The process of building and managing collaborative teams is often difficult because of the necessity to apply the persons’ skills and goals to complete the collective task. To understand the factors which can lead to building ineffective teams, it is necessary to focus on the discussion of the case “Two Poorly Functioning Teams,” which was developed by Thomasina Borkman in 1996. In her case, Borkman describes two teams which experienced the conflict during their collaboration process. Thus, the discussion of the conflicts’ aspects should be developed to address such points as the factors to cause the poor functioning of two teams, the comparison of the teams’ conflict processes, and the resolutions to the conflicts.
Multiple Factors to Influence the Poor Functioning of Teams
While focusing on the functioning of Team A, it is important to note that the poor performance was caused by the ineffective distribution of leading positions; confusion associated with the organization of the team’s communication with the help of online resources and face-to-face meetings; the features of the ‘Too Nice Syndrome’; and the lack of commitment among the team’s members.
Thus, the members of Team A experienced difficulties while performing as a group because of the inadequate approach to distributing leadership roles. All the members of the team could not state clearly how many leaders were observed in the group and how the duties were distributed among the team’s members. Furthermore, the members of the group could not decide about the use of the online Discussion Tool as the main way to communicate the ideas. As a result, the assumptions of the team’s members about the role of the Discussion Tool in the group’s communication were not shared or supported. In spite of focusing on the use of the Discussion Tool, some members of the group insisted on face-to-face meetings.
Furthermore, those members of the group who performed as organizers and leaders did not feel free to disturb the team’s isolates to make them complete the tasks. Borkman describes this tendency as the ‘Too Nice Syndrome’ (Borkman, 1996, par. 27). Team A demonstrated the lack of commitment because of the inability to communicate easily and discuss the members’ roles and responsibilities fairly.
The performance of Team B was influenced by such factors as the focus on the voluntary leadership which was not discussed and supported by the other members of the team; the focus on procrastination and the lack of organization; the absence of any norms to regulate communication and activities; and the inability to share all the necessary information completely. Thus, the Organizer took the leadership position voluntary without being discussed or accepted by the group. As a result, the Technical Leader became one more leader because of the focus of other team’s members on this person’s role in completing the project (Borkman, 1996, par. 36-37).
It is important to note that Team B did not demonstrate any initiative to organize the work during the first week, and the team’s members procrastinated for several weeks before discussing the concrete tasks. Furthermore, any regulations and norms associated with activities and communication were not set. The information was not shared appropriately between all the team’s members.
The Comparison of the Conflict Processes Experienced by the Teams
Bruce Tuckman determines five stages of group development, which are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. According to these stages, the conflict is observed after the first stage of forming the connections. During the first stage of the group development, two members of Team A did not demonstrate any interest in the team’s project, and one member assumed to take the leadership role, but he failed to perform it while working at the project. As a result, the conflict began to develop during the stage of Storming when the team’s members discussed the ideas. The ‘false’ leader (All Talk) insisted on accepting his idea and the vision of the project even though the other members opposed the idea.
However, they chose to agree with the ‘false’ leader’s vision. The stage of Storming became longer than necessary due to the necessity to redistribute the roles in the group because All Talk ignored his leading role. Thus, the conflict developed actively during the Storming stage.
The Norming stage brought more triggers to develop the conflict because the team’s members did not organize their communication, and the idea to use the Discussion Tool for communicating was not followed appropriately to speak about the effective completion of the project. The group members failed to meet and communicate several times. During the Performing stage, the conflict was developed intensively because the members of the team did not rely on their words and activities, they began to express their frustration verbally, and the ignorance of All Talk’s contribution to the project was demonstrated openly (Borkman, 1996, par. 28-29).
The conflict process characteristic for Team B was less intense in comparison with Team A’s conflict because of the members’ focus on procrastination. The conflict began to develop after the Forming stage and during the Storming stage. During the Forming stage, all the members of the group demonstrated the willingness to participate in the project. However, during the Storming stage, the first signs of the conflict were observed when the Organizer assumed the leadership role, and Unavailable was not sure about the decision (Borkman, 1996, par. 38).
If the members of Team A paid much attention to discussing whether to meet or communicate online, the representatives of Team B did not focus on discussing these aspects, and they procrastinated till the Performing stage because of impossibility to distribute the duties, roles, and conclude about the aspects of communication. During the Performing stage, only the working subgroup demonstrated the results when two members of the team communicated only with the leaders. In contrast to Team A, the members of Team B did not express their frustration and anger verbally in spite of experiencing similar feelings.
The Resolutions to the Conflicts
To resolve the conflict in Team A, it is necessary to stimulate the team organized activities during the Forming stage while distributing the duties and roles to check the abilities of the team’s members to perform their task and have the opportunity to change the roles during the Storming stage. Thus, it was important to check the performance of all the members to predict the problem with the All Talk leader.
To resolve the conflict in Team B, it is necessary to focus on the norms and rules for regulating the work of the group because the persons failed to perform effectively due to their focus on procrastination instead of on stating the rules for sharing communication and ideas. The subgroup took responsibility for performing the task, but the focus on determining norms and rules could predict the conflict’s development.
Thus, the conflicts in both teams could be predicted with the focus on implementing effective organization strategies to plan and regulate the activities of the teams’ members.
Borkman, T. (1996). Case Studies of Two Poorly Functioning Teams. Web.