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Ch 6 - Groups and Teamwork.docx

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University of British Columbia
COMM 292
Leah Sheppard

Groups and Teamwork Chapter 6 Teams vs. Groups: What’s the difference?  Group – two or more people with a common relationship  Team – small number of people who work closely together toward a common objective and are accountable to one another o Collective work o Interdependent effort o Shared leadership o Share accountability for the work of the team o Develops its own purpose or mission o Continuous problem solving, not just at scheduled meeting times o Effectiveness = team’s outcome & goals, not individual Why have teams become so popular?  More flexible and responsive to changing events  Capability to quickly assemble, deploy, refocus and disband  Potential to generate more outputs with no extra inputs  Usually best when tasks require multiple skills, judgment and experience  Greater task identity Types of Teams – classified based on their objective  Problem-solving or process-improvement teams o 5-12 people from same department o Discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency and the work environment o Planning teams, task forces, committees o Shared ideas and offer suggestions on how to improve work processes and methods o Rarely has the power/authority to implement their suggestions  Self-managed or self-directed teams o 10-15 employees who perform highly related and interdependent jobs o Not only solves problems and makes suggestions, but they also implement the solutions and assume responsibility for the outcome o Select their own members and leader o Take on responsibilities of former manager  Planning and scheduling of work, assigning tasks to members, collectively controlling the pace of work, making operating decisions and taking action on problems o Work better than teams that have an formally elected leader o Higher levels of job satisfaction, but not all teams have worked well (difficult to implement) o Effectiveness depends on strength and make up or team norms, type of tasks, & reward structure  Cross-functional or project teams o A group of employees at about the same hierarchal level, but from different work areas (departments) who come together to accomplish a task o Task forces – temporary cross-functional teams o Committee – groups composed of members from different departments o Effective means for allowing people from diverse areas to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems and coordinate complex projects o Early states of development – time consuming as members are still learning to work with the diversity – takes time to build trust among people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives o Skunkworks  Develop simultaneously to create new products or work on complex problems  Usually found in high-tech sector  Sheltered from other organizational members  Work on new ideas in isolation without being watched over by org. members during creative stages  Ignores the structure and bureaucratic rules of org.  Virtual teams o A team that uses computer technology to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal o Collaborate online o Challenges: less social rapport, less direct interaction, cant duplicate the give-and-take of face-to-face discussion o Tend to be more task oriented, less of a social-emotional factor o Lower job satisfaction with the group process o Keys to effectiveness:  Trust is established  Team progress is monitored closely – as to not lose sight of goals  Efforts and products are publicized throughout the org. – so the team does not become invisible From Individual to Team Member  Need to find balance between team needs and individual needs  Differences = pressures that group members put on each other through roles, norms, and status expectations Role – a set of expected behaviors of a person in a given position in a social unit o To understand behavior, one must grasp the role that a person is currently playing o Governed by role expectations – how others believe a person should act in a given situation Role Conflict – a situation in which an individual finds that complying with one role requirement may make it more difficult to comply with another o Increase tension and frustration o Conflict can be resolved by relying on the rules and regulations of the governing organization Role Ambiguity – a person is unclear about his or her role o Causes confusion, stress and bad feelings o Role overload – what is expected of a person exceeds what he or she is able to do o Role underload – when too little is expected of someone and that person feels that he/she is not contributing Norms – acceptable standards of behavior within a group that are shared by the group’s members  What members ought to do and not to do under certain circumstances  Means of influencing behavior of group members, with a minimum of external controls  Most common norms have to do with issues such as: o Performance – how hard should one work, what kind of quality o Appearance – appropriate work attire, when to look busy, how to show loyalty o Social arrangement – how team members interact o Allocation of resources – pay, assignments The How and Why of Norms: How they are developed? o Explicit statements made by a group member o Critical events in the group’s history o Primacy – first behavioral patterns o Carry-over behaviors from past situations – bringing to the present group expectations from the past group What makes a norm important? o It facilitates group’s survival – so they don’t fail; protection from interference from other groups o It increases the predictability of group members’ behaviors – able to anticipate each other’s actions and prepare appropriate responses o It reduces embarrassing interpersonal problems for group members – ensure satisfaction and prevent interpersonal discomfort o It allows members to express the central values of the group and clarify what is distinctive about the group’s identity – helps solidify and maintain the group Conformity o Adjusting to one’s behavior to align with the norms of the group o Group norms can pressure us toward conformity o May explain why some groups are more prone to antisocial behavior STAGES OF GROUP AND TEAM DEVELOPMENT The Five Stage Model  Stage I – Forming o Uncertainty about team’s purpose, structure and leadership
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