Unformatted text preview: Group Dynamics and Building
Teams Dr Retha Wiesner Building High Performance Teams
Building It’s about:
It’s We must all lean the same way to get around the
Twenty people in a room doesn’t make a team.
Teams don’t just happen. They have to be
developed, facilitated and motivated (Kriegel).
Teams are the farraris of work design. They are high
performance, but high maintenance and expensive
The boat won’t go, if we don’t all row (Mackay)
When spiderwebs unite, they can tie a lion (Ethopian
Clapping with the right hand only will not produce a
noise Group Behaviour Model
the group Group
structure Transparency 9-7 Performance
satisfaction Why Do People Join Groups?
Why Security Status Self Esteem Affiliation Power Goal Achievement Types of teams
Types Two types of teams can be identified in an organisation
are: Formal teams are created by the organisation as part of
its formal structure Self-directed teams are created to increase employee
involvement by allowing low-level workers participate
in decision making with the goal of improving
performance Formal teams
Formal Formal teams can be further classified into three categories:
Vertical team: composed of a manager and employees in
the formal chain of command, typically a single
department Horizontal team: composed of employees from about the
same hierarchical level but from different areas of
expertise, two common types are task forces and
committees Special-purpose team: created outside the formal
organisation structure to undertake a project of special
importance or creativity Self-directed teams
Self-directed Self-directed teams also can be further divided into three
types: Problem-solving team: typically 5 to 12 employees from
the same department who meet to discuss ways of
improving quality, efficiency and the work environment Self-directed team: a team consisting of 5 to 12
multiskilled workers who rotate jobs to produce an entire
product or service, often supervised by an elected member Virtual team: a team that uses computer technology and
groupware so that geographically distant members can
collaborate on projects and reach common goals External Conditions Imposed Upon the Group
External Organisation strategy Organisation culture Organizational resources Technology Authority structures Formal regulations Personnel selection process Performance evaluation and reward system Union influence Physical work setting Group Member Attributes
Group Abilities Personality Characteristics Why Teams?
Why Outperform individuals when tasks require
Outperform multiple skills
experience Better utilise employee talents
More flexible and responsive
Easier to assemble, deploy, refocus, disband
Facilitate employee participation
Increase employee motivation Differences between
groups and teams
groups Work groups vs
work individual accountability vs mutual
individual accountability and collective
performance. compete for individual performance
approval vs deliberation on how the
team can contribute to the organisation. speaking as individuals vs
speaking open ended
conversations and problem solving is Team
Team A group of people who are
committed to a common
purpose, for which they hold
accountable A Team Environment
Team Top management asks for subordinates’
Communication is open and extensive.
Information flows freely throughout the levels
of the organisation.
Decisionmaking and control generally occur
at all levels through group processes.
The emphasis is on self-control and problem
solving. Participation is key to everything.
solving. SOME ROUGH TIMES IN WORK TEAMS
SOME Teams can open the floodgates of interpersonal
conflict, finger pointing, and defused responsibility.
Teams involve frequent communication, and
communication can be stressful.
Team building, requires development of interpersonal
skills as well as training in group problem solving.
The T-word has also been misused within the
workplace. Team play may be used to mean putting
in long hours and making extraordinary sacrifice. Norms
Definition: Acceptable standards of behaviour within a group
that are shared by the group's members.
that Common types of norms
® Performance related processes ® Appearance factors ® Informal social arrangements ® How do behaviours become norms?
How Carryover from other experiences Primacy: first
behavior precedents Team
or members Critical events
history Importance of Norms
Importance Group survival Increases predictability of behaviour Reduces embarrassing interpersonal problems Allows expression of values and group identity. Status
Definition: A socially defined position or rank given to
groups or group members by others.
groups Examples of what may connote formal status
® Titles ® Relationships ® Pay and Benefits ® Work Schedule ® Office Amenities Size
s Smaller groups complete tasks faster s Larger groups typically perform tasks better s Large groups contribute to social loafing s Groups with an odd number of members tend
to perform better s Groups of 5 -7 members seem to be a "happy
medium" in size COHESIVENESS The extent to which group members feel a
common bond or attraction to task or group.
