full version Management - Team Development Essay

Management - Team Development

Category: Business

Autor: i_like_essay 08 June 2010

Words: 2466 | Pages: 10

In the following document I go on to discuss how a team develops via group inputs, group processes and group outputs. Dr. Tuckman had covered the development of a team in his Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model in 1965. The progression as written by (Tuckman, cited in Chapman, 2008) “is:
1. Forming – high dependence on leader for guidance...roles and responsibilities unclear... processes often ignored.
2. Storming – Decisions don’t come easy...team members attempt to establish themselves...factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to focus on its goals...
3. Norming – roles and responsibilities are clear. Big decisions are made by group agreement...delegation occurs...commitment is strong. Fun and social activities may occur... respect for the leader occurs.
4. Performing – the team is more strategically aware. Team has a shared vision... team has high degree of autonomy... disagreements occur but are resolved within the group... the team does not need to be instructed or assisted.”
This model explains how teams develop and mature, relationships get formed and leaders are born.

Group inputs
Nature of the group task
It was once written that "“Like organisational setting, the nature of the task to be performed is an important factor in group input. Different tasks place different demand on a group. A basic rule of thumb is that the difficulty of achieving group effectiveness increases with the degree of task complexity.” (Herold 1979; p99-103) With reference to the B Sharps (group name) the group came together with the same goal at hand, to pass the class. Once the group got together and was given a task that needed to be achieved the task became a little more complex. Once weeks progressed more minor tasks were constantly added to the groups’ agenda and made the once simple task of passing the class a much more difficult one.

General Membership characteristics
The B Sharps contain a diverse group of both male and female students, with a wide variety of different backgrounds and ages. For this reason, this group has the potential to be much more efficient and effective than less diverse groups, but can also be harder to understand and control; “If you have a jar of red jelly beans and add some pink and green ones, diversity is not the pink and green jelly beans, but the resulting mixture” (Reed and Noumair, 2000, p52) As MacDonald states for example the group consists purely of Greek nationality patrons then two Japanese patrons and one French patron is thrown into the group it then becomes a diverse group.
The B Sharps have many team members that have very strong personalities (Baljit, Cathy, Tim, George and myself) this sometime causes conflict amongst one another as we all strive for acceptance and want what we have to say heard and noted. Also at the same time it allows for backup as sometimes when something is mentioned by me, Baljit will back me up and we will both explain to the group how it works. These strong personalities allow for the group to move and grow at a fast rate but also cause conflict when visions of the goal differ from one another.
Group Size
The B Sharps is a large group of 20 people as a final member was added in week 5. This group size makes it difficult to communicate with everyone in the group and also makes it difficult to get to meet everyone as we have such a short timeframe to get the task done that it allows very little time for informal communication between team members. (Katzenbach et al. 1993; pp111-20) states “Even logistical matters, such as finding time and locations for meetings, become more difficult with larger groups, causing performance problems.” I strongly agree with this as just before the Easter break I (as team leader) decided along with Baljit to hold a class on the next Wednesday even though there was no class. Many people agreed to it, so I went to the library to organise a room but no room was big enough to cater for 20 people. So I went to Joyce, one of the lecturers and asked her for help getting a room for the B Sharps on Wednesday of the Easter break. She agreed to help and I wrote an email to all the members stating that the class will be held at 1:30pm of Wednesday and that I would like an RSVP. Five people replied and only two could actually make it. So having such a large group does affect performance.

Organisational Setting
The organisational setting of a team can alter the way in which it acts and what it is able to achieve and accomplish. “Research suggests that the setting can influence whether group members become psychologically close to one another, the extent to which they cooperate and/or compete with one another, and how well they communicate with one another.” (Jewell and Reitz 1981; pp. 149-50) I concur with Jewell and Reitz that the organisational setting of a team is very important and will determine the outcome of a poor, good or great team. Being the leader of the B Sharps I find it difficult to meet every team members needs, therefore along with the other lead team members (Baljit, Cathy, Tim) we decided to split the group into 3 smaller groups to target certain criteria. This allowed more team members to be involved and have their say.
Along with the independent groups the room structure was also changed. It was decided that for everyone to see one another that the room would have to be laid out in a circle type layout that made it possible for everyone to see one another. This spatial arrangement help bring the group members closer together.

