Groups may be either formal or informal. Groups go through developmental stages much like individuals do.
The forming-storming-norming-performing-adjourning model is useful in prescribing stages that groups should pay attention to as they develop.
The punctuated-equilibrium model of group development argues that groups often move forward during bursts of change after long periods without change.
Groups that are similar, stable, small, supportive, and satisfied tend to be more cohesive than groups that are not. Cohesion can help support group performance if the group values task completion.
Too much cohesion can also be a concern for groups. Social loafing increases as groups become larger. When collective efficacy is high, groups tend to perform better.
Understanding Team Design CharacteristicsGroups and teams are not the same thing. Organizations have moved toward the extensive use of teams within organizations.
The tasks a team is charged with accomplishing affect how they perform. In general, task interdependence works well for self-managing teams.
Team roles consist of task, social, and boundary-spanning roles. Different types of teams include task forces, product development teams, cross-functional teams, and top management teams.
Team leadership and autonomy varies, depending on whether the team is traditionally managed, self-managed, or self-directed.
Teams are most effective when they comprise members with the right skills for the tasks at hand, are not too large, and contain diversity across team members.
Management of Teams
Much like group development, team socialization takes place over the life of the team.
The stages move from evaluation to commitment to role transition. Team norms are important for the team process and help to establish who is doing what for the team and how the team will function.
Creating a team contract helps with this process. Keys to address in a team contract are team values and goals, team roles and leadership, team decision making, team communication expectations, and how team performance is characterized.
Team meetings can help a team coordinate and share information. Effective meetings include preparation, management during the meeting, and follow-up on action items generated in the meeting.
Barriers to Effective TeamsBarriers to effective teams include the challenges of knowing where to begin, dominating team members, the poor performance of team members, and poorly managed team conflict.
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