Team Works

Nature of Team in OB

  1. Team Goals

Each team is formed with particular team goals. Employees perform their effort for collective performance. Their effort creates positive synergy in the organization. 

  1. Complementary Skills

Employees of team have complementary skills. They become interdependent and interactive by means of complementarities of skills. This helps to accomplish complex problems in the organization. 

  1. Shared Leadership

Leadership role in the team is shared.

Team members become clear in their respective roles and empowered with that specified roles. 

  1. Individual and mutual accountability

Team members are accountable for team performance individually and mutually to the team members. Each member is equally responsibility of success or failure of team. 

  1. Positive synergy

Complementary skills, shared leadership, mutual accountability and coordinated effort of team members create positive synergy in the organization. The output of team becomes greater than sum of effort of individual effort of members. Performance is measured in terms of collective team effectiveness. 

  1. Team based reward system

As the performance of team is measured on the basis of team performance. Rewards are given to team based on team performance.

Types of Work Teams in OB

Organizations from different work teams for different purpose to compete in today’s competitive business environment. As many organization use project organization structures to satisfy skills diversification at work. Following types of work teams are common in organization.

  • Problem-solving teams
  • Self-managed teams
  • Cross functional teams
  • Virtual teams
  1. Problem solving teams

Problem solving teams are formed in order to solve particular problem regarding quality, efficiency, productivity, etc. Problem solving teams are formed with the expert employees or supervisors from same department or unit as they are supposed to provide suggestions to solve problems. Such teams rarely have authority to implement their suggestions. Quality circle is an example of problem solving team in which members share their ideas and find most probable solution to the authority.

  1. Self managed team

Self managed teams in general, are formed with self motivated employees (10 to 15 in number) who perform interdependent and highly related jobs. Such teams not only provide suggestions to the authority but they have authority to implement their suggestions or findings. Fully self managed teams set their goals themselves, establish performance standard, measure their performance and initiate control activities. Such teams become more effective for improving performance if team members can manage conflict. Effectiveness of self-managed teams is not found uniformly positive because of failure because of failure in settlement of dispute. “One large scale teams in general does improve labor productivity, no evidence supported the claim that self managed teams performed better than traditional teams with less decision making authority.” Following factors are responsible for influencing effectiveness of self managed teams:

Team goals and norms

Common goal, values and norms of self managed team. 

Work design of team

Autonomy at work, skills variety, task identity and task significance. 

Composition of Team

Size of team, diversity among members, preferences and flexibility of members, roles allocated for each member, abilities and personality of team members.

Team context

Situational leadership, performance based reward system, level of interaction among team members, level of trust among team members.

Ways of improving effectiveness of self managed teams

Effectiveness of self managed teams can be improved by means of following ways though it may differ with different contexts:

Training and development

As self managed teams are formed with skilled and motivated employees of same functional units. They should thus, be involved in training and development programs to provide multi skills. This helps to motivate team members for team goals as well as improves the decision making capacity. 

Performance based reward system

Reward should be provided team members on the basis of performance rather than individual contribution. Effectiveness of team largely depends upon positive synergy of effort of team. Members should be responsible and accountable to team. Performance based reward system increases the feeling of equitable rewards among the team members. 


Self managed teams should have sufficient flexibility as they have to adopt changing environment. They have to make decisions to solve the problems regarding quality, performance and productivity with changing business environment. Management should try to increase degree of flexibility in roles, responsibilities, authority, goals, performances standard, evaluation system, etc. 

Performance evaluation

performance of self managed teams should be evaluated on the basis of goal achievement, empowerment, communication, roles and norms. Performance evaluation system motivates members to create positive synergy.

  1. Cross functional teams

Cross functional teams are formed by the employees from different functional units or departments but of same hierarchical level. Members of such teams are characterized with complementary skills. In 1960s, IBM created cross functional teams from different departments to develop successful system 360. Nowadays, many organizations conducting multi functional business activities. Such teams conduct regular meeting to solve particular problems. As they have different sills from different areas, they discuss each other to share information, develop new ideas, solve problems, and coordinate complex projects. All  automobile manufactures – Toyota, Honda, Renault, Suzuki, Tata, Ford – currently use this form of team to coordinate complex projects. 

  1. Virtual teams

Virtual teams are formed with experts from different sector diversified geographically but tied with computer technology. Team members are connected by means of online communication links such as Wide Area Network (WAN), video conferencing, or e-mail. Such tams are being more popular because of availability of trustable means of communication and increasing trends of boundary less job opportunities. “Evidence from 94 studies entailing more than 5000 groups found that virtual teams are better at sharing unique information (information held by individual members but not the entire group), but they tend to share less information overall”. In order to ensure the effectiveness of virtual teams, following conditions should be mentioned:

  • Trust among team members
  • Close monitoring at team processes 
  • Sharing team outputs in organization with high priority

Building Effective Work Team in OB

Effective teams  are those which attain their goals at minimum cost and sustain for long term. It is the extent to which individual objectives are fulfilled. To be more effective teams, teams must solve as many as possible dysfunctions. To be effective work teams, following four major components are to be fulfilled. 


Context is the situation under which a team is formed and need to work. Situations remain different and hence the tasks need to accomplish are also different. Thus, team performance is also influenced by such context. Following components of context are important to the team effectiveness:

  • Adequate resources: Adequacy of physical, human, capital, etc. 
  • Leadership and structure: Team leadership and division of task responsibility and authority in team. 
  • Climate of trust: Mutual trust and respect of team members. 
  • Performance evaluation and reward system

Team Processes in OB

Team processes are most important variable in evaluating effectiveness of the team. Team processes describe how team efforts accumulate to attain group goals. Performance level of team can be measured as to ensure whether cumulative efforts are greater than sum of individual efforts or not. Commitment of team members to attain team goals, team efficacy, a managed level of conflict, minimized social loafing, etc. are the factors in effectiveness of teams. Team processes are importantly analyzed in large and interdependent teams. Team process indicates process gain (positive synergy) and process loss (negative synergy i.e. social loafing). 

Positive synergy (Process gain)

Positive synergy or process gain is the state of being more performance than the sum of performance of individual efforts. This means, positive synergy or process gain gives the team effort of three members devoting 2 level of effort each as more than 6 i.e. 2+2+2>6. Team effort produces better result than their performance individually. Trust among the team members, well accepted team goals, participative leadership, coordination of team members, open communication, etc. produce the positive synergy. 

Social loafing (Process loss)

Social loafing is the tendency of team members to contribute less effort when working in team. This means, the group performance of three team members capable of doing 2 units individually will be less than 6 i.e. 2+2+2<6 (sum of individual effort). Social loafing produces less result when team members realize their efforts are not supervised seriously. Effect of social loafing can be experienced if team members perceived inequality in efforts of others, realize lack of measurability of individual efforts, perceive dipersion of responsibility, perceive inequality of rewards, and perceive conflict in team goals. Social loafing challenges the logic that the productivity of the group as a whole should at least equal the sum of the productivity of each individual in that group.

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