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Team Work.I will discuss teamwork from two aspects: control and pressure within teams and danger of group thinking. Both of them, I think, will have a potential influence on the performance of teamwork, and should be paid attention to.

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Team Work Introduction Nowadays teamwork has become a fashion. It draws us a very attractive picture where "empowered workers work autonomously and collaboratively" (Fulop and Linstead, 1999:209) with high efficiency and output. Just examine the recent popular approaches in management (such as total quality management, lean production and business process reengineering etc.), we can find that teamwork is not only "a central pillar of each one", but "each is also seen as a radical departure from ways of organizing that have dominated the twentieth century" (idib:218). This gives organizations a signal that Embracing teamwork can get rid of all the problems associated with traditional management approaches, and "it is absolutely imperative for the formal organization of work to revolve around a collective form"(ibid). As presented in many management texts, teamwork has many obvious advantages, such as, high employee motivation, high efficiency, high flexibility etc. However, the actual utilization of teamwork in some contemporary organizations shows that what actually happens is not always the same as what we thought it should be. Like other management approaches, teamwork has pitfalls as well as advantages. So organizations, instead of rushing into teamwork for a quick relief from various problems they are facing, should take time to consider the question "is teamwork all that good, what are the negative aspects of it?" ...read more.


Though my teammates did not criticize me, I could tell from their eyes that they were very unsatisfied. We lost our game; everyone was tired and upset, and I was even more. I could do nothing but to work even harder in the following tasks in order to compensate my mistake. So to me, teamwork is "working smarter and harder". Here people will ask, "In teamwork there is no fixed standard to judge individual performance, so what forces people to work so hard?" The "no fixed standard" itself is where problem exists. When people come together, what they will naturally do is to compare, "this girl is beautiful, that guy is ugly etc." The same thing happens, when team members come together to work. They compare the performance of their teammates with each other. Through comparison it is obvious to everyone who is performing well while who is not. Since personal success and failure is tied together with the success and failure of the whole team, everyone expects others to do the best. As there is no fixed standard of what the best performance is, the standard of the person who performs best in the team naturally becomes the standard for everyone in the team. Thus as pointed out by James Barker (1993)" ...read more.


(Boddy and Paton, 1998: 44). Teamwork, as a management technique is developed to address the issue of how to "maximize the flexibility " of organizations in order to "meet a rapid changing market' (ibid). However like other management techniques, it is far from perfect. It solves one problem while at the same time add another. So we cannot say that teamwork is a more advanced management technique that it can and must substitute all the other management techniques. Teamwork only provides an alternative way to organize resources. It "cannot compensate for badly designed organizational processes; nor can they substitute for management's responsibility to define how decisions should be made"(Slack et al, 2001: 291). So organizations, before make decisions to adopt teamwork, should take time to consider "what are the problems they are facing?"; "Can teamwork help to solve these problems?"; and "If so, how can they balance the positive effects and the negative effects of teamwork?" Reference Barker, James R. (1993) 'Tightening the iron cage: Concertive control in self-managing teams', Administrative Science Quarterly 38(3): 408-37 Barker, James R. (1999): The discipline of Teamwork. United States of America SAGE Publication Inc. Black, J. Stewart and Porter, Lyman W. (2000): Management- Meeting New Challenges. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Boddy, David and Paton, Robert (1998): Management - An Introduction. Hertfordshire: Prentice Hall. Fulop Liz and Linstead, Stephen (1999): Management - A Critical Text. Hampshire and London: MACMILLAN PRESS LTD. Slack, Nigel, Chambers, Stuard and Johnston, Robert (2001): Operations Management. England: Pearson Education Limited ...read more.

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