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Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches-3

Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches 4. Team Building

A team is a group of individuals with complementary skills who depend upon one another to accomplish common purpose or set of performance goals for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
is work done when members subordinate their personal prominence for the good of the team. Members of effective teams are open and honest with one another, there is support and trust, there is a high degree of cooperation and collaboration, decisions are reached by consensus, communication channels are open and well developed, and there is a strong commitment to the team’s goals. Many organizations are attempting to increase productivity by implementing team-based programs. Almost 80% of all companies have some type of team-based, employee involvement program in place. Just like the Army believes that individuals perform better when they are part of a stable group; they are more reliable, and they take responsibility for the success of the overall operation. Developing teams is necessary because technology and market demands are compelling manufactures to make their products faster, cheaper, and better. The coordination of individual effort into task accomplishment is most important when the members of a team are interdependent.

refers to situations where one person’s performance is contingent upon how someone else performs. In order to understand the workings of teams we can draw some good parallels from sports like cricket, football, and basketball. Among the three major professional sports – cricket, football, and basketball – basketball is more of a team sport than the other two. Cricket is a game of pooled interdependence where team member contributions are somewhat independent of one another. The players are separated on a large field, they are not all involved actively in every play, and they come to bat one at a time. Football, in contrast, involves sequential interdependence. A flow of players and first downs are required to score. The players are closer to each other than in cricket, and there is greater degree of interdependence. Players are normally grouped together functionally (i.e. offence and defense) and the two groups do not contact one another. Unlike cricket, all the players on the field are involved in every play. Basketball exhibits the highest degree of interdependence. Players are closely grouped together and the team moves together on the court. Every player may contact any other player, and the player’s roles or functions are less defined than in football. All the players are involved in offense, defense, and trying to score. Organizations frequently use sport teams as a model. For example, some organizations require close teamwork similar to basketball, whereas other organizations require team involvement similar to cricket. Using sports terminology, a production manager expressed his vision of his work team by saying, “I have a picture of an ideal basketball team in my head that I compare to the production team. When I see people not passing to each other or when I see somebody taking all the shots, I know we have to work on teamwork.” One major OD technique, termed team building or team development, is used for increasing the communication, cooperation, and cohesiveness of units to make them productive and effective. Team building is an intervention where the members of a work group examine such things as their goals, structure, procedures, culture, norms, and interpersonal relationships, to improve their ability to work together effectively and efficiently. The OD in Practice illustrates how Starbucks uses team methods.
OD in Practice: A Cup of Coffee at Starbucks

Howard Schultz’s vocabulary, at least in formal interviews, makes him sound like a college professor of management. The interviews are prepared with words like “collaborative,” “teams,” “empowerment,” “empathize,” and “vision.” Schultz just happens to be one of the founders, chairperson of the board, and chief strategist of Starbucks Coffee Company, and he is intent on moving Starbucks to new heights. “We are in the second inning of a nine-inning game,” he says. Starbucks stock has gone up more than 3,000 percent since it first went public in 1992. The firm has over 7,500 stores in 36 countries and is expanding so rapidly that the running joke is that a new Starbucks will be opening in the restroom of a current Starbucks. Over 25 million people visit Starbucks each week. No American retailer has a higher frequency of customer visits. Besides a good cup of Coffee, what is the Starbucks formula for success? Perhaps it is the firm’s vision. Says former US Senator and current Starbucks board member Bill Bradley, “Howard is consumed with his vision of Starbucks. That means showing the good that a corporation can do for his workers, shareholders, and customers.” On Starbucks six-point mission statement, number one is “Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.”

Starbucks overriding Company philosophy is “Leave no one behind.” This philosophy shows up in new employees receiving 24 hours of in-store training, higher-than-average salaries, and benefit packages. All employees who work more than 20 hours a week receive stock options and full health-care benefits. Schultz says, “The most important thing I ever did was give our employees stock options. That’s what sets us apart and gives a higher quality employee that cares more.” In employee surveys Starbucks ranks ahead of other companies. Starbucks employees show an 82% jobsatisfaction rate compared to a 50% rate for all employees. Starbucks has the lowest employee turnover rate of any restaurant or fast-food company. Another survey found that the two principal reasons people work for Starbucks are “the opportunity to work with an enthusiastic team” and “to work in a place where one has value.” A Starbucks spokesperson says, “We look for people who are adaptable, self-motivated, passionate, creative team players.” Maintaining this spirit is not easy in a company with around 11,000 fulltime and almost 70,000 part-time employees. “Getting big and staying small,” is the Starbucks objective, says Schultz. Starbucks has lower profit margins than other companies in the fast-food industry, partly because it has higher salaries and benefit costs. All of the stores are owned by Starbucks, which enables the company to control store operations. “I look at franchising as a way of accessing capital, and I will never make the tradeoff between cheap money and losing control over our stores,” says Schultz. There are several reasons for using team building to improve organizational effectiveness. First, the work group is basic unit of the organization and thus provides a supportive change factor. Second, the operating problems of work groups (or the basic units) are often sources of inefficiency. Teams or work groups often have difficulty in operating effectively. The problems that inhibit effective operation include lack of clear objectives, interpersonal differences or conflicts, ineffective communication, difficulty in reaching group decisions, and inappropriate power and authority levels in the group.
Need for Team Building:

Work teams may be of two basic types: 1.

Natural work team

– people come together because they do related jobs or because of the structure of the organizations design. 2.

Temporary task team

– groups meet for limited periods to work on a specific project or problem and disband after they solve it. Need for team building varies with situation.

