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Chapter 7

BUS 2090 - Chapter 7 Groups and teamwork.docx

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BUS 2090

Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork  Ralston Foods – Has been able to use self- directed work groups to its advantage in its Sparks, Nevada, cereal plant.  Daniel Kibbe was brought in to retrofit the facility. He viewed this as a major change, as a way to create a new culture at the Sparks plant: a culture focuses on groups and teams.  Group members were involved in all aspects – hiring, equipment checkout, developing work rules, skill-based pay, schedules and training.  Sparks culture is based on the recognitions that traditional systems have failed to tap the true potential of group members.  The system is based on an environment of credibility, trust and openness.  The work group orientation drives the organization.  There are operating work groups, support work groups, and a leadership work group composed of the entire management staff. Including operating and staff managers, group leaders, and the plant manager.  In most cases, work groups, which range in size from 8 – 50 members, are broken down into smaller teams ranging from 3-10 members.  In addition to work groups, there are cross-functional committees that meet regularly.  Most committee members are volunteers, and group members represent their work group.  The self directed groups consistently have a better, more dependable performance than those with group leaders.  Through a mix of trust, performance measurement and rewards, training and development, and leadership, Kibbe has succeeded in transforming the culture at Ralston’s Sparks plant and has demonstrated the power of teamwork.  Group – Consists of two of more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.  Interaction is the most basic aspect of a group – it suggests who is in the group and who is not. Interdependence simply means that group members rely to some degree on each other to accomplish goals. ALL groups have one or more goals they are seeking to achieve.  Group memberships are very important: The exert a tremendous influence on us, they are the social mechanisms by which we acquire many beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours. It is also important because groups provide a context in which we are able to exert influence on others.  Formal work groups – are groups that orgs. establish to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals. They are intentionally designed to channel individual effort and appropriate direction. The most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager.  Task forces – are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems such as suggesting productivity improvements.  Committees- are usually permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work group structures.  Informal work groups - Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests or organizational members. Seldom sanctioned by the organization, and their membership often cuts across formal groups. Informal groups can either help or hurt an organization, depending on their norms for behaviour.  Stages of group Dev. Over time: Forming ->Storming -> Norming -> Performing -> Adjourning *Not all groups go through these stages  Forming – Early stage, members try to orient themselves by testing the waters. What are we doing here? What are the others like? What is our purpose? The situation is often ambiguous, and members are aware of their dependency on each other  Storming –At this second stage, conflict often emerges. Confrontation and criticism occur as members determine whether they will go along with the way the group is developing. Sorting out roles and responsibilities is often at issue here. Problems are more likely to happen earlier, rather than later, in group dev.  Norming- At this stage, members resolve the issues that provoked the storming, and they develop social consencus. Compromise is often necessary. Interdependence is recognized, norms are agreed to, and the group becomes more cohesive. Information and opinions flow freely.  Performing – With its social structure sorted out, the group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are prominent themes in this stage.  Adjourning – Some groups, such as task forces and design project teams, have a definite life span and disperse after achieving their goals. Also, some groups disperse when corporate layoffs and downsizing occur. At this adjourning stage, rites, and rituals that affirm the groups previous successful development are coming, Members often exhibit emotional support for each other.  Punctuated Equilibrium – A model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions. Equilibrium means stability.  Phase 1: begins with the first meeting and contiunues until the midpoint in the groups existence. Assumptions, approaches and precedents that members develop in the first meeting end up dominating the first half of the groups life. The group makes little visible progress toward the goal.  Midpoint transition: Occurs at almost exactly the halfway point. The transition marks a change in the groups approach, and how the group manages the change is critical for the group to show progress.  Phase 2: It concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders will evaluate the product. o Prepare carefully for the first meeting. What is decided here will strongly determine what happens in the rest of phase one. If you are the coach or advisor of the group, stress motivation and excitement about the project. o As long as people are working, do not look for radical progress during phase 1. o Manage the midpoint transition carefully. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas that people generate in Phase 1. Clarify any questions with whoever is commissioning your work. Recognize that a fundamental change in approach must occur here for progress to occur. Essential issues are not likely to “work themselves out” during phase 2. At this point, a group coach should focus on the strategy to be used in phase 2. o Be sure adequate resources are available to actually execute the phase 2 plan. o Resist deadline changes. These could damage the midpoint transition.  Group structure – refers to the characteristics of the stable social organization of a group – the way a group is “put together”.  Most work groups, including task forces and committees, usually have between 3 – 20 members.  Larger groups consistently report less satisfaction.  Additive tasks – tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group members. We can predict potential performance by adding the performances of individual group members together.  Disjunctive tasks – Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member.  Process losses – group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating and coordinating larger groups. Actual performance = potential performance – process losses.  Conjunctive tasks – Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group member.  For add
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