This is the first part of a recommendation report on effective teamwork for the
Organizations everywhere are implementing teams into their daily business activities.
Quality teams and work teams are the hottest current trends.
Even organizations that
are not setting up formal teams are pushing employees to use teamwork to improve
performance. Some organizations have structures that naturally lend themselves to
work in teams, but need the tools to properly organize and implement teams that will be
circulation department has such a structure. Some of the
methods that have previously been tried include an independently-conducted employee
attitude and opinion survey, consulting from an industrial psychologist, training sessions
for supervisors, and various contests.
However, teamwork continues to be an issue that
causes conflict among the circulation department staff.
To gather information for this report, library research was conducted to learn strategies
and methods for improving the implementation of teamwork structures.
In addition, 25
Indianapolis Star employees were surveyed to discover their views on several of the
methods suggested in the literature.
Review of the Literature
This review of recently published literature on teamwork addresses organizational
structure, group dynamics, creating teams, and issues for supervisors.
Many authors agree that the way in which an organization is set up structurally can
either facilitate or hinder its use of teams and teamwork.
A traditional organization,
where “lower” level or front line employees are treated as mindless workers who have
no valid input, may have a much more difficult time implementing a team structure as
compared to an organization where front line employee input is valued (Butman,1993;
Often, the methods a company uses to implement teams can also cause conflict and
Cynthia Stohl, a Purdue professor, says this happens when the team programs
disconnect the worker and stifle creativity, rather than serving the intended purpose of
connecting workers with the company and opening doors to creativity (1996).
calls these “paradoxes of teamwork,” and explains that paradoxes can occur at nearly
every phase and level of team structure.
Particular areas that might be relevant for the
Star & News to be aware of include paradoxes of design, commitment, participation,
and cooperation (1996).
According to Stohl (1996), the paradox of design
occurs when a company implements
team programs to give workers more control over their jobs, but results in causing
middle managers to feel threatened and low-level employees to feel pressured to