Agreement on group goals.
Frequent interaction among members.
Personal attraction among members.
Favourable evaluation of performance Determinants of Cohesiveness
Determinants Time spent together Severity of initiation Group size Gender of members External threats Previous successes Humour Effect of cohesiveness
Effect Groups with medium cohesiveness
Groups made the best decisions, the poorest
decisions occurred in groups with high
cohesiveness and no decision
procedures (Callaway and Esser,
TEAMTHINK Teams can become so concerned with
Teams preserving cohesiveness that they
become victims of ‘TEAMTHINK’.
become The process whereby highly cohesive
groups suppress critical evaluation in
order to achieve concurrence and
reduce stress in decision-making.
reduce The Downside to Teamthink
The Teamthink fosters a “we are right and good Teamthink
they are wrong and bad” mindedness.
Team competition leads to viewing opponents
Teamthink puts down players who dare to
differ about how the game should be played.
Teamthink is so concerned about pulling
together that it discounts self-criticism.
together Avoiding the effects of GROUPTHINK
Avoiding Open Climate Avoid the isolation of the group Assign members the role of critical
evaluator Avoid being too directive If members are aware of the possibility
of teamthink they can all guard against
the Social Loafing
Social 2+2=3 Tendency of group members to do less than
they are capable of individually, resulting in an
inverse relationship between group size and
individual What is a highly effective team? Highly Effective Teams Alternate Skill Sessions and
Action Teams at their best engage in a
Teams collaborative process of shared
leadership and followership. True team action is more like a football
situation where division of effort is meshed into
a single co-ordinated result; where the whole is
more than the sum of its individual parts ...
Each person shoulders a different part of the
total job, with each having 100 percent
responsibility for success of the whole (Blake &
Mouton). Highly Effective Teams Encourage
Critical Involvement Employee involvement is high in
Employee effective teams
effective The group unquestionably develops a
sense of participation in the critical
something of a social unit.
something Highly Effective Teams Balance Individual and Group Worth
Highly Most so-called management teams are not
teams at all, but collections of individual
relationships with a boss in which each
individual is vying with every other for power,
prestige, recognition, and personal autonomy.
Under such conditions unity of purpose is a
myth. Highly Effective Teams Are Calmly Supportive
Highly The supportive atmosphere of the highly effective
group stimulates creativity. The group does not
demand narrow conformity as do the work group
under authoritarian leaders (Likert, New patterns of
Almost without exception, the successful people
stress the importance of teamwork ... Teamwork is a
tricky business; it requires people to pull together
toward shared goals or values. It does not mean that
they always agree on the best way to get there.
When they don’t agree, they should discuss - even
argue - those differences (Robert Waterman: In
search of excellence).
search Highly Effective Teams are Introspective about the Process
Highly The verdict is unanimous that effective teams take
time to examine how well they are doing.
Co-workers can recognise when they are functioning
as a team through regular self-assessments.
Once a work group starts talking about how well it is
communicating and performing, it is on the road to
The shift to becoming a highly effective team is
facilitated by a tool such as the Signs of Teamness.
When it is OK and expected to talk about these signs,
a sensitivity to working together improves. Highly effective teams are attentive to continuous quality
improvement Quality performance hinges on a work team’s
ability to define key input variables (KIVs) and
key out output variables (KOVs).
Effective teams ask questions. They
systematically diagram the variables that
affect performance. Effective teams are
rigorous about specifications that the
customers want/product or service they
deliver. Understanding Team Dynamics
Understanding The group dynamics that must take place before
becoming a highly effective work team, if understood,
can make the road to arriving at teamness more
efficient and much less stressful.
