Definition of teamwork
Salas, Goodwin and Burke in their works described teamwork as “The dynamic, simultaneous and recursive enactment of process mechanisms which inhibit or contribute to team performance and performance outcome” (41). While trying to clarify the description, the authors realized that it is essential for a person to consider competences within teams belonging to at least one of the types between task work and teamwork.
Task work competences is more focused on knowledge, skills, attitudes and other features of the employed in realizing personal task performance. Such application of skills may not necessitate independent interaction in the team. Teamwork competences on the other hand need attitude, knowledge and skills for the members to operate in a team that is mutually dependent.
Therefore, members of any given team have to possess personal level of expertise for carrying out their personal tasks as well as social dynamics expertise for contribution to the operations of the team (Salas et al. 63). Teamwork therefore, is based on the application of the competences and is about working jointly as team members towards a common goal.
It is additionally a means by which “individual task expertise is translated, magnified, and synergistically combined to yield superior performance outcomes, the wisdom of the collectives” (Salas et al. 42).
Advantages and Disadvantages
Teamwork offers different pros and cons related to it. One main benefit of operating as a team is enhanced motivation. It enables individuals to take more responsibility in the decision making process while enabling them to enjoy greater control of their work process.
Such benefits lead to enhanced morale even as team members gain more responsibility and a sense of ownership towards their projects. Extra responsibility on the other hand comes with more potential to create an environment that is more rewarding while reducing turnover rate (Khan & Soverall 462). People who work within teams also have a greater sense of belonging which is very crucial in taking more pride in the duties that one perform in the organization (Khan & Soverall 462).
Another equally significant teamwork feature that stands out as a benefit is that it enables an organization to be more flexible. Working with a team brings together individuals from different backgrounds and different departments that can help in solving emerging issues and in ensuring togetherness (Khan & Soverall 462).
An organization for example can utilize one big team in designing and manufacturing a specific product instead of using different people from various departments where every individual does his or her own things. Working in a team is simpler when it comes to generating the right solutions to cropping challenges therefore, making accomplishment of tasks simpler.
Teamwork is also beneficial when it comes to facilitating innovativeness in an organization. There are companies that encourage teamwork in an effort to ensure creativity in the working environment. Such companies base their structures on teamwork. Employees working in projects or departments that suit their skills and expertise best combine their orientations and skills to easily solve issues because they can correct each other and utilize their skills to grow their novel ideas.
Even though teamwork is much advocated in companies and other different sectors and has a number of shortcomings that should caution an individual or companies before implementing it. Teamwork is characterized by equal participation of team members because some who are lazy tend to neglect personal responsibilities because there are others who can do the job for them (Joseph 1).
Such cases can also lead to conflicts and resentments in the organization as some of the members tend to feel that lazy colleagues do not deserve equal treatment. The conflicts can be quite detrimental to the performance of the team thus impacting negatively the general productivity of the organization.
There are additionally people who work best as individuals and this means that if forced to work in groups, they would not make any vital contributions to the team or would end up as liabilities. Therefore, an employer must carry out thorough screening of members to determine whether they will deliver optimally as team members or when working as individuals. Forcing someone to work in a team also affects their personal and team’s performance.
Working in teams can also complicate decision making processes as they take longer. One makes decisions easier as an individual as no consultation is needed unlike in teamwork where members have to be consulted. There are also inherent conflicts and are not inevitable. Team members conflict on goals as well as strategies that can be used to realize the goals (Joseph 1). Consulting ideologies on how different things can be approached also delays the production process of a team.
Marts, Mathieu and Zaccaro in their works realized that there are intellectuals who have defined teamwork concept process differently therefore creating a contrast in the definitions. They argued that many of the definitions are not clear to offer an understanding of what teamwork process is all about. They also defined the process of teamwork as “member’s interdependent acts that convert inputs to outcomes through cognitive, verbal, and behavioral activities directed toward organizing task-work to achieve collective goals” (Marts et al. 357).
Team process as a result, involves interaction of members with the environment and with each other. They are also a means that enables members to utilize resources interdependently to realize certain goals. Different scholars and researchers have also identified the process of team work as a process that falls under three main categories. The processes include (Marts et al. 363).
