Archive for January, 2010

Allocating roles and diversity

Size of teams:- Ideally a team should have seven to nine people. Generally speaking, the most effective teams have fewer then 10 people. minimum four to five members may be necessary to develop diversity of views and skills. When teams have excess members, cohesiveness and mutual accountability declines, social loafing increases and more and more people do less, talking more with others.
Member flexibility:- Teams made up of flexible individuals have members who can complete each others tasks. This makes it less reliant on any single member.
Member preference:– Not every employee is a team player. When people who would prefer to work alone are required to team-up, there is a direct threat to the team’s moral and to individual member satisfaction. Hence when selecting team members individual preferences should be considered.
Context:- Four contextual factors that appear to be most significantly related to team performance are the presence of adequate resources; effective leadership, a climate of trust end a performance and reward system that reflects team contribution.

Process:– The final category related to effectiveness is process variables. These include member commitment to a common purpose, establishment of special team goal, team efficacy, a managed level of conflict and minimizing social loading.

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Nine potential team roles

Nine potential team roles have been identified. These are:-

  1. Organizer(Provides structure)
  2. Producer(Provide direction and follow through)
  3. Controller(Examines details and enforce rules)
  4. Maintainer(Fights external batter)
  5. Advisor(Encourages the search for more information)
  6. Linker(Coordinates and integrates)
  7. Creator (Initiates creative ideas)
  8. Promoter (Champions ideas after they are initiated)
  9. Assessor (offers insightful analysis of options)

Successful work teams have people to fill all these roles and have selected people to play in these roles based on their skills and preferences.

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The key components making up effective teams

The key components making up effective teams can be subsumed into four general categories:-

  1. Work design:- Effective teams need to work together and take collective responsibility to complete significant tasks. The work design category includes variables lake freedom and autonomy, the opportunity to use different skills and talents, the ability to complete a whole and identifiable task or product and working on a task or project that has a substantial impact on others.
  2. Composition:- This category includes variables that related to how teams should be staffed. It includes the ability and personality of team members, allocating roles and diversity, size of the team, member’s flexibility and member’s preference for team work.
  3. Ability of members:- To perform effectively, a team requires three different types of skills. First it need people with technical skills, second, people with problem solving and decision making skills and finally people with good listening, feedback conflict resolution and other interpersonal skills.
  4. Personality:- Personality of members has a significant influence on the individual employee behavior. This can also be extended to team behavior. Hence, five basic dimensions i.e. extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness; emotional stability and openness to experience are relevant for the success of a work team.

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Four most common types of work teams found in the organization

  1. Problems Solving Teams:- Groups of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency and the work environment. Rarely, however, are these teams given the authority to unilaterally implement any of their suggested actions.
  1. Self Managed work teams:- Are group of employees 10 to 15 who performs highly related or interdependent jobs and take on many of the responsibilities of their former supervisors. Typically this includes planning and scheduling of work, assigning tasks to members, taking action on problems, and working with suppliers and customers. Fully self-managed work teams even select their own members and have the members evaluate each others performances. As a result, supervisory positions take on decreased importance and many even be eliminated.
  1. Cross functional teams:- Employees from about the same hierarchical level but from different work areas who come together to accomplish a task.
  1. Virtual teams:- Teams that use computers to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal.

Three primary factors that differentiate virtual teams from face to face teams are

    1. The absence of preverbal and non verbal cues.
    2. Limited social context
    3. The ability to overcome time and space constrains.

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Group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives. Work group is a group that interacts primarily to share information and to make decisions to help each member perform with in his or her area of responsibility.

Work Team:- Work team is defined as a group whose individual efforts results in a performance that is greater then the sum of the individual inputs.

Management looks for positive synergy that will allow their organization to increase performance. The extensive use of teams create the potential for an organization to generate greater outputs with increase in inputs.

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