Student paper – Managing team development

 

1.0 Introduction 2

2.0 Stages of team development 2

2.1 Five stages 3

2.2 The importance of norming stage 3

3.0 Roles of task specialist and socio-emotional 4

3.1 Roles definition and discussion 4

3.2 The importance of task specialist role 5

3.2.1 Definition of team effectiveness 5

3.2.2 Relationship between team effectiveness and task specialist role 5

4.0 Team cohesiveness and team performance 7

4.1 Positive relationship 7

4.2 Negative relationship 8

4.3 Garment making team’s cohesiveness 9

5.0 Team’s advantages and disadvantages 9

5.1 Advantages 9

5.2 Disadvantages 10

5.3 Situation on disadvantage outweigh advantages 11

6.0 Conclusion 12

Reference 13

1.0 Introduction

Team is a unit of two or more people who interact and coordinate their work to accomplish a shared goal or purpose, which is focused by the modern management more and more. And with reason, teams have great potential. It is found in a great number of organizations that changing works to team based has had far reaching influences. For instance, in industry, some of the surveys show that the production levels and profits are increased as well as sales and marketing strategies are improved when organization went over to teamwork. And in public sector, it is reported that tasks are more thoroughly and effectively performed, jobs become enriched via more direct communication with clients and supporting from team members. In a word, team working is reported to improve staff morale and decreases staff tour off in all types of organization including both public and private ones. (Daft 2008 & Hayes 2002)

Beside those powerful claims, Katzenbach and Smith (1993) also claimed high performance organizations also mainly rely on the creation of strong, semi-autonomous working teams.

Due to such importance of the teams’ function, managing team becomes more and more important for today’s managers. Because when the team works, it works very well indeed. The well managing of teams, people can work more efficiently, experience less pressure and contribute more to their work and meanwhile they will stay at their organization longer and contribute more new ideas as well as actively make some improvement on the ways of work doing. (Daft 2008 & Hayes 2002)

Generally speaking, we can make a conclusion that managing team is an important part of managers’ job.

This essay will adopt the garment making team of Nichang Garment Factory of China as the example.

2.0 Stages of team development

2.1 Five stages

There are five stages for teams to develop such as the forming stage, storming stage, norming stage, performing stage and adjourning stage (Daft 2010). According to Daft (2010), we can get the information about each development stages as below.

The stage of forming is the duration for each member to get acquainted with others, during which member break ice and get more information about each other for the possibility of friendship and task orientation. In this stage, it is important for team managers to assist the social interchange of the team members. The stage of storming is the time for emergence of each member’s personality, during which members tend to clarify their roles and tasks much more with several conflicts and disputes. In this stage, it is important for team managers to encourage members’ participation and to show their different opinions. The stage of norming is the time of conflicts solving and emergence of team harmony via the better understanding of each team member. In this stage, it is essential for team managers to help clarify team roles, norms, and values. The stage of performing emphasizes the solving problems and complete assigned tasks under the cooperation of team members. In this stage, team managers had better try every means to facilitate the accomplishment of tasks for each team members. The adjourning stage is the last step for team development in which the disbandment of the team is prepared by team members.

2.2 The importance of norming stage

For the garment making team of Nichang Garment Factory of China, the norming stage is the most important stage for its manager to pay special attention.

In the garment making team, there are often 30 to 35 workers to coordinate their activities so as to assemble complete garments. And in the team, members are paid based on the total output of their team, which means the total productivity of the garment making team may be slowed down by those slower, inexperienced, or efficient team members. And in the meantime, the price of sewing the collar might be five cents, the price of fitting on a sleeve might be five cents, and the price of ironing the dress might be four cents and so on. And based on the overall performance, salary is given to the team and each worker earn exactly amount from the total payment to the team.

Based on the above situation, the norming stage for the development of the garment making team becomes the most important, because it can help each team member to take responsibility for the progress (Medsker& Campion 2005; Shin 2005). For instance, if each team members can clearly understand their working roles and the relationship between others and even the whole performance of their team, they may realize they are a entire body that the skilled workers can give more help for these inexperienced worker in order to make them grow up quickly to enhance the entire productivity of their team. And in the same time, these inefficient workers may also be affected by such harmonious working environment and may performance better. That is to say, the norming stage can facilitate the garment making team of Nichang Factory to work together and aimed at a better performance to enhance their overall productivity.

In short, the norming stage is the most importance one for the manager to pay special attention based on the situation of the garment making team.

