What Are the Strengths and Challenges of Teams at Work?

Topics: Social psychology, Group dynamics, Social cognition Pages: 6 (2256 words) Published: August 22, 2013
What are the strengths and challenges of teams at work?

Team work has been the biggest development in management of human resources for organizations in the past few decades (Mohrman, Cohen and Mohrman, 1995). It has been implemented in a wide variety of spheres and the growth of the popularity is still ongoing. It is obvious that these changes have not happened without a reason, there is something to team work that is attracting every manager like kids to an ice-cream car. Before I continue, I want to state some things so there would not be any misunderstanding further on the essay. First, I do not want any confusion when it comes to defining a team and a group, because I understand that there is not much of a difference (Guzzo, 1996) between these terms. The only thing that I want to state is that team always has an interdependent nature; they perceive themselves as a whole unit. Second, as the topic is about teams in general, the evaluation is quite superficial and it will not be valid for every team. The way team preforms depends on the size of the team, the management of it and of course the working environment it is in. So every team has to be evaluated independently to give an objective report. I will describe aspects that stand out amongst the others and are present for most of the teams. My goal in this essay is to evaluate teams at work environment drawing on theory and research. I am going to point out the strengths of a team-based work from member’s point of view and challenges that team members have to face. Eventually, what I am trying to state is that people (managers, leaders etc.) who are leaning towards team work as the best way of getting things done have made this assumption based on feelings they have towards team-work rather than researching theory and experiments made on the approach to get the bigger picture of what team-work consists from and what are the actual drawbacks. I am basing my work on the paper about ‘romance of teams’ (Allen and Hecht, 2004a) taking some ideas from the paper, but putting them into my own perspective. I am going to start with the most obvious strengths that teams has, because those are the ones that people are most aware of. Followed by additional strengths, that according to researches lies in our sub consciousness. After that I will describe the biggest challenges teams have to face.

A team consists of several people and each one of them has their own skills, characteristics, gender, age and perception of things in general (Bratton et al., 2010). There are several definitions of a team, but this one serves the best for my purposes – ‘A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project’ (Chenkul, 2009). Indeed each one of us is unique and by coming together and supplementing each other we form a living organism called ‘team’. Knowledge, opinion, experience and personal views can be shared in this living organism between parts which it consists from, making one combined and shared ‘mind’, in this way implying additional strengths. Maybe these are not the strengths that people will mention the most when speaking about pros of teams, but they exist and they do form our feelings towards teams. I would like to continue by focusing on strengths of teams that people are unaware of or they are aware of them subconsciously. Every team is a social formation; accordingly it includes interaction with others, whether it is just a chat that started with “how are you doing?” or a discussion about the subjective they are trying to achieve or a social evening to bring the team closer together, it does not matter. The thing that matters is that team gives you a wide range of opportunities to satisfy your social needs; it gives you a feeling of belonging (Godard, 2001a). Alongside, comes the feeling that overtakes you, that gives you the idea that you want to be a part of a team, which is natural, because people are...

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