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CHAPTER 7

UNDERSTANDING GROUPS AND


MANAGING WORK TEAMS
What is a Group?
• Group – two or more interacting and
interdependent individuals who come
together to achieve specific goals.
• Formal groups – work groups that are defines
by the organization’s structure and have
designated work assignments and specific
tasks directed at accomplishing organizational
goals.
• Informal groups – social groups.
Stages of Group Development
• Forming stage
– 1st phase – people join the group.
– 2nd phase – once joined, they start defining
group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. Trial
and error to determine what types of behavior are
acceptable.
• Storming Stage
– Conflict over who will control the group and what
the group needs to be doing. Once complete,
hierarchy of leadership and group’s direction set.
Stages of Group Development (cont…)
• Norming Stage
– Close relationships develop and the group become
cohesive. Show strong sense of camaraderie. Once
completed, group structure will be solid and
everyone agrees on acceptable behavior.
• Performing Stage
– Focus on working on the group’s task. Last stage
of development for permanent work groups.
Stages of Group Development (cont…)
• Adjourning Stage
– Final stage for temporary groups.
– The group prepares to disband.
– Attention is focused on wrapping up activities
instead of task performance.
– Member’s reaction different; some are thrilled
with the accomplishment, but some are sad over
loss of friendships.
Basic Foundation for Understanding
Group Behavior
• Roles
• Norms and Conformity
• Status System
• Group Size
• Group Cohesiveness
What are Roles?
• Role – refers to behavior patterns expected of
someone who occupies a give position in a
social unit.
• Individuals play multiple roles, adjusting their
roles to the group to which they belong at the
time.
• Eg: at home as a father, son, son-in-law; at
office as an employee, supervisor, mentor.
Norms and Conformity
• Norms – standards or expectations that are
accepted and shared by a group’s members.
• Eg: formal dress code. It is acceptable for
corporate to wear casual dress. So if someone
come to work dressed casually, they will be
teased and pressured until their dress
conforms to the group’s standard.
Status System
• Status – prestige grading, position, or rank
within a group.
• Significant motivator that has behavioral
consequences when individuals see a disparity
between what they perceive their status to be
and what others perceive it to be.
• Eg: higher income vs. lower income, CEO vs.
employee, popular vs. nerd
Group Size
• Fact – Small groups complete tasks faster than
larger ones.
• Fact – Larger groups consistently get better
marks than smaller groups in problem solving.
• Fact – The larger the groups, the less
contribution made by individual members.
– Because the dispersion of responsibility
encourages individuals to slack off.
Group Cohesiveness
• Group Cohesiveness – the degree to which
members are attracted to one another and
share the group’s goals.
Work Teams vs. Work Groups
Work Teams
• Groups whose members work intensely on
specific, common goals using their positive
synergy, individual and mutual accountability,
and complementary skills.
Types of Work Teams
• Problem-solving Teams
– Teams from the same department or functional
area involved in efforts to improve work activities
or to solve specific problems.
– Members share ideas or offer suggestions on how
work processes and methods can be improved.
– But rarely get authority to implement their
suggestions.
Types of Work Teams (cont…)
• Self-managed work team
– Group of employees who operate without a
manager and are responsible for getting the work
done and for managing themselves.
– Includes planning and scheduling of work,
assigning tasks to members, collective control
over the pace of work, making operating
decisions, and taking action on problems.
– Eg: Xerox, PepsiCo and Hewlett-Packard.
Types of Work Teams (cont…)
• Cross-Functional Teams
– Work team composed of individuals from various
specialties.
– For example, Health care. In ICU teams composed
of doctor trained in intensive care medicine, a
pharmacist, a social worker, a nutritionist, chief
ICU nurse, a respiratory therapist, and a chaplain
meet daily with every patient’s bedside nurse to
discuss and debate the best course of treatment.
Types of Work Teams (cont…)
• Virtual Team
– Uses technology to link physically dispersed
members in order to achieve a common goal.
– Members collaborate online with tools such as
wide area networks, videoconferencing, fax, e-
mail, or web sites where the team can hold online
conferences.
– Still can share information, make decisions, and
complete tasks BUT lack in face to face
communication.
Team Effectiveness
Context Composition
• Adequate resources • Ability of members
• Leadership and structure • Personality
• Climate of trust • Allocating Roles
• Performance evaluation and reward • Diversity
systems • Size of Members
• Members flexibility and preferences

Work Design Process


• Autonomy • Common purpose
• Skill Variety • Specific goals
• Task Identity • Team efficacy
• Task Significant • Conflict levels
• Social loafing
Context
• Adequate Resources
– Include timely information, proper equipment,
encouragement, adequate staffing, and administrative
assistance.
• Team Leadership and Structure
– Agreeing on the specifics if work and how all the team
member’s individual skill fit together.
• Trust
– Facilitates cooperation, reduces the need to monitor each
other’s behavior, and bonds members.
• Performance evaluation and Reward System
– Managers should consider group based appraisals, profit-
sharing, and others.
Composition
• Team member ability
– Need people with technical expertise, problem
solving and decision making skills, and
interpersonal skills.
• Personality
– People with high conscientiousness, openness to
experience and agreeableness are more effective.
Composition (cont…)
Composition (cont…)
• Diversity
– Diverse teams perform better.
• Size
– The most effective teams have five to nine
members.
• Preferences
– Some people prefer not to work on teams. If
forced, it creates direct threat to the team’s
morale and to individual member satisfaction.
Work Design
• Important work design elements include
autonomy, using a variety of skills, being able
to complete a whole and identifiable task or
product, and working on a task or project that
has a significant impact on others.
Team Processes
• Common plan and purpose
– Provides direction, momentum and commitment.
• Specific Goals
– Facilitate clear communication and help teams maintain their focus
on getting results.
• Team efficacy
– When teams believe in themselves and believe they can succeed.
• Managed conflict
– It can be beneficial because they may stimulate discussion, promote
critical assessment of problems and options, and lead better team
decisions.
• Minimal social loafing
– Successful teams make members individually and jointly
accountable for team’s purpose, goals, and approach.
Contemporary Issues in Managing
Teams
Contemporary Issues in Managing
Teams (cont…)
• Team composition factors affect on managing
global team
– Unique cultural characteristics represented by
members of a global team.
– Need to recognize team member’s abilities, skills,
knowledge, and personality.
– Managers need to be familiar with and clearly
understand the cultural characteristics of the
groups and the group members they manage.
Contemporary Issues in Managing
Teams (cont…)
• Team structure affect on managing global
team
– Conformity to social norms tends to be higher in
collective cultures but less of a problem because
members are less likely to pressured to ideas,
conclusions, and decisions.
– Managers need to understand who and what
holds status when interacting with people from
different culture.
Contemporary Issues in Managing
Teams (cont…)
– Social loafing is consistent with individualistic
cultures like US and Canada which are dominated
with self-interest.
– Cohesiveness is difficult to achieve because of
higher levels of mistrust, miscommunication, and
stress.
Contemporary Issues in Managing
Teams (cont…)
• Team processes affect on managing global
team
– Communication problems that lead to
inaccuracies, misunderstandings, and
inefficiencies.
– If it’s virtual teams, conflict can happen with how
information is used by the team.