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1 1 review the range of groups and

Open-ended discussion and active problem-solving Effectiveness Indirectly through their influence on others Direct assessment of the collective work products Work style Groups discuss, delegate and then do the work individually Teams discuss, decide and delegate but do the work together The distinctions in Table 1 may be overstated: However, a difficulty in distinguishing groups from teams is that many so-called teams are really working groups because the emphasis is on individual effort.

1 1 review the range of groups and

A real team is a small number of people with complementary skills, equally committed to a common purpose to which they hold themselves mutually accountable Katzenbach and Smith, 1993. People doing exactly the same job in a call centre answering customer enquiries, with the same individual targets and being overseen by the same supervisor or manager, may be called a team, but it is best described as a working group. There is overlap between teams and 1 1 review the range of groups and, of course.

But distinctions are useful when considering whether to invest time and effort in building a team when a group will do. For a team to be effective there needs to be a clear, shared understanding of team objectives, mutual respect and trust and an appreciation of individual strengths and weaknesses. There also needs to be an atmosphere in which knowledge and expertise can be shared openly, with opportunities for each team member to make a distinctive contribution. There may be times when group working — or simply working alone — is more appropriate and more effective.

For example, decision-making in groups and teams is usually slower than individual decision-making because of the need for communication and consensus. In addition, groups and teams may produce conventional rather than innovative responses to problems, because decisions may regress towards the average, with the more innovative decision options being rejected Makin et al.

This is because there will be a greater need for different skills and perspectives, especially if it is necessary to represent the different perspectives of the different stakeholders involved. Table 2 lists some occasions when it will be appropriate to work in teams, in groups or alone. One way of approaching this is to consider the type of task to be performed and its level, from routine to strategic. These factors in turn influence several other key dimensions of teams identified by West 2004: This depends on what levels of skill are needed to perform the task Autonomy and influence.

This may depend on whether the task is routine or strategic and at what level in the organisation the team is formed. Peckham 1999 suggests four possible types of problem relating to how well it is already known and understood and to what extent there is already a solution to this problem.

Working in groups and teams

These are set out in Figure 1. Four types of teams are identified to tackle these different problems: The mix and balance of skills must be appropriate to the nature of the task. Does the task need a lot of people doing the same task for example, a call centre or a small, expert team addressing different parts of the task for example, writing a textbook?

The size of the team needed will be an important consideration. The larger the team, the greater the potential variety of skills and knowledge, but as the size of the team increases each individual will have fewer opportunities to participate and influence proceedings.

The size of a team is therefore a trade-off or balance between variety and individual input. A team of between five and seven people is considered best for the effective participation of all members, but to achieve the range of expertise and skills required, the group may need to be larger.

This brings with it the challenges of how to manage and supervise a large team. Homogeneous groups, whose members share similar values and beliefs, may be more satisfying to work in and may experience less conflict, but they tend to be less creative and produce greater pressures for conformity. In contrast, heterogeneous groups, whose members have a wider range of values and beliefs, are likely to experience greater conflict, but they have the potential for greater creativity and innovation.

This introduction has outlined differences between groups and teams but it has also highlighted the fact that all teams are groups but not all groups are teams. The remaining sections of this chapter sometimes relate specifically to teams and sometimes to groups and teams.

Thus, we refer to all groups as teams rather than groups and teams. The approach considers team processes, which are divided into three parts: These highlight the different issues 1 1 review the range of groups and activities a manager needs to engage with or oversee during the life of a team.

To prepare for activity 2, read this section with a specific team in mind. It could be the team you referred to in activity 1 or a different one. Ideally it should be a workplace group or team that you manage or one in which you participate or have participated.

Think about the processes the team went through or will go through. Make notes as you read. At the same time, the manager needs to consider the team in terms of its task phases and processes, from start to finish. This allows the manager to put a particular team-related issue in context in order to understand it better. Looking forwards, the manager needs to consider the development of team members and the skills and competences that will be useful to take to the next team and task.

This seemingly complex and unwieldy task is easier to understand and manage when broken down into its component parts. The open systems model of team work Schermerhorn et al. Teams are viewed as systems which take in resources such as time, people, skills, problems inputs and through transformational processes throughputs such as decision-making and different behaviours and activities, transform them into outputs, such as work, solutions and satisfactions Ingram et al.

This is illustrated in Figure 2. Throughputs refer to the activities and tasks that help to transform inputs into outputs. They may have the greatest influence on effective team work as they include team processes such as developing and maintaining cohesiveness, and communication.