3.0 Roles of task specialist and socio-emotional

3.1 Roles definition and discussion

According to Batman and Snell (2007) as well as Daft (2010), there are two types of roles for team member. The first role is called task specialist role. Team member who act as the task specialist role spend their time and energy to assist their team to achieve the goal under a serial of behavior such as to initiate ideas, to give opinions, to seek information, to summarize and to energize. To initiate ideas means to come up with new solutions to the team’s problems. Giving opinions refers to proposing views on the solution to tasks and giving feed back on people’s advice. To seek information means to search for related facts for tasks. Summarizing refers to pull ideas together to a summary theory. And energizing refers to give incentives to teams under bad situation.

The other role is named socioemotional role, which offers supporting to the emotional needs of team members and helps strengthen the social entity including the behaviors such as encouragement, harmonizing, reducing tension, flowing as well as compromising. Encouragement refers to the warmth when receiving others’ ideas and showing congratulations on others’ good performance. Harmonizing means to remove the conflicts and disputes. Reducing tension refers to easing the tense from working. Following means to follow the direction of the team. And compromising refers to maintaining the team harmony. (Batman & Snell 2007; Daft 2010)

And in the meantime, as Batman and Snell (2007) claimed according to the types of the industries the teams in, the effectiveness of the two types of member roles vary differently. And the most effective teams often have both of the two kinds of roles inside, because it can both satisfy team members emotionally and assist the accomplishment of team tasks.

3.2 The importance of task specialist role

3.2.1 Definition of team effectiveness

Team effectiveness often refers to the team members working together to present a better performance due to the right mix of skills, right motivation as well as the enhanced capacity to solve conflicts without making a compromise on the quality of the project by the efforts of different team members (Hackman 2002). The right mix of skills, for example, refers to various technical abilities and communication skill of different team members. The right motivation shows the linkage between team effectiveness and the interest that the project offers to the team. The enhanced capacity to solve conflicts without making a compromise refers to the ability to meet the challenges from conflicts rather than compromise them.

3.2.2 Relationship between team effectiveness and task specialist role

As far as the garment making team of Nichang factory concerned, the conflicts from its team members can be concluded. In the garment making team, the pay of the top performers went down dramatically due to the team’s productivity was adversely affected by these slower, inexperienced, or inefficient team members, because people are paid based on the total output of the team, which aroused the conflicts between skilled workers and the inexperienced workers or inefficient workers. For example, skilled workers in the garment making team were often frustrated by having to wait for their slower colleagues to finish their part of garment and also resented having to pitch in and help out the less skilled colleagues to speed things up.

Hayes (2002) emphasized the more important role of task specialist for team members in the industries which have high requirements on the professional skills just as the garment making team inside the Nichang factory. For example, the manufacturing process of the garment making has more than 15 procedures insides the larger three main processes of cutting, making and trimming, which has a high requirement on the specialist skills of each team member, once a mistake occurs, the whole making process will be affected to a certain extent, in another words the effectiveness of the entire garment making team would be lagged down. Just as the above mentioned, the lacking of proper professional knowledge of these inexperienced workers, the inappropriate operation skills, especially lacking the sense of the concern of task accomplishment resulted in the inefficient of some workers degraded the overall performance of the garment making teams which becomes one of the factory resulting in the quantity of garments produced per hours has actually declined 25 percent from the pre-team level.

Under such situation, the specialist role for team members in the garment making team become more important on improving the productivity namely the effectiveness of this team, which we can observe from the measures carried out by the managers toward improvement of the effectiveness of the garment making team. To strengthen team members’ task specialist roles, people especially these inexperienced workers and inefficient workers were given training to help them master new machinery, and also proper guidance of these operation skills was given to them under the skilled workers appointed by the management and in the meantime a brief team building training and problem solving seminar aimed at fostering the task specialist roles of team members were offered to the garment making team members.

With the help of emphasizing and fostering the task specialist role of team members in the garment making team, the overall productivity and effectiveness of the garment making team were increased a lot. For example, team members in the garment making team are actively offering opinions on the solution for their assignment such as how to proper assign the tasks to each team members on the basis of the complexity of the garment making process on different styles to largely enhance the overall productivity of their team. And in addition, team members are also actively in information seeking especially when some mistakes occurred in the garment making process, and then provide proper solution on the basis of pulling all the ideas the members together and their professional skills.

At the same time, the socioemotional role such as the behaviors of following, compromising may be not more important than the task specialist role for these special team which have a strict requirement on the accuracy and quality of the tasks, because some times, the compromising or following to the idea of other team members may lead to the lacking in accuracy of the assigned tasks such as the garment making which requires the precise size and length in every detail (Hayes 2002).

In short, the task specialist role is more important than the socioemotional roles for team’s effectiveness based on the case of the garment making team of Nichang factory.

4.0 Team cohesiveness and team performance

Team cohesiveness refers to how much members are attracted to a group, are motivated to stay in it and are influences by one another, which are mainly determined by five factors such as team interaction, shared goals, personal attraction to the team, presence of competition and team success (Webb and Lambe 2006).

