Teams and Employee Involvement in Action

Teams and Employee Involvement in Action

This article, copyrighted by Prentice Hall in 2004, explores the concept of work teams and employee involvement programs in the workplace. The author argues that the effectiveness of teams is

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Slide1copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–1 Teams: Employee Involvement In Action • Teams  Are only as effective as the   Strategy  and  Structure  of the organization allow them to be. • Employee Involvement Program  Any formal program that lets employees participate in:  Formulating important work decisions  Supervising all or part of their own work activities. • Reasons for Organizing Work Teams  Improving product quality  Improving productivity  Improving employee morale  Improving staffing flexibility  What dynamics underlie these team outcomes?

Slide2copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–2 Employee Involvement in Your Company: An Informal Checklist Information sharing 1. Managers make decisions on their own, announce them, and then respond to any questions employees may have. 2. Managers usually make the decisions, but only after seeking the views of employees. 3. Managers often form temporary employee groups to recommend solutions for specified problems. 4. Managers meet with employee groups regularly—once per week or so—to help them identify problems and recommend solutions. 5. Intergroup problem solving: Managers establish and participate in cross-functional employee problem-solving teams. 6. Ongoing work groups assume expanded responsibility for a particular issue, like cost reduction. 7. Employees within an area function full time, with minimal direct supervision. 8. Total self-direction: Traditional supervisory roles do not exist; almost all employees participate in self-managing teams.  FIGURE 13–1 Source:  Adapted from Jack Osborn et al.,  Self-Directed Work Teams  (Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1990), p. 30.

Slide3copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–3 Groups and Teams • Group  Two or more persons who are interacting in such a way that each person influences and is influenced by each other person.  Distinction – While the action of the members in the group influences and effects others – No Shared Commitment • Team  A group of people committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which the team members hold themselves mutually accountable.  Distinction – Team members have predetermined interdependence – Shared Commitment

Slide4copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–4 Group Dynamics • Group Norms  The informal rules that groups adopt to regulate and regularize group members’ behavior.  How do norms materialize? – Directed, Consensus, Implied… – How do organizations manipulate/create norms? – What areas of the group/team do they influence? • Group Cohesiveness  The degree of interpersonal attractiveness within a group, dependent on factors like:  Proximity, similarities, attraction among the individual group members  Group size, intergroup competition, and agreement about goals.  Is cohesiveness the same as commitment?

Slide5copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–5 Types of Teams At Work • Team Types  It is always important to consider the purpose of the team when addressing:  Composition  Interaction  Allocation  Suggestion Team  A team formed to work in the short term on a given issue such as increasing productivity.  Problem-solving Team  A team formed to identify and solve work-related problems.  Quality Circle  A team of 6 to 12 employees who meet about once per week on company time to solve problems affecting their work area.

Slide6copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–6 Teams At Work  Venture (also Project or Development) Team  A small team that operates as a semiautonomous unit to create and develop a new idea.  Transnational Team  A work team composed of multinational members whose activities span many countries.  Increase team effectiveness by:  Clarifying the team’s goal. – Done externally or internally  Facilitating communications. – Ensuring that the proper structure is in place  Building trust and teamwork. – Either through selection or training  Demonstrating mutual respect. – Again, may be selected in or trained.

Slide7copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–7 Virtual Team • Virtual Team  Different set of issues and dynamics apply  Groups of geographically and/or organizationally dispersed coworkers who interact through – A combination of telecommunications and information technologies to accomplish an organizational task. • Which brings major impetus to the IT infrastructure used.  It is paramount to understand the advantages and limitations to virtual teams – Member composition – Structure – Flow of communication  Can they be as effective as face-to-face teams?

Slide8copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–8 Self-Directed Work Teams • Self-managing/Self-directed Work Team  A highly trained team of employees, including 6 to 18 people on average, who are fully responsible for turning out a well-defined segment of finished work.  They are empowered to direct and do virtually all of their own work  Their work results in a singular, well-defined item or service.  They represent the highest level of employee involvement.  Is their leadership?  How do you coordinate 18 people?  Hoe do you maintain roles and responsibilities?

