Student paper – Advantage and disadvantage of teams

Contents

1.0 Introduction 2

2.0 Team development stage 3

2.1 Five stage of team development 3

2.2 The importance of storming stage 4

2.2.1 Team background and team members 4

2.2.2 Storming stage’s importance 5

3.0 Team roles 6

3.1 Task specialist and socio-emotional roles 6

3.2 Socio-emotional role and team’s effectiveness 7

3.2.1 Team effectiveness 7

3.2.2 Relationship between socio-emotional role and team effectiveness 7

4.0 Relationships between cohesiveness and team performance 10

4.1 Team cohesiveness 10

4.2 Positive relationships between team cohesiveness and performance 11

4.3 Negative relationships between team cohesiveness and performance 12

4.4 Team cohesiveness and team performance in the academic team 13

5.0 Advantage and disadvantage of teams 15

5.1 Advantage of teams 15

5.2 Disadvantage of teams 16

5.3 Situation analysis 16

6.0 Conclusion 19

Reference 20

1.0 Introduction

As Michaela et al. (2008) and Hayes (2002) claimed it is more effective to manage teams rather than manage individuals for managers. And the effective teams can assist organizations to fulfill its business goal and have satisfied performance. The rationale behind this opinion is because well managed team could help each team members correct their mistakes and avoid some misconducts as well as problematic behavior to unite them together working towards a common goal. That’s why one of the primary jobs for managers in organizations is to manage team via focusing on their needs, moving misunderstanding, examining working process, offering proper incentives, and deflecting improper actions as well as assisting where needed (Michaela et al. 2008).

Good managers can offer appropriate support to their teams, which is also as a key factor for the effectiveness and productivity of teams. As the survey conducted by Daft (2008) shows that team would be more productive when team members felt supported by their managers and less productive when sensed hostility and negativism. In another words, teams which are well managed may create high performance norms led to amazing results.

The above discussion all shows the same idea that it is an important job for managers to manage their teams with proper means which could help these managers have good achievements. New Dynamic Institute will be used as the practical case in this essay, which is an education group focusing on English training for Chinese people with more than 29 training centers in several cities of China (New Dynamic Institute 2009).

2.0 Team development stage

2.1 Five stage of team development

Daft (2010) mentioned in the book that there are five major steps for teams to development including forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. The first stage, namely forming stage is the ice break period for team members and the opportunities as well as challenges for their tasks are learned by each member under the agreement of common goals, during which it is necessary for managers to facilitate the social interchanges of these team members. The storming stage is marked by conflict and disagreement, which the managers had better help team members justify their continued participation via encouraging the participation. The third stage, that is to say the norming stage more concentrates on establishing of the order and cohesion inside the team to build harmony and unity working atmosphere via the resolving of differences from each team members by the manager. During the performing stage, team members mainly focusing on solving problems and fulfilling the appointed tasks. The final stage for team development is the adjourning stage which is mainly for the disbandment of the team, which requires the managers to comfort team members’ sadness of disbandment.

2.2 The importance of storming stage

According to Wilson et al. (2010), the storming stage of team development plays the most significant role in team building for education industry and requires the special attention from the manager. As the above mentioned company New Dynamic Institute, in which there are a variety of teams working at different tasks and goals, from which the academic team in corporate department will be used as the example in this essay.

2.2.1 Team background and team members

The academic team is often made up of five characters including one administrative staff, one curriculum designer, several instructors depending on the length of teaching period and size of courses, one course consultant and one support crew, which are aimed at offering satisfactory courses to meet different needs of the customer companies. While due to the diverse needs of the customers, the academic team is often short termed once the course contract is expired, it often adjourns. Meanwhile, most of the time duration for these contracts is often from 3 months to half a year, which requires an effective operated academic team. But there were often several conflicts between the team members from the time to time in the past, largely decreasing the customer satisfaction and renew rates, which directly reduced the revenue of this department. (New Dynamic Institute2009)

2.2.2 Storming stage’s importance

To alleviate the conflicts and build harmonious atmosphere inside the academic team, managers of New Dynamic Institute often emphasizes the storming stage a lot at the present. Because the academic team is aimed at making good teaching performance to satisfy its customers, it requires a thorough understanding among each member. For instance, the responsibility of course consultant is to have a deliberate communication with the customers and then deliver the information to course designer and administrative staff to carry out the blueprint of the entire courses and pick up the proper instructors for teaching. And then the appointed course instructors get the course outlines and requirements from the course designers. When the teaching process, the support crew will facilitate the course consultant to get immediate feedback from the customer company to other team members in order to smoothing the teaching practice. (New Dynamic Institute2009)