4.1 Positive relationship

Webb and Lambe (2006) and Daft (2010) showed the idea that team cohesiveness can be very positive influence on the working morale and productivity of teams which directly help team achieve better performance.

On the one hand, working morale is often higher in cohesive teams because it can increase the depth of communication among team members, create a friendly and relaxed team climate, maintenance the team membership and loyalty, enhancing the participation rate in decision making and activities. For example, cohesive team members communicated with each other more often and are more sensitive to other members as well as are better able understanding the ideas and feelings of other team members, which creates the higher rate of job satisfaction of team members than the less cohesive team members. And in the meantime, effective communication among team members can also assist every member to be aware of what is going on, due to this, team members can share pride together based on the achievements of their teams and take care about setbacks together. Because of the cooperation and consideration among team members, they are in a good position to help one another or to out in extra efforts. All of these factors help team members enhance their working morale and job satisfaction a lot.

One the other hand, cohesive team can also contribute a lot to the productivity. Because the whole point of a team is built based on the bringing together and coordinating people with different skills, team’s tasks can be carried out as effectively as possible, which can make the productivity increased at a certain degree. Because the cohesiveness makes each team member have a clear understanding how each of the team member contributes, they can work more targeted and effectively together and avoid some mistakes due to misunderstanding, which can help team save lots of time and resources and then increase its productivity.

In short, team cohesiveness can contribute to the working morale increasing and productivity improvement, which directly help teams gain a better performance.

4.2 Negative relationship

There is another school which presents an opposite opinion on the relationship between team cohesiveness and team performance. As Kinicki and Williams (2005) claimed team’s cohesiveness may result in the team members’ over-dependence on each other to reach the organizational goals, which may lead to the missing the tasks’ deadlines, raising costs and frustrating customers once one of the key team members make a mistakes or leave the team.

Kinicki and Williams (2005) also claimed the high cohesiveness in the team may make the performance levels of each team members similar. And in order to avoid disappointing the team and keep the harmonious working environment, team members in cohesive teams may try to work at the average level neither act underperforming nor act over performing. These factors may largely decrease the creativity and the innovative capacity of the teams, which may finally lead to the low productivity and working morale of team members.

Team cohesiveness may hinder the organizational change at some extent. In today’s world, organizations may have no choice but to carry out a change to survive in the hyper competitive economies under both the internal and external environment pressures including fashion pressures, mandated pressures, geopolitical pressures, market decline pressures, hyper competition pressures, and reputation and credibility pressures and so on (Abrahamson, E. 2000). While high cohesive teams may be less flexible to meet the organizational changes, if some of its member resist the changes, the rest of the team members may be affected and also show resistance and uncooperative attitude towards organizational changes, which may lag down the whole changing process of the organization and only result in the poor performance of the whole team even the poor performance of the entire organization (Kinicki & Williams 2005).

4.3 Garment making team’s cohesiveness

As far as the garment making team in Nichang Garment Factory concerned, it is lacking in team cohesiveness, which can be observed from the five determinates of team cohesiveness (Webb and Lambe 2006).

Concerned with the team interaction, members in the garment making team have few interaction among each team members but just complain others shortages. For instance, the skilled workers often shows hatred to these inexperienced or inefficient workers and aren’t willing to help them to keep up with the common pace of the whole team only till they are required by the management compulsorily.

Referring to the shared mission and goals, members in the garment making team don’t reach the agreement on the purpose and direction of the team and they are lacking in the sense of belonging. Because of that, members in the garment making team can’t think and act in the position of the whole team’s benefit, which aroused several conflicts and disputes as well as hostility in the team.

In a word, all of the above evidences show the garment making team isn’t a cohesive one. And because of such incohesiveness, the working morale and productivity of team members aren’t satisfied which lag down the overall performance of the garment making team in Nichang Garment Factory.

5.0 Team’s advantages and disadvantages

5.1 Advantages

Hayes (2002) claimed teams have a large number of potential to contribute to the organizational life in the modern time, which is shown as follows.

Team members can gain the chances to learn from each other due to each team members own different skills, working experience and other special characteristics, which may not only facilitate the future development of each team members but also strengthen the comprehensive competitiveness of the entire team.

Teams may come up with creative and innovative ideas and solutions for organizations to meet challenges. For example, the cooperation and effective communication among different team members may present innovative ideas such as new products innovation, more attractive products branding means and so on under the wisdom of the masses.

Decision making may be more effective and deliberate from the advice of each team members under the facilitation and support form them especially due to effective communication.

Working morale and productivity of the originations may be improved by team working. Because the high job satisfaction and full communication inside cohesive teams can largely increase individual employees’ working morale. Meanwhile, the innovation and creativity of effective teams can also help organizations save lots of money, time and other related resources to improve its productivity.

