Article Critique: a Theory of Subgroups in Work Teams

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Article Critique: A THEORY OF SUBGROUPS IN WORK TEAMS

By Marciana Paul

Subgroups are a prevalent and widely studied characteristic of work teams. Despite considerable advances in our understanding of subgroups in existing research, this article suggests that an integrated theory is needed to organize and synthesize this research. To address this need, the authors suggest ways of using subgroups that includes a typology of the subgroups and have formulated models that would better provide formation and outcomes of subgroups. With the hopes that it would provide a common language for scholars, and clarify ways in that present literature do not. Many of the existing researches have failed to answer key question or correctly connected subunits with work teams whereas this study identifies three underlying factors of subunits which are identity, resources and knowledge.

Statement of the Research Problem

“As organizations continue to turn to work teams to accomplish key objectives, researchers have converged on the notion that team processes and outcomes are strongly influenced by subgroups (Gibson & Vermeulen, 2003; Lau & Murnighan, 2005). Scholar’s identity some of the fault in accomplishing key objectives of subgroup as the characteristics related to team composition, and how subgroups affects team learning. By identifying and clarifying the dominant types of a construct an organization can then specify the theoretical basis of that construct. “Since no commonly accepted definition of Subgroups exists in the literature on teams, we suggest that a set of two or more organizational members has to meet two criteria in order to be considered a subgroup. First, it must be a subset of members of the same work team, whereby a work team is a group (e.g., project team or management team) whose membership and task are formally recognized by the organization (Cohen & Bailey, 1997; Kozlowski & Bell, 2003). Second subset of members can only be considered a...
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