Such kind of close relationship among each team members requires the full communication of each member which is caught by the sharp eyed manager. He largely encourages the full participation of each team member to show their ideas and then tends to give proper guidance to the academic team on decision making and professional behavior. (New Dynamic Institute 2009)

Thanks to the great attention paid to the storming stage, most of the conflicts are removed quickly once they emerged and the team members will therefore resolve some differences and cooperate with each other more comfortably, which largely facilitate the rest stages and the effectiveness of the team work. (New Dynamic Institute2009)

3.0 Team roles

3.1 Task specialist and socio-emotional roles

The roles for team member are defined as two types in the book Daft (2010) such as the task specialist role and the socioemotional role. Team members play the roles as task specialists spend most of their time and energy in assisting their team to achieve the target. There are series of behaviors performed by this kind of team members including initiating ideas to solve team problems, giving opinions on the solution of tasks, searching task related information, summarizing ideas for problem solution, energizing the teams during the time of adversity. In terms of socioemotional role played by team members, people more take care of offering the support to the emotional needs of team members and strengthening the social entity, such as encouragement on team members to have good performance, harmonizing the atmosphere via helping disagreeing parities reach agreement, reducing tension, following the guidance of the team and compromising to maintain team harmony.

On the basis of the survey from Aritzeta et al. (2005), it suggests that there are different requirements for the team roles at different stages of its development, for instance, more developed teams will have a better development by owning proper specialist knowledge.

3.2 Socio-emotional role and team’s effectiveness

3.2.1 Team effectiveness

Team effectiveness can be defined as reaching four kinds of performance outcomes such as innovation, efficiency, quality and employee satisfaction. Innovation refers to the degree to which teams affect the ability of organization to learn and respond to environmental change rapidly. Efficiency means if the team helps the organization attain goals by using fewer resources. Quality pertains to exceeding customer expectations and achieving fewer defects. Satisfaction refers to ability of the team to maintain employee commitment and enthusiasm depending on meeting the personal needs of its members. And the team members’ roles have a close relationship with team’s effectiveness. In a well functioned team, members often play the dual roles both as task specialists and socioemotional roles contributing great high productivity to their team. Generally speaking effective teams must have members in not only task specialist roles but also socioemotional roles. (Daft 2008; Chatfield et al. 2004)

3.2.2 Relationship between socio-emotional role and team effectiveness

As we have discussed in the above the academic team of New Dynamic Institute, its manager emphasize the storming stage for team development so much because of the conflicts and disputes inside the team. In terms of the professional skills of these members including administrative staff, curriculum designer, instructors, course consultant and support crew in the academic team, most of them owns enough professional skills. For example, most of the instructors including both foreign teachers and Chinese instructors have rich teaching experience and professional teaching skills such as class teaching ability and research ability. And most of the course designers have teaching experience before and good capacity of course designing. The course consultants own lots of selling experience from their former working experience, which offers them professional interpersonal skills. Compared with these people, the support crew is relatively weak because most of them are fresh college graduates who are shortage of working experience and some of the professional skills. As referring to the administrative staff, although they own sufficient professional knowledge, it is necessary for them to enhance their communication ability and the capacity of taking the whole situation into account and planning accordingly.

In addition to the professional knowledge of these members in the academic team of New Dynamic Institute, we should also take their personality into account. Most of these team members are people not more than 40 years old and they all dare to show their opinions and sell themselves out. Although the positive working attitude is worth praising, the over focusing on individual performance and ignorance the cooperation with other team members may result in low team performance and effectiveness.

Les’s take one of the training project on BASF company for instance. On the basis of the learning requirement of BSF Company, the course consultant, designer and the administrative staff had carried out a proper teaching process and context. What the instructor need was to present class to the customers on the based on the designed course context. While due to the course instructors found the course context wasn’t interesting enough, he modified the context by himself and present the course to customers on the basis of his willing without informing the academic team in advance. Although he meant to have a better performance, all the other team members appeared caught off guard when customers asking why the course context is changes without former notice.

Such kind of situation inside of the academic team do requires the socioemotional role much more than the task specialist role. Such as the behavior of harmonizing inside of the socioemotional role of team members can help each member in the academic group feel free to share their personal ideas and then reconcile their disputes and conflicts to a large extent. for example, since the instructor thought the course context isn’t good enough, he could have a deliberate communication and discussion with other members, and then reach a agreement, which not only help the academic teams reconcile their disputes but also present better teaching performance on the basis of each member’s brain storming essences. Furthermore, the compromise behavior rooted from socioemotional role is also important for team’s effectiveness. For instance, if the instructor in the academic team consider the entire team rather than his personal performance, in other word, the instructor can shift his opinion of changing the course context himself to maintain the harmony of the academic team, which would also help the team have a normal performance but not a bad performance and low team effectiveness. (Margerison 2002; Wilson, et al. 2010)

By and large as Margerison (2002) and Wilson, et al. (2010) described in their research that the socio-emotional role for teams to remove their conflicts and reach an agreement to work together towards common goals and largely enhance their productivity and effectiveness especially when team members are highly task oriented like the team members in the academic team of New Dynamic Institute.

