Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Discuss the concept of Team.

Discuss the concept of Team. Explain various approaches to team development you have came across with respect to your own organization or any organization you are familiar with. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

The concept of team is important, their effectiveness depends, to a large extent, on the teams of which they are members. In modern organisations individuals are required to work in different types of teams. In fact, new organisations can be described as composed of teams. What is a team? A team consists of individuals. However, collection of individuals in a place may be only a crowd. When the individuals come together for certain tasks, then we have formation of a group. The main function of a group is to exchange task- related information and discuss task-related issues. The countability in the group Building Roles and Teams remains of the individual. Each individual brings his/her competencies as well as the relevant information related to the task. Thus the group can be defined as a collection of individuals working in face-to-face relationship to share information and resources for a task to be achieved. The team is qualitatively different from the group in several ways. The team functions almost like an individual. In other words, the team is accountable for results; collective responsibility is taken. There is mutuality and complementarity of the members of the team. The most important characteristics of a team is that it creates synergy, i.e., the performance of the team is more than the collective performance of the individual members. A team can be defined as a group of individuals working in face-to-face relationship for a common goal, having collective accountability for the outcome of its effort.

Teams take time to develop. A team is not formed merely by declaring some individuals as a team. A lot of research has been done on group formation and development, and different theories of groups development have been suggested (e.g.Bennis & Shepard, 1956; Bion, 1961; Gibb, 1964; Schutz, 1958, 1982; Tuckman, 1965; Tuckman & Jensen, 1977; and Yalom, 1970). Tuckman (1977) summarising the various theories suggested five stages of group development. Tuckman’s model has been widely accepted: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Kormanski & Mozenter (1987) integrated the various theories and suggested the following stages of team development. These stages are sequential (each stage is followed by the next one).

1) Awareness: At this stage individuals get to know each other. By knowing the goals of the team they commit themselves to the goals. The members get to know and accept to work together for a goal about which they have enough knowledge.

2) Conflict: At the first stage (awareness) the members know the team goals and accept to work together; but this is at the surface level. At the second stage they search and begin to ask questions. As a result several matters are clarified. They also fight with each and in this process of interaction resolve any hostilities they may have, resulting in the feeling of belonging to the group.

3) Cooperation: In the third stage the members own the team goals and get involved in those goals. Having resolved feelings, they also support each other.

4) Productivity: This is the stage of real achievement of the goals/outcomes, and the team members achieving these objectives feel proud of their achievement.

5) Separation: Having accomplished the goals or the outcomes, some task-specific teams may decide to get dissolved, or a time-bound time comes to a close. The excellent work done by the members is recognised, and the team members have a high sense of satisfaction of working with each other. This is the stage of closure of the team, or closure of one task on which the team was working.

Some of the approaches are as follows:

1) Johari Window Approach : According to this approach team building will involve helping individuals to take risk and frankly express their opinions and reactions, help them to accept feedback from others with enough opportunity to explore further and increasing their sensitivity to and perceptiveness of others’ needs and orientations. This can be done by developing a profile of a team based on individual members responses to an instrument (eg. The Instrument in Pareek, 2002).

2) Role Negotiation Approach: Team building can be done by using role negotiation (Harrison, 1971). Members of the team share each others’ images and then list expectations of what they would like the other group to continue to do, stop or reduce, and start or increase doing something which will make ones own group more effective. Based on such expectations negotiation between the two teams are to develop more and more collaboration between the two teams.

3) Team Roles Approach: As already mentioned Belbin (1981) suggested eight ‘team roles’ which ople take (chairman/coordinator, shaper, plant, monitor/ evaluator, company worker, resource investigator, team worker, completor/ finisher). Team building can be done by setting up effective teams and developing teams (Pareek, 1993).

4) Behaviour Modification Approach: Team building can also be done by helping people to become more effective in their individual orientations. . Collaboration depends on the individual’s orientation styles and attitudes. According to this approach some instruments (Pareek, 2002) are used to help individuals examine their styles and orientation and then increase their own effectiveness by modifying their behaviour. This is seen as an important way to nhance individuals’ potential for collaboration and team building. Using the concept of power, as already suggested, an instrument (Pareek, 2002) can be used to help team members examine their bases of power, and plan to increase their persuasive power.

5) Simulation Approach: Team building can be attempted by creating artificial teams in which people have an opportunity to experiment and learn from their behaviour in less threatening context. Various games or exercises are used for this purpose, like Broken Squares, Hollow Square, Win As Much As You Can, Maximising Your Gains etc. (Pareek & Rao, 1991). After people participate in such games they also discuss how similar dynamics operate in their backhome situation, and how they can use their learnings from simulations to make theirown teams effective.

6) Action Research Approach: In this approach team building is done through several steps which are generally taken in action research or organization development. Dyer (1978) has used this approach in his elaborate discussion of team building through five stages: data strengthening, data analysis, action planning, implementation, evaluation. In this approach diagnosis is done on the basis of questionnaires, interviews or observations. The steps involved in action research and OD are taken in this approach.

7) Appreciative Inquiry Approach: In this approach emphasis is given more on the positive aspects, including inspiring future dreams or goods, and appreciating positive qualities in each other. Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 1999) has become quite popular as a method of increasing collaboration amongst people for building strong teams.

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