Organization Behaviour: Teamwork 3
Ateam is a unit of interdependent individuals with complementaryskills who are committed to a common purpose, a set of performanceobjectives and to common prospects, for which they hold themselvesresponsible (West, 2012). The team concept implies a sense of sharedresponsibility, vision and collective duty. Team members have sharedtasks but in some cases they toil independently with zeal toaccomplish personal goals. Sugarman (2004) states that individual ina team should have a common goal and perform team responsibility asone unit. Sugarman suggests that team members should recognize thattheir accomplishment is pegged on the actions of other members (Salaset al.2001). He asserts that individuals within a given team in anorganization should make sure they are aware of their individualpurpose and are in a position to contribute to specific skills (Westet al.2003). A team that functions as unified unit is likely to realize itsgoals and accomplish organization targets. This paper will discussthe strengths and weaknesses of teamwork in attaining organizationgoals, with special reference to a sports team.
Chary(2004) divideshuman teamwork into three main dimensions: skills, cognition andattitudes. The cognition dimension encompasses information abouttasks such as norms, resources, team mission and objectives. Teamwork skills encompass behaviors such as leadership, adaptability, andperformance monitoring, interpersonal coordination and communicationpatterns while attitudes determine the participant’s feelings aboutthe other team members and encompass aspects such as mutual trust,team cohesion and importance of teamwork. Team cognition at theoutset entails many features that shape and determine thecollaborative process, the cognitive skills needed and eventually thequality of the results. Having an in-depth knowledge on the effectsof these dimensions is crucial to modeling vibrant teamwork and human–agent collaborative processes (Chary, 2004).
Theoreticalwork on the member teamwork describe team behavior as possessing thefollowing elements The members need to share the goals that theorganization (team) want to achieve, share an overall plan that theywill adhere and share knowledge of the operating environment (Dean& Mary, 2015). The members also need to share their intention to implement the planso as to attain the goal, be aware of their abilities and how theycan fulfill the roles needed by the team plan. Finally the membersin a team should be in a position to monitor their own progresstowards the team goal and assess other member’s activities andjoint intentions. Katia and Gita (2006) assert that these are thekey ideas that can support human collaboration and operations of teamto achieve organizational goals.
Honey,S. (2011) suggests an alternative framework to the role of members ina team. Honey indicates that there are five main team roles: leader,challenger, doer, thinker and supporter. All the five roles arecrucial for the team to succeed. On his part Patrick Lencioni putforward five dysfunctions that crimple the operations of a team. Thefive elements are perceived as pitfalls that make a team strong orweak. They include lack of trust, inattention results, lack ofcommitment, fear of conflict and avoidance of accountability (Dean& Mary, 2015).
Ina team situation it is possible to attain synergy, where the group’stotal output surpasses the summation of individual member input(Walton, 2012). Team members regularly assess and add every member’sthinking, meaning that the probability of making grave errors issignificantly reduced and the quality of the decisions made isconsiderably augmented (Stavros& Hinrichs, 2009).A team atmosphere plays a huge role towards creating a conduciveground for interaction, effective problem-solving and improvement. Asevidenced in my participation in the football team, being a teammember makes it possible for members of the team to satisfy moreneeds than working alone. Some of the most salient needs that aresatisfied include affiliation, self-fulfillment, security andself-esteem. Synergies entail the creative collaboration of theindividual team members working together to attain something that maybe beyond the capacities of team members working independently(Robbins,2009).In the football team I realized how difficult it is to attain anymeaningful goal without the total commitment and input from all the23 team members. No matter how talented a player was in the team, thecollective effort was one of the most important aspect for thesuccess of the team.
Teamworkcreates a conducive environment that supports individual members tobecome empowered, self-motivated and satisfied with their tasks(West,2012). Satisfaction at the work place is a very important because it hasalways been linked to positive organizational results (Dean& Mary, 2015).For example, a workforce that is satisfied with their work, are lesslikely to quit, have lower rate of absenteeism and depict aorganizational citizenship behavior. Being in a team makes itpossible for individual to derive more satisfaction than workingalone (West,2012).
