Belbin Team Roles

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Teams are a key component of modern work practice. This has highlighted the importance of theories relating to the operation and effectiveness of team work (Buchanan, 2004). Much work has been devoted to seeking a formula for success. (Pritchard, 1999). One of the best known and widely used methods is Meredith Belbin’s work on team roles which is based on research commenced in the 1970’s and was published in 1981. Belbin put forward that management teams require a mix of individual characteristics working together to be most effective. His roles numbered 8, this was revised to 9 later with the addition of the specialist role.(Belbin,1981) The growing commercial success of Belbin’s original book and increasing adoption of the work in organisations (Furnham,1993a) resulted in greater evaluation. Furnham highlighted several question marks in terms of the Team Role theory and in turn Belbin himself and others have generated further assessment and debate on the subject. The author will review aspects of criticism brought against Berlin’s work, evaluate these criticisms along with Belbin’s own response to the comments. Part of Belbin’s original work was the Belbin Team Role Self Perception Inventory (BTRSPI). Whilst acknowledging the support the inventory had received from management trainers and consultants, the validity and reliability of this test was questioned by Furnham and later by others (Fisher,1996 )(Senior,1998). Furnham challenged that the psychometric qualities of the test were poor and as a ipsative test is prone to the inherent problems of such a test (Johnson et al,1988).He also questioned the way the questions were asked which could “easily lead to poor reliability”. Thirdly he raised concern given the measure was neither theoretically nor empirically derived. In addition to Furnham’s observations, the definitions of the 8 roles and the construction of the team role model were questioned by Brouek and Randall (1996) and Fisher,Macrosson &...
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