Groups and Teams

Groups. Teams. High-performance teams. What is a group? "A group is a collection of people who interact with one another regularly to attain common goals" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Over the years, groups have helped organizations achieve important tasks.

They have also been resourceful of helping the members of organization to improve task performance and experience more satisfaction with their work. Groups are good for people, can improve creativity, can make better decisions, can increase commitments to action, help control organization members, and help offset a large organization size (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Therefore, with all this positivity from a group, a group can form into a high-performance team through several stages and the actions of an effective manager. Groups and Teams

What is a team? "A team is a small group of people with complementary skills who work actively together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Everyone knows that two heads are better than one. With synergy, goals can be effectively accomplished for a team. Synergy (2002) is "the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effect." Thus, teamwork (Scarnati, 2001, p. 5) is a synergetic process:

A team is a formal work group consisting of people who work together intensely to achieve a common group goal. The essence of teamwork is to create a product through collective effort that exceeds the quality of any individual endeavor or the collective efforts of several individuals.

The word team is not synonymous with group. A group is a collection of people who may or may not be working collectively toward the same goal. A team is composed of three or more interdependent individuals who are consciously striving to work together to achieve a common objective, which in business tends to encompass improvements in products, services, or processes. A group becomes a team when members demonstrate a commitment to each other and to the end goal toward which they are working. In a team, there is a higher degree of cohesiveness and accomplishment than a group (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p.310).

Stages of Group Development There are certain steps individuals must take to form a group on becoming a successful team. A group goes through the team development stages in order to become a team: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 315). In the first stage, forming, a team is established to accomplish a certain task. Team selection is part of this stage. The suggested size of a team is small: five to seven members. In addition, selection is also based on skills and experiences. The second stage is storming. In this stage, there will be different perceptions or attitudes among team members about how projects can be completed (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 315).

Everyone have different views on the same issue. Some conflicts and hostility arises concerning roles, responsibilities, and especially the amount of workload during the storming stage (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). To resolve this chaos and create order, open communication is needed to improve communication and commitments to the group's mission. Each member of a group must understand one another interpersonal styles and put forth effort to find the necessary ways to achieve group goals in addition to satisfying individual needs (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). This progresses to the norming stage.

The group members are overtly faced with their struggles, issues and conflict in the third stage: the norming stage (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 315). They are more coordinated with one another in the norming stage. In the norming stage, uncertainties for one another became realizations. When they resolve the issues from the storming stage, group members will strive to maintain a positive attitude in the harmonious environment (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). The fourth stage of group development is the performing stage. In this stage, the group is mature, understanding, organized and well functioned.

The "membership is stable, the task is clear, and eyes are on the prize" (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 315). Members usually know about each other's weaknesses and strengths. They give and accept constructive criticism openly and realized that the negative and positive feedbacks are intended to help, not hurt any of us (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 316). This openness made us extremely motivated to accomplish our purpose and goals. In addition, members are highly encouraged to support each other to continue the progression. At the last stage, adjourning, the team successfully completed the mission that causes the team to separate permanently or temporarily (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p 316). Whether the experience was positive or negative, members may feel dissatisfaction.

"The task at this stage is to tie up loose ends and complete final follow-up on projects (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p 316)." At this end stage, the team members are advised to converse about the lessons learned. To continue momentum and motivation, encouragement needs to be provided and accomplishments must be recognized. Groups Becoming High-Performance Teams

For groups to move through these five stages as they evolve into a team is healthy (Dejanasz, et al, 2001, p. 316). In order to create and maintain high-performance teams, all of the various elements of group effectiveness must be addressed and successfully managed. "An effective group is one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and team viability" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Effective manager needs to communicate high-performance standards for a team and set a tone in the very first team meeting. Teams need a guided map of the steps towards success to become a high-performance team. They have to effectively communicate with the team of the rules of behavior and expected behaviors.

Therefore, the manager or leader must be the role model for the specific behavior that is desired (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). . In addition, the manager must have the members spend time together. When the member learn each other's personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, then the team will know who can perform a specific task. As the team works together, the effective manager should give positive feedback and reward high performance.

The team member must remain motivated to accomplish goals. When the manager find ways to create early successes and continually introduce new information, then the team can have an ongoing and positive relationship with the manager and amongst one another (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). When the manage adheres to these steps then a group can form into a high-performance team. Impact of Diversity on Group Behavior

Diversity has a huge impact on group behavior. At first, it can detract from high-performance teams because of the ignorance. Once everyone on the team learns about each other's differences the team then can accomplish long-term gains and attain utmost creativity and loyalty (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Valuing diversity is crucial to any organization. Organizational cultures that fully value and welcome diversity, management priorities and practices are expected to be effective and try to make diversity stick (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005).

A group or team that is well diversed will contribute different beliefs, talents, experiences and perceptions. With these different personalities, a well diversed group will take advantage of cumulative ideas and concepts to use for an organization. Demographics characteristics and cultural diversity such as age, gender, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and occupation affect group behavior. Everyone react differently to certain traits of another person. For instance, there was once when a female Muslim joined a newly formed group at a brand new job. No one knew that she was Muslim. When the group members find out, some people accepted it and asked questions about the religion to eliminate their ignorance.

Others felt uncomfortable and treated the Muslim female with disrespect and blamed her and ‘her people' for the 9-11 attacks. Lack of knowledge equals fear. Another good example is age. The older employees are usually the ones who have been working at an organization for at least to decades. Although younger employees straight out of college attains a job at the company they work at, the older employees may feel threatened because they may feel the company wants to replace them. In addition, older employees usually want things to remain the same at a job because they have been sensitized to the organizational policies that have been practiced for decades.

The younger employees more often have the technology education and knowledge needed for an organization to move forward and become successful. In addition, they can help the older employees with the technology advances. "Membership diversity offers a rich pool of information, talent, and varied perspectives that can help improve team problem solving and increase creativity" (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). Conclusion

In conclusion, effective managers can form a high-performance team through the correct actions. Although groups have a common purpose to attain tasks, a team works cohesively together and holds each other accountable to achieve desired goals. Groups go through the five stages of group development of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. As the team goes through these stages there may be some cultural and diversity conflicts that will be eliminated through communication and understanding. In addition, the group may become a team.

A manager is responsible to create the team environment in which a team can achieve the status of a high-performance team. A high-performance team that is well-diversed can accomplish endless possibilities for any organization.

References Dejanasz, Dowd, Schnieder (2001). Teams in the Workplace. Interpersonal Skills in Organization. Retrieved January 18, 2007, from University of Phoenix, Learning Team Toolkit Web Site: Scarnati, James T. (2001). On Becoming a Team Player. Team Performance

Management. 7(1/2), 5. Retrieved January 18, 2007, from Proquest Direct Database. Schermerhorn, J.R., Hunt, J.G., & Osborn, R.N. (2005). Organizational Behavior. 9th edition, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Synergy. The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary (2002). Retrieved January 18, 2007 from xreferplus.