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Understanding Work Teams

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1 Understanding Work Teams
©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

2 Learning Outcomes Learn why work teams are popular in organizations
Review the five stages of team development Compare work groups and work teams Identify four common types of work teams ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

3 Learning Outcomes List the traits of high-performing work teams
Learn how organizations create team players Explain how management can keep teams from becoming stagnant Analyze the role of teams in continuous process improvement programs ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

4 The Popularity of Teams
Performance Efficiency Job Satisfaction Evidence suggests that teams out perform individuals on tasks that require multiple skills, judgment, and experience. As organizations restructure themselves to compete more effectively and efficiently, they are turning to teams as a better way to utilize the talents of employees. Management has found that teams are more flexible and responsive to a changing environment because they can be quickly assembled, deployed, refocused, and disbanded. In addition, teams promote job satisfaction through enhancing employee involvement, increasing employee morale, and promoting work force diversity. Also, superior work teams are fundamental to TQM. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

5 Stages of Team Development
Prestage I Stage I Forming Stage II Storming Team development is a dynamic, ongoing process that can be broken into five stages: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The first stage, forming, is characterized by uncertainty about the team’s purpose, structure, and leadership. This stage is when members begin to think of themselves as a team. The storming stage involves intragroup conflict over individual roles and leadership. This stage is complete when there is relatively clear leadership within the team. In the norming stage, close relationships and group cohesiveness develop. This stage is complete when the team’s structure solidifies and members have accepted group norms that pertain to workplace behavior. In the fourth stage, performing, the structure is fully functional and accepted by all team members. For permanent teams, performing is the last stage. For temporary teams, though, the final stage is adjourning, and the team wraps-up activities and prepares to disband. Stage III Norming Stage IV Performing Stage V Adjourning ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

6 Comparing Work Groups and Work Teams
Share information Neutral (may be negative) Individual Random and varied Goal Synergy Accountability Skills Collective performance Positive Individual and mutual Complementary A group is two or more interdependent individuals who interact to achieve particular objectives. A work group interacts primarily to share information and make decisions that will help group members to perform their on-the-job responsibilities. A work team generates positive synergy through coordinated effort. The figure above highlights the differences between work groups and work teams. In an effort to obtain synergy that can boost performance, many organizations have recently restructured work processes around teams. The use of teams creates the potential for an organization to generate greater outputs with no increase in inputs. But there is nothing “magical” in the creation of teams that assures the achievement of positive synergy. And merely calling a group a team does not automatically increase its performance. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

7 Types of Work Teams Problem-solving Functional Self-managed
Cross-functional Virtual Problem-Solving Teams meet periodically to share ideas and suggest improvements to work processes and methods. Quality circles are problem solving teams that consist of eight to ten employees and supervisors who assume responsibility for solving quality problems. These teams recommend their solutions to management for final approval. Functional teams are composed of a manager and the employees in his or her unit. Functional teams are often formed to improve work-related activities or to solve specific problems within a particular functional unit. Self-managed work teams consist of ten to fifteen people who assume the responsibilities of their former supervisors: such as, controlling the pace of work, organizing breaks, determining work assignments, choosing inspection procedures, and choosing and evaluating members. These teams implement their own suggestions and take responsibility for the outcomes. On cross-functional teams, equally ranked employees from different functional areas work together to accomplish a task. Cross-functional teams expedite the following: exchanging ideas from diverse areas within or between organizations, developing new ideas and solving problems, and coordinating complex projects. Virtual teams are an extension of electronic meetings. Team members use communication technology to meet or solve problems without concern for time or space. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

8 Effective Teams Clear Goals Unified Commitment Good Communication
Relevant Skills Mutual Trust Negotiating Skills Effective Leadership High-performance work teams clearly understand the goal to be achieved. And they believe that the goal is worthwhile or important enough to redirect energy away from personal concerns and toward team goals. These teams are made up of competent individuals who have relevant technical skills, can work well with others, and can readjust their skills—called job-morphing—to fit the needs of the team. Effective teams are also characterized by high mutual trust among members who have made a unified commitment to be intensely loyal and dedicated to the team. Good communication is essential for high-performance teams. Members use verbal and nonverbal techniques to convey messages clearly. High-performance teams tend to be flexible and continually make adjustments. Therefore, team members need effective negotiating skills to confront and reconcile differences. Because they can clarify goals and increase self-confidence in team members, effective leaders are essential to successful teams. The best leaders are not directive or controlling; rather, they are coaches or facilitators. Finally, effective teamwork is promoted by a supportive environment: for example, one that values openness, honesty, collaboration, and employee involvement and autonomy. Internal Support External Support ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