Slide9copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–9  FIGURE 13–3 Why Teams Fail: The Leadership, Focus, and Capability Pyramid Source:  Adapted from Steven Rayner, “Team Traps: What They Are, How to Avoid Them.” National Productivity Review . Summer 1996, p. 107. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Slide10copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–10 How to Build a Productive Team  Have clear mission/purpose.  Understood and accepted by all members  Set specific performance goals.  Compose the right team size and mix.  Composition    Homogeneity/Heterogeneity  Have an agreed-upon structure appropriate to the task.  Normative approval  Delegate the authority to make the decisions needed, given their mission.  Set initial roles  Provide access to the resources needed to complete their mission.  Offer a mix of group and individual rewards.  We don’t like when others can affect our outcomes  Foster longevity and stability of membership.  If that is what you want in the group…

Slide11copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–11 Symptoms of Unproductive Teams  Nonaccomplishment of goals  When common agreed upon goals are lacking or not met.  Or, individual goals within the group are not met  Cautious, guarded communication  If communication is stifled, roles are degrading  Leading to the loss of a common goal  Lack of disagreement  Disagreement is the driving force behind creativity at the team level  Groupthink renders a team ineffective  Malfunctioning meetings.  Conflict within the team.

Slide12copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–12 What It Takes to Be a Team Player There are multiple areas addressed in assessing what comprises a team player • Personality  Individualism versus collectivism  Conscientiousness and Extraversion • Motivation  Group Efficacy • Interpersonal Skills  Conflict management skills  Collaborative problem solving skills  Communication skills • Management Skills  Develop and establish goals  Control, monitor, provide feedback  Set work roles and assign tasks

Slide13copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–13 Leading Productive Teams • Team Leader Skills  Coaching, not bossing  Help define, analyze, and solve problems  Encourage participation by others  Serve as a facilitator • Team Leader Values  Respecting fellow team members  Trusting fellow team members  Putting the team first The main take away here is that team leadership traits and general leadership traits may be very different

Slide14copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–14 Typical Leader Transition Problems • Perceived Loss of Power or Status  When assigned to a group  Leaders tend to feel demoted  Are uncomfortable with participative decision-making • Unclear Team Leader Roles  Not sure of their role  I would argue that there are a separate set of leader behaviors associated with effective team leadership • Job Security Concerns  Perception that there role is no longer valued • The Double Standard Problem  Given that teams are “the wave of the future”  Some supervisors may feel left out.

Slide15copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–15 The Leader’s Role in Team Formation • Forming  In the forming stage:  Attributions, Perceptions, roles, and attitudes are materializing – The teams and their leaders begin working out their specific responsibilities.  Training is the leader’s main task. – Although, conflict management is also very important • Storming  Resistance to the expected roles and relationships  Questions typically arise regarding who is leading the team and what its structure and purpose should be.  The leader ensures that team members continue to learn and eventually exercise leadership skills.

Slide16copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–16 The Leader’s Role in Team Formation • Norming  At this stage  Conflict has been reduced  Members are falling into roles / accepting norms  Team members agree on  purpose, structure, and leadership and are prepared to start performing.  The leader’s job is to emphasize the need for the team to temper cooperation with the responsibility to supervise its own members. • Performing  A period of productivity, achievement, and pride as the team members work together to get the job done.  In this stage the leaders role may be very minimal. • Adjourning

Slide17copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–17 How to Improve Team Performance • Select members for skill and teamwork. • Establish challenging performance standards. • Emphasize the task’s importance. • Assign whole tasks. • Send the right signals. • Encourage social support. • Make sure there are unambiguous team rules. • Challenge the group regularly with fresh facts and information. • Train and cross-train. • Provide the necessary tools and material support. • Encourage “emotionally intelligent” team behavior.

