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Building Effective Teams.

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BUILDING EFFECTIVE TEAMS In this age of rapidly changing technology, market-driven decision making, customer sophistication, and employee restlessness, leaders and managers are faced with new challenges. Organizations must build new structures and master new skills in order to compete and survive. As work settings become more complex and involve increased numbers of interpersonal interactions, individual effort has less impact. In order to increase efficiency and effectiveness, a group effort is required. The creation of teams has become a key strategy in many organizations. Team building is an essential element in supporting and improving the effectiveness of small groups and task forces and must be a key part of a total program of organizational change. Hellriegel, Slocum, & Woodman (1986) state that team building is used to improve the effectiveness of work groups by focusing on any of the following four purposes: setting goals and priorities, deciding on means an methods, examining the way in which the group works, and exploring the quality of working relationships. A cycle then develops; it begins with the awareness or perception of a problem and is followed sequentially by data collection, data sharing diagnosis, action planning, action implementation, and behavioral evaluation. This style is repeated as new problems are identified. Not all work groups are teams. Reilly and Jones (1974) list four essential elements of teams: goals, interdependence, commitment, and accountability. The members must have mutual goals or a reason to work together; there must be an interdependent working relationship; individuals must be committed to the group effort; and the group must be accountable to a higher level within the organization. A good example is an athletic team, whose members share goals and an overall purpose. Individual players have specific assignments they are responsible for, but each depends on the other team members to complete their assignments. Lack of commitment to the team effort reduces overall effectiveness. Finally, the team usually operates within the framework of a higher organization such a league. ...read more.


This is a good case for leaving the decision-making to the top leadership (Rees 10).term papers III. "What are we supposed to do?" vevevMany problems with teams result because there is no clear understanding about what is supposed to be accomplished. Team members and team leaders typically have problems defining their own roles, making it difficult to work toward results rather than busying themselves with the activities of the team (Fisher-Rayner-Belgard 6). It's far too easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities, in being a team, and forget the reason the team was formed in the first place. This lack of focus is a good reason to keep employees working on their own, in specific, well-defined jobs. Teams tend to become too inwardly-focused -- a sure sign they won't survive. term papers Sometimes the manager of the team will discount not what his own team is trying to accomplish, but the efforts of others. A manager may insist that the success of other teams was nothing more than a "fluke" (Rayner 9), or they suggest any success was due to highly unique circumstances. This naturally leads to a lack of credibility, and suggests that employee involvement is irrelevant, yet it is an occurrence that's all too common. term papers rfrgThe relationship between team leader and team members is often adversarial. When the team is first formed, it relies on the manager to transfer decision-making and problem-solving authority to the team members. But eventually, the team members rebel against the authority figure, which often results in a confusion over responsibilities and the roles each member is to take. It's not unusual for the team members to try to take on all managerial responsibilities and even question the value of the manager's role -- the team is ostensibly working effectively; why does it need a manager? The tendency for team members to rebel or resist the influence of the designated team leader is a situation that seems to occur in every newly-formed team operation (Rayner 133).term papers IV. ...read more.


The plant was completely renovated and the only things left was the shell of the old main building and some of the old employees. Just about everything else was new such as corporate sponsorship, operating philosophy, and the manufacturing system. The new United Motor Manufacturing Inc. is a joint venture of General Motors and Toyota. It was set up as a means through which General Motors could learn the Japanese Manufacturing system, and the Japanese could learn how to operate in an American context. An open environment was established at Nummi in which joint problem solving by labor and management, seeking options for mutual gain while developing good faith and trust, prevailed. The quality of life at work in turn resulted in better performance and higher productivity on the job (Lewis & Renn, 1992). Motorola is another success. Their participative management program is operating for more than ninety-five percent of their manufacturing employees and has been dramatically successful (Lawler, 1986). Honeywell, Proctor & Gamble, and dozens of other companies have built new-design plants that minimize the distance between workers and managers. The plants involve employees in many decisions and are structured on the basis of work teams. In some plants employees make pay, hiring, scheduling, and quality decisions. Honeywell, Xerox, Motorola, Ford, General Motors (GM), and Westinghouse have all publicly committed themselves to using a more participative approach to organizing and managing people. Their change programs are even more significant than the increased use of such practices as quality circles, gainsharing, and self-managing teams because they are trying to change the entire organization, not just a few plants or a few practices (Lawler, 1986). The work place of the future will require greater emphasis on such key human resource factors as participative management, training programs, and teamwork. Employee involvement and participative initiatives are likely to expand considerably over the next several years in United States businesses. If they are to remain competitive in the marketplace and survive with the intense overseas challenges awaiting them, worker involvement and these initiatives must be present. ...read more.

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