WORK GROUPS AND TEAMS::Class



A real team is a small number of people with complementary skills, equally committed to a common purpose to which they hold themselves mutually accountable (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)
A group is composed of two or more individuals interacting and interdependent, who come together to achieve some common objectives.
Groups can be categorized into the following:
·         Formal and informal
·         Open and closed reference groups
·         Reference groups
FORMAL AND INFORMAL
Formal groups are defined by the organization’s structures with designated work assignments and established tasks.
Informal groups are neither structured nor organizationally determined. They are natural formations in response to need for social contact.
Informal groups are further classified into command, task, interest and friendship groups.
Command groups are composed of subordinates who report directly to a given manager. For instance a section supervisor and his subordinates form a command group.
Task group is composed of people working together to complete a given task. They can cross command relationships.
Interest groups- not in command or task groups but may affiliate to attain specific objectives with which each is concerned.
Friendship groups refer to people with characteristics in common for instance age, religion etc.
Informal groups satisfy members’ social needs.
Open and closed groups
Open groups are in a constant state of change in membership time and reference.
Closed groups are in stable membership. Power and status relationships are well maintained and fixed in a closed group.
An open group constantly adds or loses members while a closed group is relatively stable in its membership.
For open groups the future frame of reference is expanded due to the new perspectives brought by new members. On the other hand in a closed group the future frame of reference is narrow.
It is difficult to maintain long term visions in an open group while a closed group can maintain can maintain long term goals.
An open group is unstable; it takes time to return to a state of balance while a closed group is stable.
REFERENCE GROUPS: refers to a group an individual belongs and refers to it for self evaluation or for a source of personal values and attitudes. A person uses this group for social comparison and for social validation.
REASONS FOR JOINING GROUPS
v  For security as people seek reassurances
v  For status purposes
v  Self esteem- self worth is increased upon joining a valued group.
v  Affiliation- for friendship and social relations
v  Power- may apply when a person joins a group to get bargaining power or other power.
v  Goal achievement- people can join groups to pool talents or for knowledge.
GROUP DEVELOPMENT
Groups generally pass through a predictable sequence in their evolution. Although not all groups follow this five-stage model, it is a useful framework for understanding group development.
Forming
This phase witnesses the following characteristics:
v  Uncertainty about purpose, structure and leadership
v  There is testing to determine what behavior is acceptable
v  It is complete when members start to think of themselves as a group
Storming
Members accept the existence of the group but resist the constraints it imposes on individuality
v  Conflict over control on who is to be in charge
v  Resistance of control on individuality
v  Ends with a clear leadership hierarchy
Norming
v  there is cohesiveness and close relationships
v  sense of group identity
v  correct behavior is defined
Performing
v  final stage, the structure is fully functional and accepted
v  the group is able to perform the task at hand
For permanent work groups, performing is the last stage in development. However, for temporary committees, teams, task forces, and similar groups that have a limited task to perform, the adjourning stage is for wrapping up activities and preparing to disband. Some group members are upbeat, basking in the group’s accomplishments. Others may be depressed over the loss of camaraderie and friendships gained during the work group’s life
GROUP CONCEPTS:
Roles- set of expected behavior pattern attributed to somebody who occupies a given position in a social unit. Roles vary according to the circumstances.
Norms- refers to acceptable standards in the organization. These include output level, promptiness etc.
Status- refers to a rank or position. There should be congruency between status given and the perceived ranking by an individual. For instance it would be incongruent for a supervisor to be earning less than the subordinates.
GROUP COHESIVENESS- refers to the degree to which members are attracted to one another and share the group’s goals.
MAKING GROUPS EFFECTIVE:
v  Proper clarification of individual employee’s role in the group.
v  Clear expectations
v  Authority relations clarified
v  Managers monitor group norms
v  Allocation of status- consideration of the formal hierarchical ranks and informal groups should be taken care of.
v  Promotion of cohesiveness.
v  Clear communication
v  Clear dispute resolution methods
v  Innovation
GROUP DECISION MAKING
The approaches to group decision making can be classified into four:
1.      Interacting- information and ideas are obtained from contributions of members. It involves;
v  Diagnosis and definition of the problem,
v  Identification and selection of group members up to the task.
v  Appropriate decision process adopted.
v  Collection, exchange and analysis of relevant information
v  Feasible alternative solutions
v  Evaluation of alternative solutions pros and cons
v  Choose the best alternative
v  Carrying out the alternative solution
v  Evaluating the outcome
2.      Nominal group process- involves getting ideas from nominal members-inactive members
3.      Delphi technique- getting ideas from experts with members’ involvement in discussion.
v  The problem is identified- can be done by giving questionnaires to members for potential solutions,
v  Anonymous, independent questionnaire completion
v  Results of first series compiled
v  Members receive the results
v  Members are asked again
Nb the last two steps are repeated until a consensus is reached.
4.      Creative decision process- a group is used to stimulate creativity of individual members. It is a non structured interacting group technique.
Discussion question;
Under what circumstances would it be suitable to use Delphi Technique?
TEAMS AND GROUPS
A group is informal and meets to solve short term problems. A team solves long-term problems and includes more coordination and structure.
A group can develop into a team with coordinated effort to reach common goal.
A team is more specialized, has common resources and collective efforts. It is structured formally. Consists of different members with special roles and has a purpose, specific goals and assigned duties.
Groups:
Come together more casually, less structured than teams and can become a team if it identifies a problem that requires a more structured long term approach to solving the problem.
All teams are groups but not all groups are teams. Differences lie in;
v  Leadership,
v  Accountability
v  Purpose
v  Work products
v  Communication
v  Work style
Katzenbanch and Smith 1993: “A real team is a small number of people with complementary skills equally committed to a common purpose to which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
QUALITY CIRCLES
Meaning:
Quality circle is a quality management technique which originated from Japan. It consists of a committee of workers/ small groups of individuals selected on rotational and voluntary basis to discuss the quality problems affecting the organization. They are found in various work units/departments of the organization. They comprise of 3-12 members.
Characteristics
  • Individuals are appointed on voluntary basis
  • They meet regularly
  • They use systematic techniques/structural process of problem solving
  • Supported by top management
Benefits of quality circles:
Benefits to the employees
  1. Improves employees understanding of organizational activities hence motivating to undertake their jobs
  2. Improves employee’s ability to work with others hence improvement in team spirit
  3. Provides opportunities to members to learn or train in different methods of solving quality problems in their departments.
  4. Improves employees self esteem and self confidence of employees on their jobs
  5. Improves employees’ recognition and growth through promotions as a result of their contribution to quality improvement.
  6. Employees become agents of change hence further motivation
  7. Improves communication between members of the department.
Benefits to the management/organization
  1. Provides opportunity to the management to tap the knowledge of employees who may know more about work problems which are hidden from managers.
  2. Improves productivity and quality of goods and services hence high profits to the organization
  3. Improves organizational competitiveness through high quality of goods/services
  4. Improves team spirit/cohesiveness in the organizational hence a tool of organizational stability
  5. Enables the organization to win commitment of its members through recognition
  6. Improves the corporate image
  7. Ensures long-term success of an organization