Team Building :

Team building refers to broad range of planned activities that help group improve the way they accomplish tasks and help group members enhance interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Effective approach to team building involves: Team-Building Activities Team Building Process The Manager’s Role in Team Building When is Team Building Appropriate? Results of Team Building

Team-Building Activities:

A team is a group of interdependent people who share a common purpose, have common work methods, and hold each other accountable. The nature of that interdependence varies, creating the following types of team: groups reporting to the same supervisor, manager, or executive, groups involving people with common organizational goals; temporary groups formed to do a specific, one-time task; groups consisting of people whose work roles are interdependent; and groups whose members have no formal links in the organization but whose collective purpose is to achieve tasks they cannot accomplish alone. In addition, there are a number of factors that affect the outcomes of any specific team-building activity: the length of time allocated to the activity, the team’s willingness to look at the way in which it operates, the length of time the team has been working together, and the team’s permanence. Consequently, the results of team— building activities can range from comparatively modest changes in the team’s operating mechanisms (for

example, meeting more frequently or gathering agenda items from more sources) to much deeper changes (for example, modifying team members’ behavior patterns or the nature and style of the group’s management, or developing greater openness and trust). In general, team-building activities can be classified as follows: (1) activities relevant to one or more individuals; (2) activities specific to the group’s operation and behavior; and (3) activities affecting the group’s relationship with the rest of the organization. Usually, a specific team-building activity will overlap these three categories. On occasion, a change in one area will have negative results in other areas. A very cohesive team may increase its isolation from other groups, leading to intergroup conflict or other dysfunctional results, which in turn can have a negative impact on the total organization unless the team develops sufficient diagnostic skills to recognize and deal with such results.

Activities Relevant to One or More individuals:

People come into groups and organizations with varying needs and wants for achievement, inclusion, influence, and belonging. These needs and wants can be supported and nurtured by the team’s structure and process or they can be discouraged. Almost all team-building efforts result in one or more of the members gaining a better understanding of the way authority, inclusion, emotions, control, and power affect problem solving and other group processes. Such activities provide information so that people have a clearer sense of how their needs and wants can or will be supported. This information then gives group members a choice about their level of involvement, commitment, and investment in the team’s functioning. For example, in one team, the typical decision-making process included the leader having several agenda items for discussion. Each of the items, however, had a predetermined set of actions that she wanted the group to take. Most members were frustrated by their inability to influence decision making. During the team-building process, group members asked whether the boss really wanted ideas and contributions from group members. They gave specific examples of the leader’s not-so-subtle manipulation to arrive at preconceived decisions and described how they felt about it. At the end of the discussion, the boss indicated her willingness to be challenged about such preconceived decisions, and the other team members expressed their increased willingness to engage in problem—solving discussions, their trust in the leader, and their ability to make the challenge without fear of reprisal. Sometimes, the team-building process generates pressures on individual members, such as requests for higher levels of task performance. Such requests could have negative results unless accompanied by agreement for further one-to-one negotiations among team members. If these demands are made of the boss, for example, he or she may feel a loss of power and authority unless the team can agree on ways in which the boss can be kept informed about what is happening. Methods to meet these needs for control and influence without causing feelings of isolation can be explored.

Activities Oriented to the Group’s Operation and Behavior:

The most common focus of team building activities is behavior related to task performance and group process. In an effective team, task behavior and group process must be integrated with each other as well as with the needs and wants of the people making up the group. Team-building activities often begin by clarifying the team’s purpose, priorities, goals, and objectives. This establishes a framework within which further work can be done. In most team-building activities, groups spend some time finding ways to improve the mechanisms that structure their approach to work. A group may discuss how a meeting agenda is created, the efficiency of key work processes, or strategies for lowering costs. In addition, groups often examine their communications patterns and determine ways in which they can be improved. Frequently, this leads to dropping some communications patterns and establishing new ones that are more open and conducive to problem solving in nature. Another group operation issue is the effective use of time. To improve in this area, the group may examine its present planning mechanisms, introduce better ones, and identify ways for using its skills and knowledge more effectively. The group also may make decisions about recognizing and redistributing the workload. As the group develops over time, it tends to become more aware of the need for action plans about problems or tasks as well as for better self-diagnosis about the effectiveness of its task-accomplishment processes. Frequently, groups examine and diagnose the nature of their problem-solving techniques. Specific items usually are diagnosed in the earlier stage of team building, and as teams mature they broaden the scope of these diagnostic efforts to include areas that are more directly related to interpersonal styles and their impact on other group members. Throughout this process, group norms become clearer, and the group can provide more opportunity for members to satisfy individual needs within the group. As a result, the team is much more willing to take risks within both the team and the organization. Team members become more capable of facing difficulties and problems, not only within their own group but also within the larger organization. A spirit of openness, trust, and risk taking develops.

Activities Affecting the Group’s Relationship with the Rest of the Organization:

As the team gains a better understanding of itself and becomes better able to diagnose and solve its own problems; it focuses on its role within the organization. A group’s relationship to the larger organizational context is an important aspect of group effectiveness. As a result, the team may perceive a need to clarify its organizational role and to consider how this role can be improved or modified. Sometimes, the team may recognize a need for more collaboration with other parts of the organization and so try to establish working parties or project teams that cross the boundaries of existing teams. As the team becomes more cohesive, it usually exerts a stronger influence on the other subsystems of the organization. Because that is one area in which team building can have negative effects, the process consultant must help the group understand its role within the organization, develop its own diagnostic skills, and examine alternative action plans so that inter-group tensions and conflicts do not expand.

Team Building Process:

Managing a team involves more than supervising people. In today’s world, managers must bring a divergent group of people together to work on a common project. Since no one person can possess all the knowledge necessary to analyze and solve today’s complex problems, teams are used to bring together the required expertise. The nature of work groups makes team development interventions probably the single most important and widely used OD activity.

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