Teams are now a common part of today's workforce. They are advantageous for the productivity and morale of the individual employees. Yet with all groups come conflicts. Knowing how to handle a group conflict effectively and still work together is an integral part of a successful team. This paper will take a look at what a team is and the origins of teams. It will then transition to the processes involved in creating a team and then move to advantages and disadvantages of team. Finally, this paper will discuss conflicts in a team and how to resolve them efficiently.
Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams
For companies to remain competitive in today's economy, they need to look at their processes with a renewed vigor. Companies must become more creative, maintain higher morale, and become more efficient. Companies are learning that they can accomplish all the above by getting away from individual efforts and moving toward teams. For the next four points we will be discussing team building in the workforce, the process behind a team, advantages and disadvantages, and finally identifying and resolving conflicts. To begin with, we need to establish the difference between a group and a team. According to Wisdom of Teens, Jon R. Katzenbach defines a group that has "no significant incremental performance need or opportunity." An example of a group would be a few co-workers placed together by management to come up with an ad campaign that is to be distributed amongst other employees. The co-workers belonging to the group does not work independently and they most likely come up with their ideas while together. Each person of the group does not work interdependently and individual co-workers are not independently accountable for specific tasks. A team is defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." A baseball team is a great example of true teamwork. Each individual has his or her own job and it must be accomplished effectively in order for the team to win as a whole. The individual can be held accountable for his contributions. Teams were introduced to the US by Japan. Japanese manufacturing plants were very successful during the 1950's and the US thought that this was a result of the "effective use of small groups." (Lippman-Blumen 1999). Teams were initially introduced to manufacturing plants. The introduction proved to have mixed results. Soon, the US team project took on a new direction when it started to incorporate research of teamwork that was performed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1940's and 50's. In the 1960's a prominent company named Procter and Gamble started utilizing teams in their work force. At this time, teams were still relatively new and unknown. P&G found this type of work atmosphere to be successful and saw that it had a "significant competitive advantage" (Stewart 1999.) P&G soon had its employees signing nondisclosure agreements because they viewed their work environment as confidential. With the company so successful, other companies starting poaching current employees of P&G and convinced them to bring their knowledge and experience with them to a new position at a new firm. As a result, the knowledge of teams began to spread. At According to Bolman-Deal (n.d.) Teams are now an integral part of the American workforce. Yet not all teams perform as anticipated. When a group is not given a clear purpose, they tend to fail. The process involved in selecting the team is important. Bolman-Deal (1992) states that teams that are given "clear goals, open communication, shared leadership, and a comfortable, informal atmosphere." are teams proven to succeed. You cannot just through a group of people together and expect them to become...