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Psychology 2660A/B Lecture Notes - Virtual Team, United German Hungarians Of Philadelphia And Vicinity, Decision-Making

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Natalie J Allen

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Chapter 9: Teams and Teamwork
No real distinction between the words groups and teams; team must consist of at least 3 people; dyad
= 2 person unit
Team a social aggregation in which a limited number of individuals interact on a regular basis to
accomplish a set of shared objectives for which they have mutual responsibility
o Bounded social units that work within a larger social system
o Can combine the strengths of their individual members to achieve that exceed the combined
results of all their members
Origins of Work Teams
A fast work pace led to organizations changing their structure in response and began using work teams
to accomplish work
Three factors are critical in the creation of teams to accomplish work
o The burgeoning amount of information and knowledge in existence since no one person can
have technical expertise in all areas, a team approach becomes more tenable as it pools mental
o The working population is becoming increasingly more educated and trained
o Rate of change in work activities
Work teams can be responsive and adaptable to these ever-changing conditions of work
Teams are not universally superior to individuals for conducting work across all relevant performance
indices; ex. Teams don’t necessarily produce better quality decisions than individuals
Not every company needs to use teams though
“Team halo effect” – when people seek to understand team performance, they tend to give teams credit
for their success; individuals tend to receive the blame for poor team performance
Level of Analysis
Level of analysis the unit or level (individuals, teams, organizations, nations, etc) that is the object of
the researchers’ interest and about which conclusions are drawn from the research
Figure 9-1 three levels of analysis
o Organization (company = 1)
o Team (work teams = 25)
o Individual (employees = 100)
Teams and organizations can differ in their size, but individuals cannot
Micro describes research at the individual level
Macro research at the organization level
Research at the team level is between micro and macro (“meso”)
o Meso research occurs in an organizational context where processes at two levels are examined
Types of Teams
Three basic types of teams
1. Problem-resolution team focuses on solving ongoing problems or issues
The members must have a high degree of trust in a process of problem resolution
that focuses on issues, rather than on predetermined positions/conclusions
Ex. Diagnostic teams at the CDC
2. Creative team developing innovative possibilities or solutions
Broad objective of developing a new product/service
Requires autonomy
3. Tactical team executing a well-defined plan or objective
Requires high task clarity and unambiguous role definition
Ex. Cardiac surgical team; police SWAT team
4. Ad hoc team created for a limited duration that is designed to address one specific problem
Hybrid between problem-res and a tactical team
Used in organizations that encounter unusual or atypical problems that require an
atypical response
Our lives are influenced by these multiteam systems
Principles of Teamwork
Five major principles of teamwork:
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1. Teamwork implies that members provide feedback to and accept it from one another
2. Teamwork implies the willingness, preparedness, and proclivity to back fellow members up
during operations
3. Teamwork involves group members collectively viewing themselves as a group whose success
depends on their interaction
4. Teamwork means fostering within-team interdependence
5. Team leadership makes a difference with respect to the performance of the team
Team structure
The structure of a team includes variables such as the number of members on the team, demographic
composition, and experience of team members
Successful teams manifest diversity in a team (diversity = differences)
How to manifest diversity among team members?
o Information diversity (can do)
Differences among the members in terms of what they know and what cognitive
resources they can bring to the team
Successful teams often have a pooling of expertise/knowledge among their members
o Value diversity (will do)
Reflects more fundamental differences among people with regard to tastes, preferences,
goals, and interests
Informational diversity positively influenced team performance
Value diversity decreased member satisfaction with the team, intent to remain on the team, and
commitment to the team
Impact of diversity depends on the type of task
Diversity within a team was reflected in the members’ filling different roles
o Effective teams were composed of members who served different roles on the team
o Needed roles for an 8-person team:
1. A leader
2. A shaper
3. A worker
4. A creator
5. A resource investigator
6. A monitor-evaluator
7. A team facilitator
8. A completer-finisher
These eight roles can be further reduced to four functions within a team:
o Leadership
o Work producers
o Internal team maintenance
o Liaison to people and resources outside the team
The likelihood of people assuming a secondary role out of the 8 is based on their personalities
The responsibility for directing and managing collective effort within the team can be shared across all
team members
Everyone within the team assumes some responsibility for the overall functioning of the team
o The team engages in “self-leadership”
Team processes
Processes are the operations within a team that permit it to function smoothly and efficiently
Four major team processes: socialization, interpersonal, shared mental models, and decision making
o Socialization the process to mutual adjustment between the team and its members, especially
new members
o How socialization occurs based on 3 psychological concepts:
1. Evaluation involved attempt by the team and the individual to assess and maximize
each other’s value; a mutual process
2. Commitment the sense of loyalty, union, and connection between the individual
and the team; strong commitment is needed
3. Role transition initiated when commitment reaches a certain level
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