Groups & Teamwork
Groups vs. Teams
Two or more people with a common relationship. Eg. Asians are a group of people
A small number of people who work closely together toward a common objective, and are accountable to
Efficient vs. Effective
Same output with fewer inputs
Successfully achieving goals
Efficiency + Effectiveness
You’re making dumplings with a friend for Chinese New Year. Your goal is to make 100 dumplings. You are
very slow at making dumplings, while your friend is fast. You each make 50 dumplings, but it takes you a lot longer
while your friend goes and has a drink.
Who’s more efficient? Your friend (b/c less time)
Who’s more effective? Neither (b/c both successfully achieved the goal)
Who’s more productive? Your friend (b/c it’s a combination of both efficiency & effectiveness)
Why use teams?
Increased Effectiveness - ONLY when the task requires multiple skills, judgment and experience.
More Flexible than Departments - because teams can change quickly and easily when the situation changes.
More Motivational - Because teams have higher task identity.
BUT: Decreased Efficiency - Because takes more time & more resources to plan the process.
Teams vs Individuals
Teams are better when
Tasks require multiple skills, judgment and expertise
The end goal is more than the aggregate of individual goals
Tasks are interdependent
Individual is better when
An individual can perform the work well on his/her own
A quick decision needs to be made and no group already exists than can make it. Kinds of Teams
1. Problem Solving Teams:
Employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality,
efficiency, and the work environment; outside of their usual work duties.. BUT they usually can’t implement their
ideas without higher approval. Eg you’re a junior consultant, and over time you and your fellow consultants decide
it would be more efficient to have permanent teams who work together on every case, instead of putting together
new teams for each project.
Purpose: to improve process (or quality).
2. Self-Managed teams:
Teams take on responsibilities of their former managers. This includes tasks such as planning, scheduling,
addressing problems with the work process, perhaps even team member selection and discipline. Self-managed
teams increase efficiency (not effectiveness)
Purpose: to improve productivity while decreasing the number of people required.
Limitation: Works best in cultures with low power distance.
3. Cross-functional teams:
Employees from about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to
accomplish a task.
Purpose: to achieve complex projects or tasks.
Drawback: At the beginning, they don’t know each other. it takes time to build trust (Inefficient) and
eg. Skunkworks: Cross-functional teams that develop spontaneously to create new products or work on complex
4. Virtual teams
Use computer technology to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. Eg
Matt’s virtual hockey pool. (A lot harder to form this group.) Will be more successful if the team meets at least
Purpose: To use a team approach even when people are distant.
You’re going to see more of this in the future, because of environmental concerns, savings in time and money.
Drawback: increases in misunderstandings because of limited social cues. The first few emails set the tone for
the rest of the team’s life! Norms:
Standards of behaviour shared by a group.
They’re useful and important because…
They increase group survival
They increase predictability of group members’ behaviour
They reduce embarrassing interpersonal situations.
They encourage expression of a group’s unique identity and central valus group identity.
BUT be aware of pressure to conform! This can be good or bad.
Performance (How hard to work, what kind of quality, levels of tardiness)
Appearance (Personal dress, when to look busy, when to "goof off," how to show loyalty)
Social arrangement (How team members interact)
Two models of group Development
1) Five stage model: The group’s interpersonal process.
Eg. “dating” behaviour—