This paper is provided to show the practical difficulties to ensure the effective teamwork. Whilst the world is gradually modernising with an increasing advancement in technology, the business environment is constantly changing. Thus, in order for the company to gain competitive advantages in the constant changing business environment, they need an innovation and a new idea to survive in the market. One factor that is a key for the company success is effective teamwork in the organisation. The moderate level of group cohesiveness will lead to effective teamwork.
Teamwork is the ability of members in a team, which work together intensely toward a specific common vision, and performance goals. (Bloisi et al, 2007). Teamwork can provide many benefits to the company. However, in practically, there are some difficulties for the companies to achieve effective teamwork. The factors impacting the level of group cohesiveness that will be discussed are team size and team diversity. Team size is an important key success factor of teamwork. Team size can be included with either a small or a large team.
The small team can be managed easily. A small team consists of two to nine members, which provides more interaction with each other, more motivation, and more contribution to the team success (Meyer et al, 2007). Moreover, it generates high level of cohesion. The task will be clearly assigned to each member. The performance of each member can be easily evaluated. Importantly, everyone in the team will collaborate to achieve the team goal. On the other hand, large team provides more innovation, creativity and specific skills to accomplish team goals.
Moreover, each task can be divided and assigned to individual workers (Meyer et al, 2007). Nevertheless, either a small team or large teams also provide some difficulties mostly in large team. For the small team, the innovation will be limited with a few resources. On the other hand, in a large team, it leads to less motivation to perform and lower satisfaction (Bradner, Mark, and Hertel, 2005). Team members might feel that their efforts are not necessary to the team. The efficiency of communication is also reduced because of the difficulty to share information among members.
Meyer et al (2007) stated that ‘social loafing is the tendency of individuals to put forth less effort when they work in groups than they work alone’. Social loafing often occurs in the team when the member is not loyal to the team. Furthermore, each worker has different standards on finishing the work. Some might think that they have done the jobs, but others might have seen the potential to perfection. Each worker will have different level of contribution to the team. Moreover, the workload is not distributed equally. People have to build different capability to be able to support each other.
When people have to carry out a certain project, the jobs seem to be responsible by the most capable person. Others might say that they cannot do it and compromise for easy task. Tasks with most complexity will be assigned to the member who possesses superior skills. That member might feel unfair for him or herself. As a result, this situation will lead to ineffective teamwork. Therefore, the large team size might not be an appropriate size for effective teamwork because it decreases motivation and team cohesion. The small team size with appropriate number of members might be better to reduce the difficulties.
However, the sufficient resources are also necessary for the team to achieve the goal. Second difficulty is the team diversity. Team diversity helps promotes sustainable development and business advantages because heterogeneous teams can create better, more innovative products and services, and generate better team performance than homogeneous team (Kangaslahti and Turner, 2004). Homogeneous team is the team that all members share the same value. Even though it gains the advantage of high cohesiveness, excessive cohesion will result in groupthink (Mir, 2009).
Therefore, when people in the team come from different backgrounds, they will generate differentiated ideas to satisfy specific customer needs in the global business environment. However, there are some difficulties for heterogeneous team to perform effective teamwork. During forming stage, members consider what would be the appropriate behaviour to the team and they try to get to know each other (Bloisi et al, 2007). At this stage, cross-cultural communication is important. Since, diversity might lead to miscommunication (Furnham, 1997). Each member has different background and communication style.
Each member might have several creative ideas but he or she might not know how to express her ideas verbally and articulately. Innovation might not be created effectively because of low efficient communication. Moreover, the mistakes often occur when member cannot catch up what the team members say. That member might interpret the message incorrectly. As a result, the different cultures will result in misunderstanding among team members. For example, in general, eye contact in Western countries means confidence, politeness and attentiveness but in some African countries may be seen as rude and disrespectful (Mullin, 2007).
At storming stage, diversity team might result in numerous ideas superior to homogeneous team. Nevertheless, sometimes several ideas might be hard to reach a single agreement especially in heterogeneous team (Furnham, 1997). Each member has different background, personality, culture, attitude and education. Therefore, he or she might have different perspective to the same problem. Consequently, it would bring about conflicts and disagreement among team members. The conflict is established when the sharing of information is incorrectly interpreted.
When the team members have different background, they will try to persuade other members that their ideas are the right answer. The person who thinks he or she is expert in the specific area will try to dominate other team members. For example, during the weekend teamwork activities at Headley Park, every team had to design for the raft racing. One member was confident that he knows how to build a high-quality raft. He tried to take a dominant role in the team and always uses his authority in making decision without listening to other team members’ ideas.
As a result, other team members did not want to show any ideas because they thought that even they told him, he will not listen to them. As a result, it reduced member contribution and the level of motivation. A good leadership is significant to teamwork, which especially in heterogeneous team that team members have different customs and traditions (Mullin, 2007). The conflict that might happen among members cannot be avoided. When the conflict and disagreement arise, the leader should provide the cooperative environment which all ideas and suggestions are evaluated before final solution is reached (Bloisi et al, 2007).
However, while conflicts among team members are occurring, some leaders might try to reduce meetings and discussions time and jump to the final decision directly in order to avoid the conflicts (Lencioni, 2003). Therefore, the relationship among members will not be developed. If each member does not have a chance to adapt his or her attitude toward team members, it will lead to failure of effective team performance. Since, there is low effort and low creativity, teamwork failed to come up with the correct solution because of poor problem solving and decision-making (West, 2004).
Nevertheless, when the heterogeneous team members are not camaraderie, there will be the low level of cohesiveness and there is time consuming to increase cohesion. Therefore, when the innovation and creativity are not necessary, the homogeneous team is more appropriate than heterogeneous team. During the globalisation, the organisation that provide the most opportunity to diversity, can survive in the business environment. Therefore, the controlling of group development process is needed in order to eliminate the difficulties by increasing cohesiveness among team members at the appropriate level.
A good leadership is also a significant factor for the team diversity to become an effective teamwork. In conclusions, it can be seen that inappropriate team size and ineffective team diversity can be the difficulties that might limit effective teamwork performance. A small team size can generate more interaction with each other, more motivated, and committed. On the other hand, it limits the innovative ideas. Large team, even though the team provides several creative ideas, it can reduce the ability of information sharing, and increase social loafing. Heterogeneous team generates high level of creativity and innovation.
Nevertheless, conflicts among team members often occur such as miscommunication and misinterpretation. However, when the creativity is needed, team diversity has an advantage over homogeneous team. Therefore, the small team size and the sufficient resources are needed. Group development processes should be continuously managed to ensure that the level of cohesion is increased at appropriate level with the leading of good leader. This can help team members develop the feeling of friendship and accomplishing team goals, which leads to effective teamwork. Word count: 1492 References:
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