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Chapter 12 Understanding Work Teams

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1 Chapter 12 Understanding Work Teams

2 Learning Outcomes Define perception and describe the factors that can shape or distort perception Explain how managers can shape employee behaviour State how roles and norms influence employees’ behaviour Describe how group size affects group behaviour (continued) 3

3 Learning Outcomes (continued)
Explain the growing popularity of work teams in organizations Describe the five stages of team development Contrast work groups with work teams Identify four common types of work teams (continued) 3

4 Learning Outcomes (continued)
List the characteristics of high-performing work teams Discuss how organizations can create team players Explain how managers can keep teams from becoming stagnant Describe the role of teams in continuous process improvement programs 4

5 Perception Process Organizing Interpreting Impressions
Meaning to the environment Before we can understand how groups and teams work, it is important to understand perception. Perception is a process by which we organize and interpret our sensory impressions to give meaning to the world around us. For example, if you look around and see people with their head down you might perceive that they aren’t listening. On the other hand, you also might perceive that they are concentrating and attempting to understand the materials being presented to you. 5

6 Factors That Can Influence Perception
The perceiver The situation The target But what influences perception. The perceiver can be influenced by his or her personality, past experiences, and expectations. Likewise, if you are looking at me, how you perceive me will be reflective of my experiences and background. For example, if I am speaking very loudly and you have had bad experiences with loud individuals, you may ignore me. Likewise, if you’ve had good experiences with loud people, you may decide to sit-up and listen more carefully. The situation we are in also influences how we perceive. For example, if this room were too hot or too cold, you may perceive what I’m saying and doing differently than if the temperature were just right.

7 Attribution Theory and Individual Behaviour
Interpretation Attribution of Cause Observation High External Distinctiveness Attribution Theory and Individual Behaviour Low Internal High External Consensus Low Internal When we observe people, we attempt to develop explanations of why people behave in certain ways. Our perceptions and judgments will besignificantly influenced by the assumptions we make about the person’s internal state. This is the field of attribution theory. Attribution theory has been developed to explain how we judge people differently depending on the meaning we attribute to a given behaviour. By observing behaviour, we attempt to determine whether the behaviour is internally or externally caused. We believe that internally caused behaviours are under an individual’s control; externally caused behaviours are motivated by outside forces. How we determine the source of behaviour is determined by three factors: distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency. Distinctiveness refers to whether an individual displays different behaviours in different situations. I An example is how we person an employee who arrives late for work today: do you see that person as goofing off or do you believe they had trouble finding a place to park? If you believe the person is goofing off, you would feel that the person is being internally controlled. If everyone who is faced with a similar situation responds in the same way, we can say the behaviour shows consensus. For example, the person who is late. If lots of people had trouble parking and were late, you would attribute the cause to an external situation. This would be high consensus. Finally, an observer looks for consistency in a person’s actions. Is the same person always late? If so, the person may be perceived differently than if the person is infrequently late. The figure above summarizes the key elements in attribution theory. Managers should remember that errors and biases can distort attributions. High External Consistency Low Internal 7

8 Attribution Errors Fundamental Attribution Error Self-serving Bias
For instance, fundamental attribution error is underestimating the influence of external factors and overestimating the influence of internal factors. For example, assuming that the person is late all the time because she or he isn’t interested in the work rather than finding out that the shift starts when the parking is totally full. Also, attributing success to internal factors and failure to external factors is called self-serving bias. For example, an employee may believe that the boss is out to get them even though the person has consistently turned in poor sales results. 8

9 Judgmental Shortcuts Selectivity Self-Fulfilling Assumed Prophecy
Similarity Judgmental Shortcuts Stereotyping Halo Effect The shortcuts that managers use to evaluate others are useful and quick, but not foolproof. Because managers cannot assimilate everything, their perceptions are biased by selectivity: that is, what they perceive is selectively chosen depending on their interests, backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes. In assumed similarity, or the “like-me effect,” managers’ perceptions of others are influenced more by their own characteristics than by those of the person observed. When managers judge someone based on their perception of a group to which the person belongs, they are stereotyping. When they base their impressions of an individual on a single characteristic, such as intelligence or appearance, managers are being influenced by the halo effect. A final short-cut involves a manager’s expectations. The self-fulfilling prophecy or the Pygmalion effect involves how a manager perceives others and how those persons behave in ways that are consistent with the manager’s expectations. An example of this would be a manager expecting that all employees will be outstanding performers and getting high results. 9

