HT101 – Introduction to Management
“Discuss the factors a manager needs to consider in order to evaluate the effectiveness of a work team. Give examples to support your choices.”
As work settings become more complex, it is imperative for managers to identify the increasing importance of team-working throughout the organisation and to consider the consequential factors leading to work team efficiency. According to Cane, (1996) cited by Mullins, (2005) a team is seen as a group of individuals who have a strong common purpose and work towards that purpose rather than individually, and are committed to deliver tangible performance results. The following assignment will comprise of information that will analyse the evaluative measures that a manager requires in order to assess the effectiveness of a work team, and will include supportive literature containing arguments for and against whether team-working is effective, and will enable a conclusive decision to be made.
It is common for the term groups and teams to be used interchangeably although teams are often described more in the formal and specific work context. There are various types of groups which include: Formal/Informal groups, reference groups, social groups, professional groups and societies. Formal groups are used mostly in the working environment where there is a specific task to be achieved with set objectives.
As an early theory of team effectiveness, Elton Mayo (1880-1949) cited by Business Review (1997) was a follower of F.W. Taylor’s scientific approach to management but was of significance that the work he conducted (The Hawthorne Experiment in the 1920’s) disproved the theories of F.W. Taylor. From Mayo’s work came the human relations approach to management which discovered (amongst other factors) that the workers studied became more cohesive as a group and spontaneously began to work co-operatively as a team and consequently increased productivity. Since these findings, managers of firms began to use team-work as a tool to increase productivity and also found that the motivation of workers increased as result of human interaction.
Team-working is crucial in today’s society due to such fierce competition from other firms within their market on factors such as productivity, quality, innovation and technology, which requires the collective inputs of individuals each with different abilities and skills to provide the desired product or development. This is related to the later work of Meredith Belbin (1926-) who set out factors to determine what made a good team combination. Of these factors, it was the team-roles inventory that became famous and of increasing importance to firms who adopted the theory. Belbin identified that, within a team, particular individuals could take on specific roles. The blend of these roles has a crucial influence on the effectiveness of the team. There are nine team-roles altogether described by Belbin, (1993) and cited by Mullins, (2005:557). These are: The Plant who is creative and solves difficult problems, the Resource investigator who explores opportunities and develops contacts, the Co-ordinator who clarifies goals and promotes decision making, the Shaper who has the courage to overcome obstacles, the Monitor-Evaluator who is strategic and sees all options, the Team worker who is co-operative and perceptive, the Implementer who turns the ideas into practical actions, the Completer who searches out for errors and omissions, and the Specialist who provides knowledge and skills that are in rare supply. Teams therefore require a balance of these different characteristics in order to create an effective and functional team in the workplace. However, it is inevitable that not all firms can adopt this inventory due to the fact that the team may not consist of nine people, or the members may not have the necessary characteristics to make up each of the nine roles. Some members of the team are therefore required to fulfil the missing roles which may not be relevant to their characteristic or personality which makes the theory’s effectiveness subject to the organisation and its members.