Teamwork isn’t simple. In fact it can be a frustrating,
elusive commodity..Teamwork doesn’t appear
magically just because someone mouths the words. It
doesn’t thrive just because of the presence of talent
or ambition. It doesn’t flourish simply because a team
has tasted success.
has Sharing of Power in Work Groups
Sharing Individuals within a group inevitably experience the
same power concerns that their work group has with
Each individual silently asks her- or himself, “Where do
I rank in this group?”
The up or down feeling is a matter of power within the
group. What makes a work team different from a work
group, other than its size, is that a team shares
It means that there is a special sensitivity to sharing
This shared power shows up in turn taking in
communication, in performing tasks, and in having an
equal say in decisions.
Values Obviously, when people bring varying
Obviously, degrees of individualism and friendly
world values into a work group, there is
a clash of wills. As work groups evolve into teams,
these values will surface. Communication
Communication Group communication usually focuses on
However, perhaps even more important
(although rarely a topic on the agenda), there
is communication about relationships.
The frustrations and tensions that revolve
around getting a task accomplished often
concern people differences about what
should be done, people resistance to change,
and people failure to be responsible.
and Work team characteristics: size
Work Work team characteristics in terms of size include:
s The ideal size of work teams is thought to be seven Variations from five to 12 are typically associated with
good team performance
s Small teams (two to four members) show more
agreement, ask more questions
s Large teams (12 or more) tend to have more
s Work team characteristics: member roles
Work Members of successful team are characterised by two
Task specialist role: a role in which the individual
devotes personal time and energy to helping the team
accomplish its task
s Socio-emotional role: a role in which the individual
provides support for team members’ emotional needs and
s The Task Track
• Leadership/membership decisions.
• Dissatisfactions and/or desires expressed.
• Proposals debated/decided.
• Mission assigned.
• Discussion of how the group will be viewed and how it
might have favourable public image.
• A review of its performance.
Highly effective teams will develop patterns, traditions, and
habits of procedures that sociologists call norms.
Highly effective teams encourage differences of opinions.
Highly effective groups rarely vote to resolve differences.
Highly The Relationship Track
The Highly effective teams know that relationship tensions
occur, and talking about feelings sometimes is more
important than talking about tasks.
Highly effective teams, therefore, set aside time to
talk about how they feel and whether anyone is
listening to their opinions.
Relationship tension sometimes is linked to the
communication roles that we play.
communication Relationship Roles
Relationship To facilitate group communication, various individuals
of a team will play relationship roles. These include:
• Feeling sensitive, one who encourages the less vocal to
ask questions and give their opinions and one who seeks
to keep the contribution turn taking balanced.
Harmonise, joker, clown, or tension reliever.
Cheerleader or morale booster.
Satisfaction tester, one who encourages the team to ask
and evaluate how well it is working together.
and Communication Roles
Communication Communication roles of work team
Communication members vary: communication
pertaining to task accomplishment,
communication pertaining to team
relationships, and communication
pertaining to self-interest. Self Interest Roles
Self Self-interest roles are expresses by communication that
is directed more at personal advantage and attention
getting than for the good of the team. These include:
• Grandstanding, star, prima donna, and
• Verbal aggressiveness, boasting, criticising,
threatening, and verbal abuse that discounts the
value of others.
• Blocking to the extent that consensus and even
clarification of differences is impossible.
