UNDERSTANDING WORK TEAMS
After studying this chapter, students should be able to:
Explain the growing popularity of teams in organizations.
Contrast teams with groups.
Identify four types of teams.
Describe conditions when teams are preferred over individuals.
Specify the characteristics of effective teams.
Explain how organizations can create team players.
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of diversity to work teams.
Explain how management can keep teams from becoming stagnant and rigid.
Few trends have influenced employee jobs as much as the massive movement to introduce teams into the
workplace. The shift from working alone to working on teams requires employees to cooperate with others, share
information, confront differences, and sublimate personal interests for the greater good of the team.
Effective teams have been found to have common characteristics. The work that the members do should provide
freedom and autonomy, the opportunity to utilize different skills and talents, the ability to complete a whole and
identifiable task or product, and doing work that has a substantial impact on others. The team requires individuals
with technical expertise, as well as problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills; and high scores on
the personality characteristics of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability.
Effective teams are neither too large or too small; typically, they range in size from 5–12 people. They have
members who fill role demands, are flexible, and who prefer to be part of a group. They also have adequate
resources, effective leadership, and a performance evaluation and reward system that reflects team contributions.
Finally, effective teams have members committed to a common purpose, specific team goals, members who
believe in the team’s capabilities, a manageable level of conflict, and a minimal degree of social loafing.
Because individualistic organizations and societies attract and reward individual accomplishment, it is more
difficult to create team players in these environments. To make the conversion, management should try to select
individuals with the interpersonal skills to be effective team players, provide training to develop teamwork skills,
and reward individuals for cooperative efforts.
Once teams are mature and performing effectively, management’s job is not over. This is because mature teams
can become stagnant and complacent. Managers need to support mature teams with advice, guidance, and
training if these teams are to continue to improve.
At the end of each chapter of this instructor’s manual you will find suggested exercises and ideas for researching
the WWW on OB topics.
The exercises “Exploring OB Topics on the Web” are set up so that you can simply
photocopy the pages, distribute them to your class, and make assignments accordingly.
You may want to assign