Strengths and Limitations of the Belbin Model of Team Roles

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Critically review the ways in which the Belbin model
of team roles might be applied to the recruitment
and selection of new team members like the 'John
Lewis Partnership'. Consider and outline both its
strengths and limitations.

Table Of Contents

- IntroductionPage 1
- Meredith Belbin’s model of team rolesPage 1
- Applying Belbin’s model to the selection processPage 1 - Efficiency of application; the strengths and limitationsPage 1-2 - ConclusionPage 2


- Case Study; John Lewis and Ocado; Distinctly Successful
- Text Book; Management and Organisational Behaviour by Laurie J. Mullins (8th Ed.) - Sue Ridley, 15th November 2010, Groups and Teams Lecture Notes


A; The Nine Team Roles - Descriptions and Attributes


In 1981 Meredith Belbin published a book entitled Management Teams. The book enlists his research into organisational teams and how factors of personality can impact upon the efficiency of day to day activity. The theory is now universally applied in organisation in order to assess an individuals unique traits and place that individual in a suitable role in accordance with their Self Perception Inventory, a test of behavioural patterns also developed by Belbin.

This report will describe how Meredith Belbin’s model of team roles can be applied to the recruitment and selection of new team members within an organisation, subsequently concluding the strengths and limitations of application, a strong association will be made with The John Lewis case study listed in the bibliography in order to connect the theories to modern industry.

Belbin’s Model Of Team Roles

Belbin’s model enlists nine team roles (initially eight) in which a person can be categorised into, these roles were created due to Belbin’s theory that a team of similar personalities and academic abilities have negative effects on a organisations efficiency. With the application of his self-perception inventory Belbin believed that an individual could implement the results into forming a particular role required by an organisation.

The nine roles that Belbin listed were named; Plant, Resource Investigator, Coordinator, Shaper, Monitor-Evaluator, Team-Worker, Implementer, Completer and Specialist. The attributes of the nine roles will be listed in appendix 1.0 (Mullins, 2007).

Applying Belbin’s Model To The Recruitment/Selection Process

It is imperative that The John Lewis Partnership implement some form of rigidity to their recruitment and selection process due to the seemingly unique way in which they run their business in opposition to their major competitors. This fine selection process is required due to each employee of the JLP having an input in the running of the company in some manner (directly or indirectly), this fact is concluded when it is understood that 80% of the council members are elected by the partners (employee’s) with the remaining 20% elected by the chairman.

In theory the model can be applied to any form of team with Belbin’s Self-Perception Inventory, this is a series of seventy-nine statements in which the participant rates from one to ten in accordance to how much the statement describes their individual traits. The results are then calculated by an observer which will subsequently assess the closest of the nine team roles that match their self-perceived behaviour.

For the majority of teams it is believed that when the model is applied to the distribution of roles, at least some benefits can be extracted, however once the organisations that are considered as competitors of JLP are examined it is in-disguisable that the company require the analytical style of the Self Perception Inventory more-so than others due to their stringent process of deciding where a new team member should be placed within the organisation.

Efficiency of Application; The Strengths and Limitations

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