4.0 Relationships between cohesiveness and team performance

4.1 Team cohesiveness

Team cohesiveness can be defined as the extent to which members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal. In the highly cohesive teams, members are committed to team goals and activities with the feeling that they are involved in something crucial and are glad when the team succeed and at the same time members of less cohesive teams are less concerned about the welfare of their team.

4.2 Positive relationships between team cohesiveness and performance

As Daft (2008) claimed that team cohesiveness can have a good influence on the working morale and productivity which results in satisfactory team performance, which plays an important role in binding team members together. As Thurm (2005), an organization can’t function well without the cohesive factor of teams. The advantages of team cohesiveness on the team performance are as follows.

At first, team cohesiveness heavily enhances the proper communication among each team member and binds all of their common characteristics together, which assist team members to be informed about the ongoing issues of the team immediately and clearly understand the team tasks and goals. Such kind of influence could remove conflicts and disputes of team members and meanwhile increase their working morale to a certain extent via the sense of belonging (Thurm 2005).

Secondly, some evidences shows team cohesion is one of the factors to increase the effort of the team members. The model of team effort resulting from high cohesiveness proposed by Trend (1998 cited in William 2006) disclosed the positive influence of team cohesiveness on the tasks’ appropriateness, targets clarity, resource adequacy as well as the motivational potential of work conditions which increases team members’ effort to increase the success rate and performance of team.

Moreover, the cohesiveness of team also impacts team effectiveness. The survey of Henderson and Lee (1992 cited in William 2006) indicated the team cohesiveness such as the coexist of managerial control and tem member control increases the level of team performance and at the same time, the effects of team cohesion even have stronger influence on team’s productivity and performance than job design, context, or interdependence.

Generally speaking, team cohesiveness can help managers to enhance the working morale and productivity to a certain extent, which result in better team performance.

4.3 Negative relationships between team cohesiveness and performance

Other school holds the idea that team cohesiveness may lead to low team performance. Shin and Park (2006) proposed in their report that high cohesiveness of team may make each of the team members have the similar behavior, opinion, values even the productivity. Such kind of homogeneous behaviors and ideas, which are lacking in diversity, easily limited the creativity of the team and make the team members aren’t likely to put forward creative solutions. Moreover, team cohesiveness may also result in team members’ over reliance on each other and easily be impacted by others behavior and emotion fluctuation which may relatively slow down their working pace and finally affects the performance of the team if one or two member encounters problems.

Meanwhile, non-cohesive teams, which own more diversity than the cohesive teams, may own wider variation in productivity of its members. For instance, the diversity inside the cohesive teams may enhance the specific ability of team members, and their unique qualities as well as perspectives to come up with creative ideas to facilitate the well operation of their teams to increase their job satisfaction which later may turn into greater productivity. And in addition, members in non-cohesive team may be more self dependent, due to which they are much more independent and more competitive to meet the environment change and risks than these members in the cohesive team.

Generally speaking, team cohesiveness may have negative impact on the overall performance of the team due to the lack of creativity which may results in low productivity.

4.4 Team cohesiveness and team performance in the academic team

There are several factors to influence the team cohesiveness, including team interaction, shared mission and goals and personal attraction to the team. Team interaction means the greater the amount of contact between team members and the more time they spend together, the more cohesive the team. Shared mission and goals refer to when team members agree on purpose and direction, they will be more cohesive. Personal attraction to the team means members find their common ground and enjoy being together and members like and respect one another (Daft 2008).

Referring to the index factor of cohesiveness of academic team in New Dynamic Institute, we can get the information as below.

Referring to the team interaction aspect, the deliberate communication and contact with each member in the academic team members of New Dynamic Institute is relatively in a shortage. Let’s take the training project on BASF Company for example once more. Due to the lack of sufficient contact and communication as well as individualism among the academic team members, the entire team was faced with embarrassing situation when receiving the inquiry from customers. When talking about the shared mission and goals in the academic team, there are some ambiguous areas, because of the relatively weakness in participations, which means not every member in the academic team fully participate in the entire plan of teaching process and course context. Referring to the personal attraction to the team, it can also be observed that the working atmosphere isn’t harmonious enough and the mutual respect is lacked, which is mostly because of the insufficient contact and communication inside the team.

Based on the above information, we can make a conclusion that the academic group of New Dynamic Institute belongs to the non-cohesive team and such kind of non-cohesiveness does hinder the well performance of this team such as the time wasted in dealing with disputes, customers’ doubt and other problems which decrease the productivity of the academic team.