  1. This may depend on whether the task is routine or strategic and at what level in the organisation the team is formed. What others might be needed?
  2. However, it also shows us that these benefits do not occur without effort and planning.
  3. Use the input, throughput and outputs questions in section 2 to help you.
  4. Tiredness and Ill health can also cause difficulties in communication. Trust between team members can help individuals to suppress their personal interests for the good of team development and performance.
  5. The second purpose of the activity is for you to assess whether groups or teams operate in more or less the same way in organisations.

They also involve task activities which get the work done and maintenance activities which support the development and smooth functioning of the team.

Outputs are those successful outcomes which satisfy organisational or personal goals or other predetermined criteria. The success of outputs may be assessed by a number of stakeholders, including the organisation itself and team members, and by a range of other stakeholders. Team outputs include the performance of team tasks and individual outputs such as professional development.

  • The latest news and headlines from yahoo news officials whose clearances would be under review and is setting new records for missile engagement range;
  • Then, what needs to be done in order for this to be produced?

How can this framework be applied in a way which highlights how to manage or lead a team and its task? What inputs, throughputs and outputs would you need? What questions would you need to ask yourself about different aspects of the process? We now consider what you might need to think about for the newsletter example. Some of the questions could be adapted and applied to other situations as well.

This may be the direct manager of the group or team or the result of senior management decisions and strategies. Two main factors to consider at this stage are communication climate and group configuration.

In the case of the company newsletter you may need to think about the existing communication culture within the organisation and how the newsletter can enhance it. Consider the reasons for introducing the newsletter and to what extent it is in line with organisational strategy and vision. You may also want to see what existing processes and procedures can be used, what barriers and 1 1 review the range of groups and there may be and what you may need to do to influence and smooth the way so that these are overcome or worked around.

Managers can influence the team process by their choice of team members. An effective team needs to be appropriate to the task: In the case of the newsletter, you would need to think about the skills needed and the people available to work on it. It is also useful to consider whether the task could be used as a development opportunity for someone. If so, is there also a person available to monitor and support them? Some input-related questions for you to consider at this stage are given in Box 2.

Box 2 Input-related questions How much support is there for this newsletter among senior management? Who might need to be influenced? What objectives will it fulfil? What resources will be provided for it? What others might be needed? Where could they come from? How will individuals working on this be rewarded or recognised?

What might they learn? What skills could they hope to develop? How many people will be needed to perform this task?

What technical skills are needed e. What training and development opportunities are available? What roles are needed e. Who might work well together? A sense of unity is created through sharing clear goals which are understood and accepted by the members.

  1. Praise the team for its successes. You may wish to use the Comments section below to share your results with other OpenLearners.
  2. All meetings are recorded and care plans updated.
  3. What skills could they hope to develop? Eg member of staff, Healthcare professional, or service user with dementia.
  4. Contesting proposals that seem to be misconceived and might work against the achievement of the task Resolving conflict.
  5. Box 6 Team stages. Physical barriers — these would be due to the environment that you are in.

This involves encouraging feelings of belonging, cooperation, openness and commitment to the team. This involves being clear, accurate, open and honest. This involves making sure that established procedures are in place, that everybody is clear about leadership and an environment of trust is being created. Task and maintenance activities.

  • This enables me to build positive working relationships with work colleagues and other professionals;
  • The coordinator, who clarifies goals and promotes decision-making;
  • An example of this is would be between myself and a service user, myself and an Occupational Therapist in relation to the needs of a service user, or when speaking to senior carer to discuss a service user;
  • Without trust, communication will deteriorate because people will begin to hide their views or try to impose them;
  • Often creative and unorthodox, a plant will come up with ideas but may have difficulties communicating them.

These include activities that ensure that the task is produced effectively, such as planning, agreeing on procedures and controls. They also include activities that minimise threats to the process, such as monitoring and reviewing internal processes and dealing constructively with conflict.

In the case of the newsletter project, you may need to think about ways of setting up the project. Would it be possible to have a team awayday? If so, what would the themes of the day be? Perhaps you could work backwards from the finished product. How do team members envisage the newsletter in terms of aim, goals, content and look?

  • Can they come up with an appropriate design and name for the newsletter?
  • What maintenance behaviours does the group need to exhibit to get the job done and to benefit and develop from the experience?

Can they come up with an appropriate design and name for the newsletter? Then, what needs to be done in order for this to be produced?

Some ground rules for working together may also need to be set at an early stage. Some throughput-related questions are set out in Box 3.

Box 3 Throughput-related questions What can you do to build a sense of belonging among the team members?