• Withdrawal, not following through on
assignments, and not doing one’s fair share.
assignments, Role Behaviour (Identifying Roles)
Role Is Your Work Group A Team? If So,
What Roles Are Played By Your Team
Members? Each individual has a characteristic way of
behaving in a group. The Belbin approach identifies eight different
roles, and determines the extent to which a
persons behaviour in a group fits into each role.
persons Usually people display the characteristics of
several roles, and roles may vary.
several TEAM DEVELOPMENT
TEAM STAGE 1: FORMING STAGE 2: STORMING
STAGE STAGE 3: NORMING
STAGE STAGE 4: PERFORMING Group development Stage 1: Forming
(orientation) Establish interpersonal relationships and
Low developmental level
Members are mildly to moderately eager
have general positive expectations
show some concern about what they’ll do,
Group’s work characterised by: low to
moderate task accomplishment
moderate Group development Stage 2: Storming
(dissatisfaction) Conflict arises, adjust and jockey for roles
Low to moderate development
Group members often experience frustration about
goals and tasks
experience feelings of confusion
discrepancy between initial hopes and expectations
This stage often start later in groups with complex
Resolution lies in redefining goals and tasks Group development Stage 3: Norming
(resolution) Group leader emerges and cohesion is established
Moderate to high development
Group members less dissatisfied as ways of working
together become clear, develop feelings of mutual
respect, harmony, trust - group cohesion
Feel pleasure in task accomplishment, begin to feel
more self-esteem in relation to group membership
and task accomplishment
and Stage 3 (continue)
Stage This stage may be very short or quite long
the ease of resolving feelings of
ease of learning new skills,
quality of interpersonal relationships,
ability of group to develop norms and
processes that enhance their ability to work
together and to value differences.
Group may tend to avoid conflict. Group development
Stage 4: Performing (production) Teamwork and cooperation High development level Group members have positive feelings
Group of eagerness to be part of the team, feel
confident about outcomes, work well
together, communicate openly, focus
their energy on task accomplishment
rather than on resistance or
dissatisfaction. Stages of Group Development
Stages Prestage I Stage I
Forming Stage II
Storming Transparency 9-5 Stage III
Norming Stage IV
Performing Stage V
Adjourning Relationship Between Group Cohesiveness, Performance Norms
and Cohesiveness Performance Norms High Low High High
productivity Low Low
productivity Moderate to
low productivity Transparency 9-21 Reinvigorating Mature Teams
Reinvigorating Effective teams can become stagnant. Success can lead to complacency
Success (early successes are often due to
having taken on easy tasks).
having Prone to suffer from teamthink. What can be done?
What Prepare members to deal with the
Prepare problem of maturity
problem Offer refresher training Offer advanced training Encourage teams to treat their
development as a constant learning
experience : continuous improvement
experience Wise Use of Teams
Wise Teamwork is not something that can be
ordered, begged, borrowed, or bought.
Teamwork in a workplace only comes about
when management and employees together
feel the need for it and can see its
The team concept has come to stay, and the
sooner organisations realise that adequate
preparation and training is required to build
high performance teams the quicker results
they will get from conducting work in the team
way. Trust - The Cornerstone of Teamwork
56% of employees indicated there is a lack of trust
in their organisation
Five Dimensions of Trust
Performance Groups must be viewed from the perspective
of the entire organisation
of Important factors are role perceptions, norms,
group size and demographics
Satisfaction Higher among small groups Higher within groups with uniform status and norms among
members Higher when higher level skills are utilised Higher where work is meaningful Higher when outcomes have significant effects on others Higher when groups experience substantial autonomy Higher when feedback is positive Conflict versus consensus
Conflict Although conflict result generally in better
quality decisions than consensus, ongoing
groups must continue to work together.
Acceptance for group decisions is higher with
consensus as well as satisfaction and desire
to continue with the group. It is ideal for each
member to feel free to express critical
opinions without adverse consequences.
opinions ‘Collective wisdom’ - beyond consensus Engender a spirit of mutual respect among members.
Exhort all group members not to lock-in on a particular
Discourage prior lobbying for support on particular options.
Delay declaring your own position.
Invite input from all group members.
Encourage candid expression of ideas.
Urge group members to actively listen to the views
expressed by others.
Insist that all members focus on ideas not people.
Foster a commitment to the group’s collective wisdom. ...
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- Spring '11
- Group development, elected member