Teams - Organisational Behaviour

A team ‘is a small number of employees with complementary competencies (abilities, skills and knowledge) who are committed to common performance goals and working relationships for which they hold themselves mutually accountable’.

Two or more people who are interdependent, who share responsibility for outcomes, whosee themselves as (and who are seen by others as) an intact social entity in a larger social system are also called as “Teams”.

When teams are formed,its members must have (or quickly develop) the right mix of complementary competencies to achieve the team’s goals. Also its members need to be able to influence how they will work together to accomplish those goals.

Team Empowerment

The term “team empowerment” refers to the degree to which its members perceive the group as –

  1. Capable of being effective (potency).
  2. Performing important and valuable tasks (meaningfulness).
  3. Having independence and discretion (autonomy)inperforming the work, and
  4. Experiencing a senseof importance and significance (impact)in the work performed and goals achieved.

Types of teams

  1. Functional teams:
  2. They usually represent individuals who work together daily on a cluster of ongoing and independent tasks. Functional teams often exist within functional departments – marketing,production, finance, auditing, human resources and the like.

  3. Problem solving teams:
  4. They focus on specific issues in their areas of responsibility, develop potential solutions, and often are empowered to take actions within defined limits. Such teams frequently address quality or cost problems.

  5. Cross-functional teams:
  6. They bring together the knowledge and skills of people from various work areas to identify and solve mutual problems.They draw members from several specialities or functions and deal with problems that cut across departmental and functional lines to achieve their goals.

    They are often more effective in situations that require adaptability, speed and a focus on responding to customer needs.

  7. Self-managed teams:
  8. They normally consist of employees who must work together effectively daily to manufacture an entire product (or major identifiable component) or service. These teams perform a varietyof managerial tasks, such as,

    • Scheduling work and vacations by members,
    • Rotating tasks and assignments among members,
    • Ordering materials,
    • Deciding on team leadership,
    • Setting key teamgoals,
    • Budgeting
    • Hiring replacements for departing team members, and
    • Evaluating one another’s performance.

Functional, Problem solving, Cross-functional and Self-managed teams are increasingly able tooperate as virtual teams.

A“virtual team” is a group of individuals who collaborate through various information technologies on one or more projects while being at two or more locations. Their team members may be from one or multiple organizations.

Development stages of teams

The formation of effective teams is not automatic. Various conditions for failure or progress occur throughout a team’s development. To provide a sense of these conditions, we present a basic five stages developmental sequence that teams may go through: Forming,Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. These can be explained as under:

  1. Forming stage:
  2. Under this, team members often focus on defining or understanding goals and developing procedures for performing their tasks. Team development at this stage involves, getting acquainted and understanding leadership and other member roles.

  3. Storming stage:
  4. During this stage conflicts emerge over work behaviours, relative priorities of goals, which is to be responsible for what, and the task related guidance and direction of the leader. Some members may withdraw or try to isolate themselves from the emotional tensions generated. The key is to manage the conflicts and not to suppress or withdraw from it. This process involves the development of decision making, interpersonal and technical competencies when they are lacking.

  5. Norming stage:
  6. Work behaviours at this stage evolve into a sharing of information, acceptance of different options and positive attempts to make decisions that may require compromise. During this stage, team members set the rules by which the team will operate. Cooperation and a sense of shared responsibility develop among team members.

  7. Performing stage:
  8. In this, team members show how effectively and efficiently they can achieve results together, that the roles of individual members are accepted and understood. The members have learned when they should work independently and when they should help each other. Some teams learn to develop from their experiences and others may perform only at a level that is needed for their survival.

  9. Adjourning stage:
  10. The termination of work behaviours and disengagement from social behaviours occur during this stage. Some teams such as problem solving or a cross-functional team created to investigate and report on a specific issue within 6 months, have well-defined points of adjournment.

Stages of group development

Stages of group development

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Organisational Behaviour Topics