July 24, 2012
Organizational team development is an essential element to successful organizational development and achievement. Designing the right team can contribute to organizational success or failure. With each team comes special attributes that managers must pay close attention to due to the work environment being “populated by persons who differ in obvious ways , such as race, ethnicity, sex, language or religion, it is said to be diverse” (Osborne, n.d.). Diversity gives any company or organization a competitive edge by capitalizing on all the strengths and various talents of each individual of the team. Team diversification is sometime overlooked by management for various reasons. This paper will discuss the various attributes of diverse teams, benefits, company diversity strategies, challenges/conflicts, and types of diversity training. There are numerous entities that influence the team development and performance which are all contributing factors to whether a team is weak or strong.
Diversity is defined as the “differences across many dimensions, including culture, sex, physical abilities, age, race, sexual orientation and even into political beliefs, religious practices and socio-economic status” (Fritz, n.d., p 1). When individuals think of diversity the first thought that usually comes to mind is being of a different race. Structuring the right team cultures is an intricate task for some managers to take on because of all the individual opinions and views that exist within the team. Team diversification is sometime overlooked by management for various reasons. They can’t seem to grasp the importance of the overall management of teams, thus missing out on the full effects the team can contribute to the organization as a whole. Diversity is an increasing trend in today’s organizations, but the effects are not fully understood by many (Kearney, & Gebert, 2009). The benefits of having a diverse team is that it gives any company or organization a competitive edge by capitalizing on all the strengths and various talents of each individual of the team (Clark, n.d.). There is an array of potential talent in an organizational team. Some individual’s talent doesn’t manifest itself until working with a group of individuals and being challenged. As it is sometime said “other people bring out the best in you.” For instance, take a talented basketball player and compare his performance in practice with the performance in a championship game. One would see a significant difference between him and his team players. Without a doubt the team will be more focused on winning and presenting their best game performance. The competitiveness causes the team to work
effectively together; bringing out the best in them. Employees can work side by side for years and not know the inner strengths of the other. Working in teams causes people to communicate on a level that they may not have done if not invited to work in a more formal team environment with established guidelines and focused mission. As stated by Fritz, “working with people who differ from each other challenges people’s preconceived notions about how the world works and it forces people to step outside their comfort zones and consider new thought processes” (n.d., p 1). Leveraging the true essence of power within the team is one of many benefits. With diverse backgrounds in the team they are able to take different approaches in problem solving techniques. One person may be an analytical thinker (analysis; following step by step direction) and one may be an analogy thinker (finding solutions through comparisons). Each will compliment the other. The team has also good potential for decision-making. Certain people are natural decision makers and able to make quality assessments and some require additional characteristics. Problem-solving and...