Teamwork

The Ringelmann Effect and other variables affect team productivity. Organizations need to find creative ways to building highly effective teams. Collins (2012) identified the following attributes of effective teams:

  1. Member interdependency 
  2. Trust among members
  3. Member motivation
  4. Member satisfaction
  5. Leadership rotation
  6. Cohesion  
  7. Skill diversity
  8. Role alignment
  9. Group dynamics

To build highly effective teams, managers need to ensure that their teams have the above attributes and continue to have the same throughout the lifespan of the team.

Factors for Building Highly Effective Teams

Collins (2012) further observes that teams operate within a context, with factors like nature of task, team size and composition impacting on team effectiveness. Robbins and Judge (2013) takes on these contextual variables in their analysis of team effectiveness. They analyze team effectiveness within a model with three variables, viz:

  1. Context e.g., structure, leadership, trust, performance evaluation, rewards etc.
  2. Composition e.g., abilities, personalities, roles, diversity, size, preferences etc.
  3. Process e.g., purpose and goals, efficacy, conflict, communication, social loafing, norming etc.

Barriers to Highly Effective Teamwork

Managers need not only identify factors that promote team effectiveness, they also need to identify and eliminate barriers to effective teamwork. Barriers to teamwork are in the above cited team effectiveness model variables but manifesting as negatives.

Collins (2012) cites them as lack of collaboration, lack of management support, absence of delegated authority, lack of team motivation, unclear or conflicting goals, frustration, dysfunctional member behaviors, and poor structures.

For example, a wheel network communication channel poses a barrier to team needs of robust communication. Thus, organizational structural attributes can pose barriers to team if not aligned to team strategy. Team strategy requires structural configuration, contextual alignment, team composition and team processes compatibility with team strategy otherwise these elements pose barriers to building highly effective teams.

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