Subject: The Lumen and Absorb teams at
Crutchfield Chemical Engineering
Reporter: Mei, Qiaobing
CCE was an U.S. subsidiary of PPQ Worldwide Industries. Lumen team and Absorb team were two project teams in Burke’s Polymers Department, which was one of three in CTD of CCE. Both Lumen and Absorb teams were under the same business situation, being confronted with companywide downsizing, and having similar responsibility, uniform size and form of the team. However, after two months of operation, results for the two teams turned out to be totally different in terms of the creativity, motivation level and performance. Burke, the department manager, was really worried about this phenomenon and tried to figure it out so as to secure smoother operation and better performance in the future. Therefore, he consulted Mckinty, an organizational psychologist, who adopted unique approaches to get a deep research into the organizations based on two weeks quantitative and qualitative dairy data collection.
As we all know, in general, most teams will go through four stages when coming together for the first time. The four stages are forming, storming, norming and performing. In this case, Lumen team appeared to be in the “norming” stage while Absorb team was still in the “storming” stage.
It is apparent that members in Lumen team understood (that they need to work together to accomplish team goals) the necessity of teamwork for accomplishing team goals and they did work in close collaboration. In the case we find that when members in Lumen team worked together, every member knew exactly what she/he should do throughout the process, and the procedure run efficiently and smoothly. On the contrary, if we take a look at the Absorb team, we discover many conflicts within the team. The members were reluctant to take Chip’s leadership, thinking it is a waste of time to explain repeatedly their work to Chip out of requirements. And this certainly brought a negative effect on the entire time throughout the process.
Apart from the different stage in which each team was involved, there also are other possible reasons that brought about the significant different performances of Lumen team and Absorb team, and the three follow ones carried most weight. Firstly, it is apparent that Lumen team had a high degree of team interdependence while Absorb team was likely to draw a low degree of team interdependence. Secondly, in terms of taskwork processes, Lumen team had a creative Behaviour while Absorb team carried out a poor one. The third factor to be considered is that in the teamwork processes, leader of Lumen team, Max, did a good job while leader of Absorb team, Chip, did a very poor job, which exerted a detrimental influence on the entire work process of the Absorb team. Besides, gloomy and woeful external environment of the entire company was also a detrimental impact on the performance of both teams.
To the project teams, the mission was challenging and difficult to accomplish as it requires high level of comprehensive interdependence. It is obvious that Lumen team had a high level of interaction and coordination out of which its members accomplished their works effectively. In the case, we have plenty of narratives to describe cooperation among the members in Lumen team. For example, when the team was confronted with an unexpected mission, Melinda left a few jobs off Pierre as he had a newborn baby, and the leader, Max, prepared to give him a hand as well. Besides, Lumen team also possessed a high degree of Goal interdependence. All the members had a shared vision of the goal of the team and attached their individual goals to that. When Max did a patent application, every member revealed a high level of participation. After an open communication, Max took other members’ suggestions which not only perfected...
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