside of daily job assignments to work in a small team for a specific purpose.
- Project teams and task forces: Formal teams convened for a specific purpose and expected to disband when that purpose is achieved. Any committee, project team or task force must be carefully established and then well run.
What are cross functional, employee involvement and virtual teams?
Cross-functional teams: Bring together members from different functional departments to work on a specific problem/task. The teams are expected not to be limited by narrow functional concerns and demands. Rather they are to think and act cross-functionally and with the needs of the whole organisation in mind.
Employee involvement teams: Meet on a regular basis to use their talents to help solve problems and achieve continuous improvement. One popular form is the quality circle, a team who meets regularly to plan ways to improve work quality.
Virtual team: Team who work together to solve problems through computer-based interactions. Can save time and travel expenses, and allow members to work collectively in a time-efficient way but can be difficult for team to establish good working relationships due to lack of face-to-face time.
What are the Five stages in the team life cycle or team development
- Forming: Initial orientation, interpersonal testing. Begin to identify w/ other members & with the team itself.
- Storming: Conflict over tasks and teamwork. Tasks become clarified, members begin to understand interpersonal styles. Find ways to meet team goals
- Norming: Consolidation around task and operating agendas. Begin to operate with shared rules and conducts. Harmony is emphasised but minority may be discouraged.
- Performing: Teamwork and focused task performance. Team operates with a clear and stable structure, motivated by team goals
- Adjourning: Task completion and disengagement. Members are acknowledged for their contributions and the group's overall success.
Decentralised communication network:
- Effective when teams are interacting intensively and members are working closely together as close coordination of activities is needed
- Allows all members to communicate directly with one another
- Also called the all-channel or star communication network
- Interacting group - high interdependency around a common task
Centralised communication network:
- Appropriate when team members work on tasks independently, with the required work being divided among them
- Activities are coordinated and results pooled by the central point of control
- Communication flows back and forth between individuals and a hub or centre point
- Coacting group – independent individual efforts on behalf of common tasks
What is group think and symptoms?
How can it be overcome?
: a tendency for highly cohesive teams to lose their evaluative capabilities.
- Illusions of invulnerability and unanimity (assume team is too good for criticism, members accept consensus prematurely without testing its completeness)
- Applying direct pressure to conform to group wishes (refuse to tolerate anyone who suggests the team may be wrong)
- Rationalising disconfirming data (members refuse to accept contradictory data to to thoroughly consider alternatives)
- Stereotyping competitors as weak (refuse to look realistically at other groups)
- Self-censorship by members (refuse to communicate personal concerns)
Actions a manager can take to avoid or overcome groupthink:
- Assign the role of critical evaluator, encourage a sharing of viewpoints
- Do not appear partial to one course of action, allow free discussion
- Create sub-teams to work on the same problems and then share their solutions
- Hold a “second-chance” meeting after consensus seems apparent to review the decision
- Have team members discuss issues with outsiders and report back
- Invite outside experts to observe team activities and offer input
- Assign a “devil’s advocate” role at each team meeting
What is the relationship between a team's cohesiveness, performance norm and performance results?
- Conformity to norms is largely determined by the strength of cohesiveness (the degree to which members are attracted to and motivated to remain part of a team).
- Therefore it is vital that the performance norms are positive.
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