Slide18copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–18 Providing an Organizational Context That Supports Teams Team  Work Approach Team  Work Approach Team  Work Approach Team  Work Approach Organizational Structure Organizational Structure Organizational Structure Organizational Structure Organizational Systems Organizational Systems Organizational Systems Organizational Systems Organizational Policies Organizational Policies Organizational Policies Organizational Policies Employee Skills Employee Skills Employee Skills Employee Skills This is where a major part of team research is today… How is the organization ensuring the proper environment for the team to be effective.

Slide19copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–19  FIGURE 13–5 Designing Organizations to Manage Teams Source:  Adapted from James H. Shonk,  Team-Based Organizations  (Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1997), p. 36.

Slide20copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–20 Pros and Cons of Group Decision Making Pros • More points of view  Creativity / Innovation • More ways to define the problem  Multiple Lenses • More possible solutions/alternatives  Given the multiple disciplines and viewpoints • More creative decisions  Through discussion and consensus • Stronger commitment to decisions  Group commitment Cons • More disagreement and less problem solving  Better solutions may take longer to agree on  Off-subject disagreement • Desire for consensus (groupthink)  Consensus and Groupthink are not the same thing • Domination by a single individual  Dominant member (leader) • Less of commitment to the group decision  Deference of Accountability

Slide21copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–21  FIGURE 13–7 Signs That Groupthink May Be a Problem Source:  Adapted from information provided in Irving James,  Group Think: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascos , 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982).

Slide22copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–22 Improving Group Decision Making • Devil’s-Advocate Approach  The group appoints a person to:  Prepare a detailed counterargument that lists what is wrong with the group’s favored solution  Why the group should not adopt it.  The aim is to ensure a full and objective consideration of the solution proposal.

Slide23copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–23 Improving Group Decision Making • Brainstorming  A creativity-stimulating technique in which  prior judgments and criticisms are specifically forbidden from being expressed  and thus inhibiting the free flow of ideas, which are encouraged.  Brainstorming rules:  Avoid criticizing others’ ideas until all suggestions are out on the table.  Share even wild suggestions.  Offer many suggestions and comments as possible.  Build on others’ suggestions to create your own.

Slide24copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–24 Improving Group Decision Making (cont’d) • The Delphi Technique  A multistage group decision-making process aimed at eliminating inhibitions or groupthink through obtaining the written opinions of experts working independently.  Process steps  Identify the problem.  Solicit the experts’ individual opinions on the problem.  Analyze, distill, and then resubmit these opinions to other experts.  Continue this process for several more rounds until the experts reach a consensus.

Slide25copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–25 Improving Group Decision Making (cont’d) • The Nominal Group Technique 1. Each group member writes down his or her ideas for solving the problem at hand. 2. Each member then presents his or her ideas orally, and the person writes the ideas on a board for other participants to see. 3. After all ideas are presented, the entire group discusses all ideas simultaneously. 4. Group members individually and secretly vote on each proposed solution. 5. The solution with the most individual votes wins.

Slide26copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–26 Improving Group Decision Making (cont’d) • The Stepladder Technique 1. Individuals A and B are given a problem to solve, and each produces an independent solution. 2. A and B develop a joint decision, and meet with C, who has analyzed the problem and arrived at a decision. 3. A, B, and C discuss the problem and arrive at a consensus decision, and are joined by D, who has analyzed the problem and arrived at a decision. 4. A, B, C, and D jointly develop a final group decision.

Slide27copyright © 2004 prentice hall. all rights reserved.13–27 Improving Group Decision Making (cont’d) • How to Lead a Group Decision-Making Discussion 1. See that all group members participate and contribute. 2. Distinguish between idea getting and idea evaluation. 3. Do not respond to each participant or dominate the discussion. 4. Direct the group’s effort toward overcoming surmountable obstacles. 5. Don’t sit down.