10 Managers and Perception
People react to perceptions Reality is perception It is important for managers to understand that employees react to perceptions--not to reality. In fact, it is critical that managers consider that perception is THE reality. If an employee perceives that there is unfair treatment, it doesn’t matter what the facts are--the manager must deal with the perception. Therefore, it is important for managers to pay close attention to how employees perceive their jobs and management practices. A valued employee can quit if the perceive things are not as they would be. 10

11 Shaping Behaviour Positive reinforcement Negative reinforcement
Punishment Extinction When managers attempt to mold individuals by guiding their learning in graduated steps, they are shaping behaviour. Managers shape behavioor by systematically reinforcing each successive step that moves an employee closer to the desired response. There are several methods managers can use to shape the desired behaviour. Behavioor can be shaped in four ways: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Following a response with something pleasant is called positive reinforcement. For example, a manager praising an employee for a job well-done. Following a response by the termination or withdrawal of something unpleasant is called negative reinforcement. An example of this would be for a manager to continually criticize an employee for being unpleasant to customers. Punishment is causing an unpleasant condition in an attempt to eliminate the undesirable behavior. Using our previous example, punishment would be actually disciplining an employee for being rude to customers. Eliminating any reinforcement that is maintaining behaviour is called extinction. An example of this would be to ignore those of you in the audience when you raise your hand to ask question. My continual ignoring of your behaviour will eventually result in you not raising your hand. Both positive and negative reinforcement result in learning; however, both punishment and extinction weaken behaviour and decrease its frequency. 11

12 Attitudes and Behaviour
Consistent Alignment “Walk the Talk” Is it necessary for the manager’s attitudes and behaviours to be consistent? Research has shown that employees seek consistency between what the manager says and what the manager does. If an employee believes there is no alignment between words and actions and that the manager does “not walk the talk,” the employee may change behaviour to match that of the boss or else by rationalizing the discrepancy by concluding, for example, that the manager can’t be trusted. 12

13 Group Two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve objectives Groups can be either formal or informal. Formal groups are work groups established by the organization that have designated assignments and established tasks. Behaviours are stipulated by and directed toward organizational goals.

14 Basic Group Concepts Group roles Group norms
Set of expected behaviour patterns Attributable to someone who occupies a given position in a social unit Group norms Acceptable standards Shared by group members As we move into understanding group behaviour, it is important to have a basic foundation on group concepts. When we play a role, we engage in a set of expected behaviour patterns that are attributed to occupying a given position in a social unit. Role research has concluded the following: 1. People play multiple roles. 2. People learn roles from the stimuli around them. 3. People shift roles rapidly according to situational demands. People experience conflict when one role contradicts another. An individual who is confronted by a difference in role expectations is experiencing role conflict. For example, if an employee in a group was asked to lead the group and then another person tried to run meetings or give instructions, the designated employee may experience conflict with the assigned role. Acceptable standards of group behaviour that are shared by the group’s members are called norms. When accepted by the group, norms influence the group’s behaviour with a minimum of external controls. Groups will exert pressure upon members to bring their behaviour into conformity with the standards of the group. Since members desire acceptance by the group, they are susceptible to these conformity pressures.

15 Asch Study Solomon Asch’s classic study demonstrated the following: people desire to be one of the group and to avoid being different, so they feel pressure to conform. Look at the above boxes. Asch prepared two sets of cards with the above lines on the cards. The difference in lengths between A, B, and C is quite obvious. During the original test, almost everyone stated openly that Line A was the same length as Line X. Then in the next experiment, Asch had asked several participants, unknown to others, to indicate that Line C was the same as Line X. As the 2nd experiment proceeded, many people began to agree with the wrong line as they were unwilling to publicly state that another in the group had been in error. C X B A 14

