Groups and Teams

Groups/Teams are often times used interchangeable, there are some differences. According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2008, p. 170) "a group is a collection of two or more people who work with one another regularly to achieve common goals." On the contrary, Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2008, p. 192) define a team as "A small group of people with complementary skills who work actively together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable." This paper, will discuss ways in how groups can become high-performance teams impact of demographic characteristics and cultural diversity on group behavior and how such diversity can contribute or detract from high-performance teams.

According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2008, p. 171) "An effective group is one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, team viability, and offers a potential for synergy." Some benefits of effective groups include the ability to make better decisions, improved creativity and innovation, and ability increase commitments to action. According to University of Phoenix, Learning Team Toolkit (2009), "Groups typically pass through a series of stages as they grow and evolve into teams," These stages include forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

The first stage of group development is the forming stage. "Members are interested in getting to know each other and discovering what is considered acceptable behavior, in determining the real task of the group, and in defining group rules" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 175).

The next stage of group development is the storming stage. During this stage, group members may encounter feelings of frustration and tension leading to opposition. For example, in some groups people certainly experienced this stage. Everyone may have his or her own idea regarding what should be done and how it should be done. Some of the personalities of the group may clash, and many individuals often wanted to point fingers at everyone else instead of working together to complete the task at hand. This could quickly lead to tension and conflict. The stage may stay through the first two to three task, eventually the group starts to come together that leads them to the next stage.

"The norming stage of group development, sometimes called initial integration, is the point at which the group really begins to come together as a coordinated unit" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 175). During this stage, groups finally can get over the differences and work together to complete the group objectives. The group learns the importance of communicating group's expectations early and often.

"The performing stage of group development, sometimes called total integration, marks the emergence of a mature, organized, and well-functioning group. "The group is able to deal with complex tasks and handle internal disagreements in creative ways" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 175).

The final stage in group development is the adjourning stage, the group is "able to disband, if required, when its work is accomplished" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 175). "The adjourning stage of group development is especially important for the many temporary groups that are increasingly common in the new workplace including task forces, committees, project teams, and the like. "Members of these groups must be able to convene quickly, do their jobs on a tight schedule, and then adjourn - often to reconvene later if needed" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 175).

Transforming groups into high-performance teams is a major challenge in any organization. "An essential criterion of a true team is that the members feel, "collectively accountable" for what they accomplish" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 193). Organizations that create high-performance teams, has commitment. Leaders face new challenges, they need to make sure they have the right people with the right perspective, skills, and work practices in place to complete the project. Leaders must communicate high-performance standards and their team must have an individual stake at reaching such standards. Individuals should have a clear understanding about specific goal and the benefits related to such goals to both the individual and the organization.

According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn (2008, p. 193), leaders can do to create and maintain high-performance teams include finding ways to create early successes, continually introduce new information, have members spend time together, and give positive feedback.

Member diversity is also a very important factor among high-performance teams. Initially diversity among teams can have some negative results on behavior. Once teams can overcome their differences, the long-term benefits clearly outweigh the difficulties. Some challenges with heterogeneous teams include interpersonal stress and conflicts that emerge from such diversity. "Working through these dynamics can slow group development and impede relationship building, information sharing, and problem solving" (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008, p. 194). On the contrary, membership diversity offers a rich pool of information, talent, and varied perspectives that can help improve team problem solving and increase creativity.

Conclusion

A group will develop into a team when everybody in the group becomes open-minded to the diversity set up within the group. Communication within the group will strengthen the group into a team. Once the group also overcomes parochialism and ethnocentrism, the group will again gain respect for the other members and become a team. When all these areas are overcome the organization could have the winning team.

Teams have to knowledge every area because of the amount of diversity within the group. The team will also be fair to the other team members, take every idea into consideration regardless of the age, gender, religion, etc. According to University of Phoenix, Learning Team Toolkit (2009), "learning how to become more effective as team members and leaders requires a process of observation, reflection, and evaluation." In an effort to transform groups into high-performance teams, managers should develop common goals and vision, value and harness diversity, and foster communication.

REFERENCES

Schemerhorn, ., Hunt, ., & Osborn, . (2008). _Organizational Behavior_ (10th ed.). : John Wiley & Sons.. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from University of Phoenix, Course Reading.

University of Phoenix. (2009). Learning Team Toolkit. Available on the University of Phoenix

student/faculty website: http://ecampus.phoenix.edu. Retrieved March 11, 2010.