And teams can also be the major force to facilitate the organizational change, partly because the approaches and values of the teams can present positive directions to the organizational change by their interaction with their organizations as a whole body.

5.2 Disadvantages

King and Anderson (2002) showed that besides the advantages there are several disadvantages of teams.

Concerned with the time spending, teams spending in defining goals, discussing measures for problems and searching for the alternatives is seemed to be a waste of time, which may not necessary if people work individually. Concerned with the conflicts, teams may be less effective than the individuals if each of team members is working on their own. Because of that, it may cost a lot of time for the organizations to reach a commitment from each of team members such as time spending in reaching consensus on vision, task orientation and so on.

The tasks may be assigned unfairly in the team, which may lead to the unfairly workload afforded by different team members. Such kind of unfairness may easily arouse the dissatisfaction and conflicts of team members and directly decrease their working morale and productivity.

The high cohesiveness inside teams may become one of the major factors to hinder the process of organizational change. Due to the shared views and values of team members and the cross influence of each team members on other members, once the resistance occur in one team member, the rest members may hold the same views and activity toward organizational change.

Individual workers skills and talent may remain stagnant as they work as a part of the team instead of working individually, because they may work at the entire benefit of their team rather than developing themselves.

5.3 Situation on disadvantage outweigh advantages

On the above discussion, teams owns both advantages and disadvantages, while there are still some situations in which the disadvantages of team outweigh the advantage especially when the team doesnt act effective enough (King and Anderson 2002).

Lets take the actual situation of the garment making team in Nichang garment factory of China for example. In the former time, payment is based on individual working performance, and at that time a skilled work could frequently exceeded his or her quota of belt loops or fly stitching by 20 percent or more, which lead to hefty increase in pay. At the present time, this factory adopts the team based means to assess workers working performance, in which worker are paid based on the total output of their garment making team. although the management team of Nichang garment factory is aimed at improving workers morale and productivity in order to help Nichang garment factory have a better business performance on the team base, the current situation is like that the quantity of garments production is declined nearly 25 percent than the pre-team level.

According to the situation, we can infer that the disadvantage of teams outweigh the advantages of teams. At first, there is a shortage of trust and communication inside the garment making team and members only focus the benefits of themselves rather the entire team such as the skilled workers too much complaint on others performance but arent willing to offer a help. Secondly, team members are reluctant to accept responsibility of outcomes but only finger point when something goes wrong (Daft 2010). Take the skilled workers example once more. When the overall performance was lagged by other workers, skilled workers were only keen on finger pointing other workers problems rather than standing in the benefits of the entire garment making team.

In a word, the team based system in Nichang Garment factory may owns more disadvantage than the advantage, which largely decrease the overall performance of this factory. And we can make a conclusion, the team building in Nichang Garment factory isn’t effective enough and such kind of team is lack of cohesiveness as well as benefits for the future development of this factory.

6.0 Conclusion

This essay mainly focuses on the team inside organization, which is made up of five major parts such as the importance of managing team for todays managers, five stages of team development, team members roles, relationship between team cohesiveness and team performance and the advantages and disadvantages of teams.

It adopts the case of garment making team in Nichang Garment factory of China as the actual example to give proper justification on the importance of team. In short, the more effective the team inside an organization, the better performance the origination may gain under the teams support, while the ineffective teams for an organization may be a disaster. Team management is an art which requires all the managers in several organizations to focus on.

Reference

Abrahamson, E. 2000, Change without pain, Harvard Business Review, pp. 75-79,

Batman, T.S. & Snell, S. A. 2007, Management: leading and collaborating in a competitive world, McGraw-Hill, New York,

Daft, R. L.2008, The Leadership experience, 4th edition, Thomson south western, Mason,

Daft, R. L.2010, New era of management, 9th edition, South western, Canada,

Hackman, J.R. 2002, Leading teams: setting the stage for great performance, Harvard Business School Press, Boston,

Hayes, N. 2002, Managing teams, Thomson Learning, London,

Katzenbach, J.R. & Smith, D.K. 1993, The wisdom of Teams: Creating the High performance organizations, Academy of management review,

King, N. & Anderson, N. 2002, Managing innovation and change: a critical guide for organizations, Thomson learning, London,

Kinicki, A. & Williams, B. 2005, Management: A practical introduction, 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, New York,

Medsker, G.J.& Campion, M.A. 2005, Job and Team Design, Journal of management,

Shin, Y. 2005, Conflict resolution in virtual teams, organizational dynamics 34, no. 4, pp.331-345

Webb, K.L. and Lambe, C.J. 2006, International multi-channel conflict: an exploratory investigation and conceptual framework, Industrial marketing management, vol.36

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