16 Basic Group Concepts (continued)
Formal Basic Group Concepts (continued) Status Informal Large Additional group concepts include status and size. Status is a prestige grading, position, or rank within a group. Status can be a powerful motivator to individuals if they perceive that others do not share their personal impression of their status. Status may be informally conferred because of education, age, skill, or experience. But, it is important for employees to believe that the organization’s formal status system is congruent; that is, an equity between the perceived ranking of an individual and his or her “status symbols.” Large groups with a dozen or more members are good for gaining diverse input; but, groups of about seven members are more effective for taking action. As groups get incrementally larger, the contribution of individual members lessens. For example, while total productivity in a group of four is greater than in a group of two, individual productivity declines. The reason for this decline may be social loafing: the tendency for individuals to expend less energy when working collectively than working individually. The idea of social loafing challenges some stereotypes: that team spirit engenders individual effort and enhances productivity, and that group productivity should at least equal the sum of the productivity of the individual group members. Therefore, managers who use collective work situations to enhance morale and promote teamwork must also identify individual efforts. Size Small 15

17 Cohesiveness-Productivity Relationship
High Low Strong Increase in Productivity Moderate Increase No Significant Effect on Productivity Decrease in Productivity High Alignment of Group and Org. Goals Groups differ in cohesiveness: the degree to which members are motivated to stay in the group. Usually, the more cohesive the group, the more members will follow its goals. Studies have shown that the relationship of cohesiveness to productivity depends on the performance-related norms established by the group; but, the relationship between cohesiveness and effectiveness is complex. A key moderating variable is the degree to which the group’s goals align with the organization’s formal goals. Managers can use the following techniques to encourage group cohesiveness: 1. Make the group smaller. 2. Encourage agreement with group goals. 3. Increase the time team members spend together. 4. Increase the perceived status of the group and of attaining membership. 5. Stimulate competition with other groups. 6. Give rewards to the group rather than to members. 7. Physically isolate the group. Low 16

18 Why Are Teams So Popular?
Outperform individuals Increased use of employee talents Flexible and responsive Quickly assembled Increased job satisfaction Twenty years ago you would not have found many occasions where organizations used teams. Today is a different story. Very few organizations do not use teams. But why? Teams can outperform individuals when tasks require multiple skills, judgment and experience. Also, teams can make more use of the many talents employees have. Teams are more flexible and responsive to a changing environment; they can also be assembled, deployed, refocused, and disbanded more quickly. Because teams can have increased performance, employees in the teams tend to have increased job satisfaction. 17

19 Stages of Team Development
Forming Storming Norming Performing Adjourning Team development is a dynamic process. You don’t put a group of people together today and expect them to function effectively tomorrow. And truly effective teams will continue to grow and develop. Teams group through various stages of development. Stage 1 is forming--characterized by a great deal of uncertainty about the purpose and structure of the group and who is going to lead the group. This is also where team members test themselves to see what behaviours and standards are acceptable. Step 2 is the storming stage. This is the stage where many teams get stuck--conflict emerges and there is tension about who will lead and who will do what. If teams are not aware of this stage and take active steps to move beyond, conflict will begin to break down any positive synergies of the group. Step 3 is the norming stage--close relationships develop and members begin to demonstrate cohesiveness. There is a stronger sense of team identity. Stage 4 is where the structure and relationships are fully functional and the team is able to produce the results expected. The last stage--adjourning--will occur if the team has been brought together for a specific purpose. However, if the team is on-going, this stage will be by-passed. 18 9

20 Teams vs. Groups Synergy Collective performance Goal Share information
Neutral Positive Individual and mutual Accountability Individual But aren’t groups and teams the same? No. Work groups interact primarily to share information and to make decisions that will help each member perform within his or her own area of responsibility. However, a team is a group that engages in collective work that requires joint effort, joint accountability, and positive synergy. In organizations today, management is looking for the positive synergy between people that will help improve overall performance. Since teams don’t just happen, we’ll examine later what elements help teams be effective. Complementary Random and varied Skills 19

21 Functional Team One of the more common teams in an organization is a functional team--a work team composed of a manager and the employees in the work unit. They are involved in efforts to improve work activities or solve specific problems within the unit. Within this type of team, issues such as authority, leadership, and decision-making are relatively simple and clear. 20

22 Problem-Solving Team ? Another type of team is a problem-solving team. This is a team, typically composed of 5-12 employees from the same department, who meet and discuss ways to improve quality, efficiently, and the work environment. During the 1980s, the most visible example of this type of team was the quality circle. However, these teams usually did not have the authority to implement any of their suggestions. The solutions are forwarded to more senior managers for approval and implementation. 21