Group Process
Group development
Group development is the key to having a great, functioning group that is compatible with one another to achieve the task at hand. It is said that “in the case of a new task force, a good manager carefully chooses the membership to avoid such problems and the performance limitations that may accompany them.” (Ware, 1977) This was not an option with the B Sharps as the group was put together with names “out of a hat” strategy and put into a room. So there was no knowing what people’s strengths were nor was there a decided manager or leader to the group. This at first made it difficult to know who was what and what their strengths or weaknesses were up until week three where the group noted everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and used them to help give the group an advantage.

Required and emergent behaviours
Required behaviour is the behaviour that is necessary of that or those persons within a group to accomplish the task that has been set of you. Whilst on the other hand the emergent behaviour is the behaviour of the group and individuals within that group that go outside what is asked of them but still helps get the task accomplished. For example writing out emails to every member of the last meeting so that any absent members understand what has happened and what they have missed out on. “It is useful to distinguish among the activities, sentiments and interactions of group members.” (Homans, 1950) I agree with Homans as knowing where the differences are will allow for a better understanding of ones group and its members, thus allowing for easy and comfortable teamwork. In the B Sharps, because of the short time frame we have to accomplish our goals we have no choice but to come together and try our best to create a balance between formal and informal systems of behaviour. So far the group has worked well at doing this and has accomplished a great deal in a short period of time.

Group norms and roles
Group norms are the standards of the behaviour that the members of the team are expected to display. In relation to the B Sharps there were no clear group norms that were given out to follow so I believe that being human beings we used standardised social norms which have led to the creation of group roles for participating members. Group roles are a set of behaviours that are expected by the persons in particular positions in the group. There are many different standardised roles that help benefit and are destructive towards the team mentioned by (Benne et al. 1948; pp41-49) shown below:
Task-orientated roles – relates to the completion of the groups tasks
Initiator contributor Generates new ideas.
Information seeker Asks for information about the task.
Opinion seeker Asks for the input from the group about its values.
Information giver Offers facts or generalization to the group.
Opinion giver States his or her beliefs about a group issue.
Elaborator Explains ideas within the group, offers examples to clarify ideas.
Coordinator Shows the relationships between ideas.
Orienteer Shifts the direction of the group's discussion.
Energizer Stimulates the group to a higher level of activity.
Recorder Keeps a record of group actions.

Social roles
Encourager Praises the ideas of others.
Harmonizer Mediates differences between group members.
Compromiser Moves group to another position that is favoured by all group members.
Gatekeeper Keeps communication channels open.
Standard Setter Suggests standards or criteria for the group to achieve.
Group observer Keeps records of group activities and uses this information to offer feedback to the group.
Follower Goes along with the group and accepts the group's ideas.

Individualistic roles - these roles place the group member above the group and are destructive to the group.
Aggressor Attacks other group members, deflates the status of others, and other aggressive behaviour.
Blocker Resists movement by the group.
Recognition seeker Calls attention to himself or herself.
Self-confessor Seeks to disclose non-group related feelings or opinions.
Dominator Asserts control over the group by manipulating the other group members.
Help seeker Tries to gain the sympathy of the group.
Special interest pleader Uses stereotypes to assert his or her own prejudices.

