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Lecture 2

MHR 505 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Virtual Team, Job Satisfaction, Nominal Group Technique

Human Resources
Course Code
MHR 505
Jonathan Hughes

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Chapter 8- Team Dynamics
Teams and informal groups
-Teams are groups of two or more people who interact and influence each other, are
mutually accountable for achieving common goals, associated with organizational
objectives, and perceive themselves as a social entity within an organization
-Team permanence: how long that type of team usually exists
-Skill differentiation: refers to the degree to which individuals bring diverse skills and
knowledge to the team
-Authority differentiation: refers to the degree that decision making responsibility is
distributed throughout the team
--Informal groups
-Exist because humans are social animals; we feel the need to belong to an informal
-Social identity theory; individuals define themselves by their group affiliations
-They accomplish personal objectives that cannot be achieved by individuals working
-We are comforted by the mere presence of other people and are therefore motivated to
be near them in stressful situations
-They potentially minimize employee stress because group members provide emotional
and informational support
-Are the backbone of social networks, which are important sources of trust building,
information sharing, power, influence, and employee well-being in the workplace
Advantages and disadvantages of teams
1) Advantages:
-Teams make better decisions, develop better products and services, create a more
engaged workforce than do employees working alone
-Team members can also share information and coordinate tasks
-People are more motivated and can provide more breadth of knowledge
--The challenge of teams
-Process-losses: resources (including time and energy) expended towards team
development and maintenance rather than the task
-Process losses are amplified when more people are added or replace others on the team
-Brook’s law says that adding more people to a late software project only makes it later
--Social loafing:
-The problem that occurs when people exert less effort when working in teams than when
working alone
-Is higher when individual performance is hidden or difficult to distinguish from the
performance of others
-There is less social loafing when each team member’s contribution is more noticeable;

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can be achieved by reducing the size of the team
A model of team effectiveness
-A team is effective when it benefits the organization, its members, and survives long
enough to accomplish its mandate
-Team effectiveness includes the team’s ability to survive long enough to fulfill its
--Organizational and team environment
-The environment is typically viewed as a resource pool that either supports or inhibits
the team’s ability to function and achieve its objectives
-Team members tend to work together more effectively when they receive some team
based rewards, when the organization’s leadership is supportive of team oriented work
structures, when the organization’s structure assign teams distinctive clusters of work
-The environment generates drivers for change within teams
Team design elements
1) Task characteristics:
-Complex work requires skills and knowledge beyond the competencies of one person
-Task complexity demands teamwork, but teams also work better when the work is well
structured rather than ambiguous
-Teams can perform ambiguous tasks reasonably well when they have well structured
-Task interdependence = the extent to which team members must share information,
materials, or expertise in order to perform their jobs
Pooled interdependence: occurs when an employee or work unit shares a common
Sequential interdependence: the output of one person becomes the direct input for
another person
Reciprocal interdependence: work output is exchanged back and forth among
individuals (highest degree of interdependence)
2) Team size
-Teams should be large enough to provide the necessary competencies and perspectives
to perform the work, yet small enough to maintain efficient coordination and meaningful
involvement of each member
-Small teams operate effectively because they have less process loss; smaller teams also
tend to feel more engaged because they have more influence on the group’s norms and
goals and feel more responsible for the team’s success and failure
3) Team composition
-Cooperating: effective team members are willing and able to work together rather than
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