This is a process involving analysis and elucidation of the team’s mission including identifying the main tasks, the operative conditions of the environment and resources.
Formulation of strategy
This involves creation of alternative paths for activities that help in realization of the mission
The process involves classification of goals and job accomplishment prioritization
The process includes monitoring of progress, duties involved in realization of the mission and interpretation of system information in regards to set goals and their attainment.
Monitoring of the system
This kind of process includes tracking of environmental conditions and available resources for the attainment of the team’s mission.
Monitoring of the team and the backup behavior
This includes offering help to members of a team in carrying out their respective duties. This kind of help could be via feedback and realization of tasks for them or enabling them in terms of behavior in different situations.
Coordination is more focused on organization of sequence and monitoring interdependent tasks.
Management of conflicts
The process is focused on creating conditions for prevention, controlling or guiding conflicts in teams before they occur. It also includes creating measures for managing conflicts that have already taken place.
Building motivation and confidence
This is a process that relates to creation and preservation of collective confidence amongst members of a team in an effort to realize the team’s mission
The process includes regulation of members of a team including their emotions in accomplishment of the mission.
Leaders of a team can utilize different strategies that play a crucial role in enhancing teamwork. One of the most significant strategies includes enlightening members of a team on the benefits of working as a team. As earlier mentioned there are people who prefer working alone and cannot understand why they are asked to work with other on some tasks (Krystle 1).
If team members can be in a position to visualize the benefits they are likely to generate by working in teams, they are more likely to commit into the teams. The second strategy involves ensuring that all members of a team feel important. It is easier to work with a team where members share the passion and the vision. This can however be realized if members feel important to their success and will contribute towards achievement of set goals. All members should additionally feel that they are entirely responsible for the end result of their work.
Team leader must also welcome suggestions and inputs from each member of the team. Such a move will help in creation of a sense of purpose amongst team members and in creating a room for exceptional ideas to help enhance overall performance (Krystle 1). Mediating on disputes also ensure enhanced performance because conflicts affects performances.
Organizing meetings and activities for teams on regular basis can also help to enhance the performance of the team. Games, meetings and outings can help members of a team to understand each other even better and interact therefore, overcoming any tension that can crop up as a result of unfamiliarity with each other. Individuals who are free with each other also share same thoughts despite how stupid they may appear.
Delegation of duties to team members can also play a crucial role in enhancement of performance of the team. Delegation reduces tasks done by individual members and in building trust to members of a team. Those entrusted with specific responsibilities are committed to success of the group because they understand how their responsibilities would impact their outcomes (Krystle 1). Duty delegation is also a confidence and morale booster to members of the team.
Teamwork vs Individual Work: Which is better?
Different theorist’s postulate that working as a team is much better compared to individual works a stance that this section tends to support. One of the main benefits of working as a team as opposed to individual work is that it is easier for a team to solve issues because efforts of different people is more focused on a given issue and has more potential to design the right solution compared to an individual mind.
A team working towards a common goal is additionally more likely to realize the goal compared to the work of an individual. Different people with different skills and talents can also combine their expertise to tackle different tasks and help each other in areas of weaknesses and strengths compared to a person working alone because of limited knowledge and skills.
Teamwork also created an environment of mutual support which is advantageous in encouraging realization of a common goal, which would in some cases be quite difficult when working as an individual. Different people working on the same project encourage each other to realize set goals despite the challenges they may encounter and this is not the case with a person working alone.
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Joseph, Chris. “The disadvantages of teamwork in the workplace.” Hearst Newspaper 4 May 2014: Print.
Krystle, Tammanna. How to Promote Teamwork at Your Workplace, 2012. Web. 21 Jan. 2014. <http://www.wikihow.com/Promote-Teamwork-at-Your-Workplace>
Marks, Michelle, Mathieu John, and Zaccazo, Stephen. A temporally based framework and taxonomy of team processes. Academy Management Review 26.3 (2001): 356-376.
Salas, Eduardo, Goodwin Gereld, and Burke Shawn. Team Effectiveness in Complex Organizations: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives and Approaches. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis, 2008.