9 Challenges of Creating Team Players
Individual Preferences National Culture Work Environments Not every worker is inherently a team player. In fact, some individuals prefer to be recognized for their individual achievements. Furthermore, work environments in some organizations are such that “only the strong survive.” Finally, countries differ in terms of how conducive they are to individualism and collectivism. Teams fit well with countries that score high on collectivism, such as Japan. However, it is challenging to introduce teams into a work population that is made up of employees born and raised in a highly individualistic society, such as the United States. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

10 Key Roles on Teams Adviser Linker Creator Promoter Assessor Organizer
There are nine potential team roles. 1. An adviser encourages the search for more information. 2. A linker coordinates and integrates team functions. 3. A creator initiates creative ideas. 4. A promoter champions ideas after they are initiated. 5. An assessor offers insightful analysis of opinions. 6. An organizer provides structure. 7. A producer provides direction and follow-through. 8. A controller examines details and enforces rules. 9. A maintainer fights external battles. Successful work teams have people to fill all of these roles and have selected them based on their skills and preferences. On many teams, members will play multiple roles. By matching individual preferences with team role demands, managers can increase the likelihood that team members will work well together. Producer Controller Maintainer ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

11 Shaping Team Behavior Selecting Training Rewarding
While some workers will not be trainable, the most popular methods for turning individuals into team players are proper selection, employee training, and rewarding appropriate team behaviors. When hiring team members, managers should ensure that individuals can fulfill team roles as well as technical requirements. Even independent workers can be trained to become team players through workshops that cover team problem solving, communications, negotiations, conflict resolution, the five stages of team development, and coaching skills. The reward system must encourage cooperation rather than competition. For instance, promotions, pay raises, and other forms of recognition should be not only based on individual excellence but also on collaboration and team work. Also, teamwork can be its own reward because it is exciting and satisfying to be an integral part of a successful team. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

12 Reinvigorating Mature Teams
Preparation Refresher Training Effective teams can become stagnant, initial enthusiasm can turn to apathy, and diverse perspectives can be replaced by cohesiveness or groupthink. Another problem area for a mature team could be that its early success was earned by solving easy problems. As the problems get more complex, mature teams may try to handle them with established processes and routines. This can cause conflicts that hinder communication and inhibit the performance of the team. Managers can use four techniques to invigorate a mature team. First, prepare the members of the team to deal with the problems that will surface as their team matures. Second, offer refresher training in communication, conflict resolution, or team processes. Third, offer advanced training in problem-solving, interpersonal, and technical skills. Fourth, encourage teams to treat their development as a constant learning experience. Advanced Training Constant Learning ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

13 Contemporary Team Issues
Continuous Improvement Workforce Diversity Contemporary Team Issues One of the central characteristics of continuous process improvement is the use of teams. Ford Motor Company began its continuous improvement efforts in the early 1980s, and teams were the primary organizing mechanism. When designing the quality problem-solving teams, Ford’s management realized that the teams should be (1) small enough to be efficient and effective, (2) be properly trained in the skills their members will need, (3) be allocated enough time to work on the problems they plan to address, (4) be given the authority to resolve the problems and implement corrective action, and (5) have a designated “champion” whose job it is to help the team get around roadblocks. Managing diversity on teams is a balancing act. Diversity typically provides fresh perspectives on issues, but it makes it harder to unify the team and reach agreements. When solving problems or making decisions, heterogeneous teams bring multiple perspectives into play, thereby increasing the likelihood that the team will identify creative or unique solutions. In addition, the lack of a common perspective causes diverse teams to spend more time discussing issues, which minimizes the chances that a weak alternative will be chosen. A potential problem with diversity is that it may be detrimental to cohesiveness. However, the relationship between cohesiveness and productivity can be moderated by performance-related norms. If the norms of the team support diversity, the team can maximize the value of heterogeneity while achieving the benefits of high cohesiveness. ©Prentice Hall, 2001 Chapter 9

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