Many of these roles are played by one or more people within the group B Sharps, and it helps to understand that these roles are keeping the group moving forward. As for the individualistic roles, very little sign of these roles have been brought to surface as there isn’t a great deal of time for the group to achieve its goals and I feel that these roles come out much later into a group (3-6 months).
Emotions have been and will be a part of everyday life for as long as we all shall live, and in group life none of this changes. Managers and team leaders must work with emotions rather than suppress them; with this done it will help improve the way the team works as a whole. I as the group leader feel that I let emotion run rampant for the first couple of weeks and in week 3 there was conflict between Baljit and I. I treated her like a low-status group member rather than an equal and I corrected myself immediately after the class was over and apologised. I think that the conflict that occurred help make the bond between Baljit and I much stronger as I feel we work much better and help each other rather than compete for leadership. I’m quiet adamant in saying that our group doesn’t only have one leader but rather two in Baljit and I. This helps as I feel that two minds are better than one.
Group decision making and communication
In the first few weeks the group was lead by the strong characters towards the goal at hand. Once the group was better formed and new roles and teams were made the group had been assigned team leaders for each of the smaller groups.
Management – Peter
Marketing – Baljit
Activities – Cathy
As the group has grown we have become a well oiled machine but with this there is major room for error. That error is that because of our �gelled’ group we all tend to accept everything the group says and offer no critical suggestions or ideas. With this it can result in fatal errors.
Group outputs
Performance of group tasks
The performance of the group tasks is vital to the groups’ survival and understanding of one another. In the B Sharps the group performs as a whole but also within its minor groups that are interdependent of one another.

The above figure shows how the groups are interdependent of one another and rely on one another to get the task at hand done. Without the activities group coming up with activities for the marketing group to market the management group wouldn’t be able to create a timeline. That is a small example of how the B Sharps performs group tasks.

Maintenance of the group
Creating an agenda was I think a great way to maintain some sort of direction towards our goal. The agenda which was created by me is a great way to maintain the group because the agenda allows for discussion at the beginning of class and also allows for queries, questions and comments to be made to the entire group before we break off into our smaller interdependent teams.
Maintenance activities are important to any group that have been formed and want to be continued on until the completion of the task at hand. As stated by (Likert, 1961; pp. 166-9) “Cohesiveness helps us to understand the following examples of important group maintenance activities. They include: Encouraging, harmonising, compromising, gate keeping, setting standards and following.” All the mentioned activities help maintain group cohesion via praise, sacrifice, and various other methods. As in the B Sharps we offer to sacrifice time, praise one another and coincide in the direction that the group is taking to accomplish its goals.

To conclude the B Sharps have gone through all of the stages of team development and will continue to grow till the very last day the team will be together. This proves that the processes that occur when a team comes together under the circumstances that the B Sharps faced still follow the linear line that is Group inputs, group process and group outputs very closely.

Tuckman B. (1965) original 'Forming-storming-norming-performing' concept; Alan Chapman 2008 available online at http://www.businessballs.com/tuckmanformingstormingnormingperforming.htm

This discussion is developed from Herold D. �The effectiveness of work groups’ in Steven Kerr (ed.) Organisational Behaviours (Columbus, OH: Grid Publishing, 1979), pp 99-103

Reed, G. M., & Noumair, D. A. (2000). The Tiller of Authority in a Sea of Diversity: Empowerment, Disempowerment, and the Politics of Identity. In E. Klein & F. Gabelnick & P. Herr (Eds.), Dynamic consultation in a changing workplace. Madison, CT: Psychosocial Press.

See Jon R Katsenbach and Douglas K Smith, �The discipline of teams’, Harvard Business Review (March – April 1993), pp. 111-20

Linda N Jewell and H Joseph Reitz, �Group effectiveness in organisations’ (Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1981), pp.149-50

James Ware, �Managing a task force’, note 478002 (Boston: Harvard business School, 1977)

George C Homans, �The human group’ (New York: Hardcourt Brace, 1950)

Benne, Kenneth, & Sheats, Paul, �Functional roles of group members.’ Journal of Social Issues 4, (1948) 41-49.

Rensis Likert, �New patterns of management’ (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961), pp. 166-9