DESIGNING EFFECTIVE WORK TEAMS
Types of Work Teams
Most commonly, types of teams can be grouped into self-managed work teams, cross-functional teams, and virtual teams. As mentioned in part one, the authors of Organizational Behaviour define a group as “two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal” (Saks & Johns, 2014). In other words, a team is a collection of individuals who are interdependent in their tasks, who share responsibility for outcomes, who see themselves and who are seen by others as an intact social entity embedded in one or more larger social systems (for example, business unit or corporation), and who manage their relationships across ...view middle of the document...
Similarly, a team of middle-management staff from different areas of the organization spending their time problem solving a large issue, the task is also challenging, complex, and interdependent.
Within team composition, stability, size, expertise, and diversity, are the main factors that contribute to team effectiveness. A successful team builds stability through establishing trust, understanding, and cohesiveness among team members. However, stability can be affected by team member rotation and turnover. The size of the team is determined based on the task, expertise, and diversity of skills required by team members. The team members should collectively have a proper mix of expertise relevant to the task with diversity to work well together as a team and bring the necessary abilities and skills to optimise the team performance. The size of the team should be small enough to achieve the task, and allow for efficient and effective interaction.
Management support encompasses training, rewards, and encouraging independence. Training requirements vary according to team type and composition. A common theme is cross-training which provides training and incentives for learning new skills: social skills, including problem solving, analytical skills, and deductive reasoning; language skills, and the ability to work in a multicultural environment; and, specific business training for team members outside of their main domain, especially in self-managed teams. Rewards are a significant motivator for team members. Rewards work well when tied to team accomplishments and outcomes. Team member autonomy can affect team performance; the more autonomy afforded to a team the better it will perform overall.
West (2012) indicates that team effectiveness is derived from team members’ efforts, knowledge, skills, and performance strategies. These four attributes are collectively referred to as the team process. Team effectiveness can be seen as constituting five main components: 1) task effectiveness, 2) team member well-being, 3) team viability, 4) team innovation, and 5) inter-team cooperation. (West, Effective teamwork : practical lessons from organizational research, 2012). This view provides a comprehensive approach to team effectiveness that is beyond simply the responsibility to achieve a common goal, or meet measured outcomes.
Measuring Effectiveness of Work Teams
Sundstrom et. al suggest a framework for analyzing effectiveness of teams must consist of organizational context, boundaries, and team development (Sundstrom, De Meuse, & Futrell, 1990). Organizational context refers to organizational culture and values, task design, impact of technology, clarity of the mission to all team members, team member autonomy, timely evaluation of performance and feedback, reward and recognition system (to keep...