Generally speaking, the team cohesiveness has a positive relationship with the team performance and non-cohesiveness in the team may result in low productivity and effectiveness on the basis of academic team case in New Dynamic Institute. (William 2006)

5.0 Advantage and disadvantage of teams

5.1 Advantage of teams

Team is defined as a unit of two or more people who interact and coordinate their work to accomplish a shared goal or purpose, which owns several advantages as below (Daft 2008).

At first, team increase organization’s productivity. Nowadays, a large number of organizations are in search of efficiency and productivity as the competitive advantage. Teams especially these related to the delivery service can make proper change to enhance their productivity rapidly and directly. Secondly, team can assist working individuals to improve their communication skills. Because in order to succeed, information should be delivered properly for each member in a team, team members can get several chances to develop and improve their skills on communication. Thirdly, team can help organizations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of problem solving due to the wider range of skills and knowledge owned by different team members. Fourthly, teams also help organizations to improve the processing speed. Most of the businesses have cross function processes and geographical boundaries. Team can be placed properly to make improvement on the business process on the basis of the insights about different parts of the process. At last, teams help organization resources wisely based on creative solutions presented by team members. (Mitsch & Mitsch 2010)

5.2 Disadvantage of teams

Besides the above advantages, teams also have some disadvantages. At first, there are a few of individuals who aren’t fit for the teamwork due to their personality, preference and other related reasons. If there are too many such types of people in the teams, it may affect the overall performance of these teams or even hinder the well development of the organization. Secondly, there may be some unequal tasks for some members, which may rouse their resistance and hinder the regular process of the business. Thirdly, teams may be time consuming because there is a need for coordination and consensus of team members, which calls for a relatively long period. Teams may also limit creativity and stymie good decision-making under the prevalent of group think. Fourthly, less flexibility may occur during the period of personnel replacement or transfer in the team, which will also hinder the business processing of organizations. (Colvin2006; Shaprio et al. 2005)

5.3 Situation analysis

The above discussion shows there are both pros and cons of teams for the development of organizations, and in some situations the disadvantage of teams may outweigh the advantage.

There are five dysfunctions of teams including absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. The absence of trust means team members don’t feel security to pick out mistakes and express their ideas, which may results in ineffective communications. Fear of conflict refers to team members don’t shows their ideas when encountering conflicts to get along well with others, which may hinder the creativity of the team. Lack of commitment means it is hard to get team members’ true commitment to decisions if they don’t show their true views. Avoidance of accountability refers to the team members aren’t willing to bear the responsibility of some outcomes when things go wrong. Inattention to results means team members put their personal needs and ambition at the first place.(Daft 2008)

For instance, the trouble of training project on BASF Company disclosed some of the dysfunction points of the academic team. One dysfunction point is the lack of trust between team members when they have different opinion just as the instructor didn’t feel free to give his idea about the course context to other members in advance. The second dysfunction point is the lack of commitment inside the academic team due to the difficulty for members to get the true commitment to decision. The third dysfunction point of the academic team is the inattention to results because team members focus themselves’ performance and achievement too much.

Under such circumstance, if the academic manager of New Dynamic Institute can’t work effectively to help team remove these shadow areas, the team may function bad and can’t be effective to facilitate organizations’ business. And we can predict the outcomes. One the one hand, the conflicts among academic team members may be upgrade. The course designer may shift all the responsibility to the instructors and meanwhile the instructor may repeat that action that changing the course context without any advanced notice, which may only lead to the dissatisfaction of the customers and affect the reputation of New Dynamic Institute. One the other hand, the improper management of these dysfunction aspects may also result in the job quit of some outstanding employees such as the instructor and course designer in this case, which for the academic team and even the entire New Dynamic Institute is a great loss. Furthermore, the ineffectively management of these dysfunction points may also have some sequelas such as the decreasing of working morale of these academic team members which may affects their productivity and performance and then impact the well functioning of the whole organization.

By and large if the above circumstance happens, the disadvantages of team are more than the advantages.

6.0 Conclusion

This essay focuses on the discussion of team inside an organization. It emphasizes the importance of team management for managers to achieve higher business performance. And the five stages for team’s development are discussed in this essay especially the crucial position of storming stage for the academic team’s development of New Dynamic Institute. And based on the real situation of the academic team in New Dynamic Institute, the socio-emotional roles are recognized more important than the task specialist roles for team members. In terms of team cohesiveness and performance, this essay analyzes the positive relationship and negative relationship respectively between the two. And at last, it shows the situation in which team disadvantage outweigh the advantage based on the situation of academic team in New Dynamic Institute.

All in all teams plays significant roles in today’s organization under the changeable environment.

Reference

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