23 Self-managed Work Team
Another common type of team in today’s organization is the self-directed or self-managed team. This is a group of employees that operates without a manager and is responsible for a complete work process or segment that delivers a product or service to the customer. A good example is the Saturn Car Company where a self-directed team is responsible for the complete production of a car. 22

24 Cross-Functional Team
The fourth type of team discussed will be the cross-functional team, which consists of employees from about the same hierarchical level but from different units in the organization. They are usually brought together to perform a specific task or undertake a particular project. These types of teams are a good way to allow and encourage employees from very different areas in the organization to exchange information and ideas. 23

25 Virtual Team Technology
A very new form of team is the virtual team--which is the extension of electronic meetings as mentioned in Chapter 4. A virtual team allows groups to meet without concern for space or time and enables the organization to link employees together in ways that would have been impossible in the past. Only with the rise of technological advancements have companies been able to ignore physical distance to bring people together.

26 Effective Teams Unified Commitment Good Clear Goals Communication
Relevant Skills Effective Teams Mutual Trust Negotiating Skills Effective Leadership What can organizations or managers do to create high-performance work teams? Research undertaken on effective teams has concluded that there are several characteristics that make an effective team. Teams must have a clear understanding the goal and a belief that it embodies a worthwhile or important result. Teams must be unified in their commitment to the result. There must be good communication between team members. This includes the ability to discuss openly any conflicts or issues. Team members must believe in each members integrity, character and ability--team trust. Team members need to have effective leadership--and this doesn’t mean controlling or directing. It is important for teams to be guided and supported. The climate for the team to work in must be supportive--both internal to the team and external. This includes proper training and performance systems. Team members will need to be flexible and continually make adjustments. As a consequence members will need negotiating skills in order to confront and deal with problems. And it is critical that the team composition have the relevant skills to not only accomplish the task but to do it in a positive way. The skills include both technical and interpersonal skills. Internal Support External Support 25

27 Challenges of Creating Team Players
Individuals Culture Communication Turning individuals into team players can be a tremendous challenge for managers. For years, people have succeeded and been rewarded based on their individual abilities and performance. Therefore, for individuals to learn to function in a team setting, the team needs to be rewarded for its performance--not just the individuals on the team. There is also the challenge of communication. Individuals must be able to openly share and communicate--both feelings and thoughts. This is not easy for some people. Lastly, the challenge of creating a team will depend on the cultural background. For individuals who have a national culture that is highly individualistic, creating a team can be problematic. However, if the manager is putting a team together in a culture with high collective views, then this will be minimized. 26

28 Shaping Team Behaviour
Rewards Learning Selection For managers to shape team behaviour, they must focus on 3 areas. It is important to select people that have the appropriate interpersonal skills to function effectively in a team environment. In addition, individuals will need to learn new behaviours that are appropriate to the team. Training is an important component of making this happen. The organization’s reward system needs to encourage team work rather than individual or competitive work. Therefore, if team behaviours are important, it is not a good idea to promote or reward an individual who continually demonstrates poor team behaviours. 28

29 Reinvigorating Mature Teams
Prepare Train Team Even though a team may be performing well, there is no guarantee that this will continue. Therefore, it is important for managers to look for ways to reinvigorate mature teams. Among the things that can be done are: Preparation--remind teams that they will mature and may fall into ruts. Have a variety of interventions, including refreshers on communication techniques, to help them through. Advanced training can provide new skills for mature teams. This way they can develop stronger problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Encourage teams to treat their development as a continuous and on-going learning experience. Encourage 29

30 Contemporary Team Issues
Continuous improvement programs Workforce diversity There are two major contemporary team issues. One of this continuous process improvement programs such as TQM. Employee participation is the linchpin and these programs require managers to encourage employees to share ideas and act on those suggestions. Only the environment that supports high-performance teams can make this happen. Thus, teams are a natural result of improvement programs. While diversity can provide fresh perspectives on issues, it can also be more difficult to unify the team and reach agreement. Where diverse backgrounds and ideas can work best is in problem-solving and decision-making tasks on the teams. 30

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