Teamwork also provides an excellent opportunity for increasing workforcecommitment, morale, motivation and development of cordialrelationship. It also increases capacity, creativity and innovation(West,2012).For example, it creates a good working relationship between managersand workforce, since every individual participates in decision makingand thus feels a part of the organization.
PersonalityConflict: It is a common phenomenon that team members have differentpersonalities and this can be a source of disagreements (West,2012). In the event where the team leader is not able to prevent suchdisagreements from getting out of hand, the operations of the teamcan be derailed and significantly hampered to the extent that nomeaningful progress can be achieved (Dean& Mary, 2015).Even though the standard procedure is that all thoughts and ideasshould be shared, in some cases it becomes increasingly confusing anddifficult to pick the idea that the group we act upon withoutfrustrating the members whose ideas are rejected (West,2012).For example, conflicts may crop up over queries about individualmember performance and there may be differing views on the scope ofassignment and level of effort.
Oneof the major weaknesses of team work is the pressure that someunhealthy practices exert on members. In some cases there are somepractices that team members are forced to accept as members of aparticular group. The main problem that arises from such practices isthat in some cases they may be coercing members to conform to lowergroup standards of conduct and performance (Robbins,2009). For example, one of the team membersmay be ostracized for being more productive than other members.Social loafing and shirking of individual responsibility is anotherkey problem in team work.
Socialloafing is the conscious and unconscious penchant by some teammembers to shirk duty by withholding efforts towards team goal in theoccasions that they are not individually accountable for their work(Katia & Gita, 006). In the football team where it is notpossible to assess and recognize the individual effort social loafingcan be a big problem. In our football team all members were averageplayers and as such it became extremely difficult to recognize thecontribution of an individual player. Some strikers felt that theyplayed a crucial role because they scored goals that ensured the teamdid not lose, but when the team lost defenders blamed strikers fornot being sharp enough (Swanepoel et al.2008). Individual performance assessment helps to put off socialloafing by offering each team members with feedback on the value andquality of their performance. For example, if onlysome members in the team areperforming most of the work, there are chance that such feelings maycreate an in-group (members working hard) and out-group (members notcontributing as much). Antipathy can easily grow between the twofactions, leading to emotional tensions and less total producvitty.
Manyscholars advice against the implementation of a program that wouldensure that team-based performance procedures are essential for astrong team identity, but it is all to evident from the problemfronted by social loafing that a strong team identity requiredconstant team appraisal (Robbins, 2009). This not only helps improveteam coordination but it also plays a huge role in reducing socialloafing. Nonetheless, team managers and leaders should be meticulousto ensure that individual-level performance assessment does notjeopardize the synergies and interactions benefits that are keybenefits of effective team work (West, 2012).
Anotherkey weakness associated with highly cohesive team is group-thinking.Group-thinking is a situation that occurs when members of the teamhave a tendency of agreeing to a decision that is fronted by amembers, but not on the basis of its merit but due to the fact thatmembers are unwilling to risk rejection for questioning a decision oropinion of the majority or be presenting a dissenting view (West,2012). In such a scenario an individual members opts to abide by thegroup culture by getting along rather than getting things done(Robbins, 2009). The team habitually becomes more concerned withstriving for harmony than with objectively assessing various coursesof action. Nonconforming viewpoints are suppressed in support ofconsensus. The main problem with group-think can only be surmounted by training members of the team to become effective players in theprocess of decision making (West, 2012). For example, if satisfiedand motivated members of the team continually feels others are overlyrelying on them to perfomr most of the assigned tasks, they may optto deliberately lower their workload or at times stop collaboratingwith group members because they dont want to fell exploited by lessproductive members.
Teamworkcan play a key role in helping organizations achieve set goal, butcan also be a source of massive conflicts if caution is not taken.Even though cohesiveness is one of the main desirable features of aquality team, those which are extremely cohesive can also become asource of conflict with other teams. Even though this may not bewitnessed in a sports team, organizations that have many teams shouldbe wary of extreme cohesiveness within a given group of members in ateam. Teams may become so cohesive to the extent that they resemblecliques that accommodate minimal interaction from outside andinfluence. Therefore, cohesive is a key strength for a team but mayhamper an organization’s effort towards the realization of the setgoal and objective. There is a potential for substantial intergroupconflict which may disparage harmony.
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