The Capital Veterinarian Clinic (CVC) that is located in Sacramento, California, has a developed organizational structure, and it is based on the work of several teams. Dr. Marissa Sandoval performs as the Clinic Director in the organization, and she administers and controls the work of the CVC’s teams that unite different numbers of specialists, including Staff Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Specialists among others. However, in spite of the fact that teams are properly organized and led by assigned leaders, it is possible to speak about some problems associated with teamwork dynamics in the organization. The purpose of this case study analysis is to describe the major teamwork dynamics related to the organization and determine reasons for them, explain advantages of focusing on teams, discuss features of effective and ineffective teams in the CVC, describe the role of a leader, and provide recommendations to increase the teams’ productivity.
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Teamwork Dynamics and Reasons
Currently, several teams work in the CVC, including the Senior Leadership Team, the Extended Leadership Team, the administrative team, the team of ten Staff Veterinarians, who cooperate with eight Interns, the team of twelve Veterinary Technicians, and the team of twenty-two Veterinarian Specialists. It is possible to focus on the dynamics and problems that are observed in the work of these teams. The members of the Senior Leadership Team meet once a quarter to discuss the organization’s operations and strategies, and this approach can be considered as appropriate to control the strategic development of the CVC. The Extended Leadership Team meets weekly to discuss urgent issues, but the team’s recent decision to replace a Christmas party with a religiously neutral event is viewed by employees as undesirable, and the reason is in visions of Christians, who work in the organization and who like to participate in this party with their families. As a result, there are tensions between representatives of different cultures and religions in the CVC.
In addition, in spite of the fact that there is a well-organized system of reporting and controlling the work of teams, problems can be observed with the focus on dynamics within these teams. In order to control the operations of Staff Veterinarians, there is a position of a team leader, the Senior Staff Veterinarian, who reports to the Clinic Director. However, the team is divided into two groups, and there are no agreements between them. Furthermore, it is possible to speak about unethical practices followed in this team that is associated with borrowing supplies, and Dr. Kim Chung, the team leader, has no effective plan to improve the team’s work and interactions. Moreover, there are also problems in the work of the team of Veterinary Technicians because they are not tolerant of each other in spite of differences in cultures, and they experience difficulties in cooperating with Florence Meyers as the Supervisor of Veterinarian Technicians. As a result, it is possible to concentrate on negative tendencies in the teamwork dynamics in the CVC that are caused by weaknesses in leadership and teams’ organizations.
Advantages of Teams in Comparison to Groups
Researchers and managers define teams as a certain number of people who are united to work together in order to achieve a common goal, and their activities can be discussed as interdependent (West & Lyubovnikova, 2012). A team is characterized by the members’ focus on the concrete goal, and all interactions of people in this team are built according to the selected plan or strategy (Hu & Liden, 2013). On the contrary, a group represents a number of people who have a shared identity, but they usually act independently as their actions do not influence the activities of each other, and they do not contribute to achieving a goal or realizing a strategy (West & Lyubovnikova, 2012).
It is possible to state that a well-structured team is usually more effective than a group of coworkers because the activities of team members are guided by their focus on achieving collective results. In this case, team members work to build cooperative relationships, and they try to do their best in order to contribute to the results of the team’s work (Gundersen, Hellesøy, & Raeder, 2012). Administers can monitor teamwork effectively. On the contrary, it is rather difficult to control the work of groups. As a result, it is easier to develop communication, cooperation, decision-making, and problem-solving in teams than in groups.
Characteristics of Effective and Ineffective Team Members
Team members can be divided into effective and ineffective ones with the focus on their approach to performing tasks in a team, as well as with the focus on their attitude to each other. Effective team members work to support one another and orient to the results of other people’s work in a team. In addition, effective team members initiate discussions of issues, promote diversity, and refer to openness in expressing thoughts and opinions (West & Lyubovnikova, 2012). Good members of teams do not develop conflicts and work to overcome disagreements. On the contrary, ineffective team members do not pay attention to the activities of other persons, and they prefer to work independently or ignore the results of other people’s work. Ineffective team members view their personal opinions and visions as the most appropriate ones (Hu & Liden, 2013). As a result, these people often provoke conflicts and focus on disagreements in the work of a team.
In the CVC, it is rather problematic to name effective members of teams because they work inappropriately. Leaders and other team members choose to ignore the interests of each other, and they do not work to promote collaboration. Thus, Staff Veterinarians are not effective as a team because their personal visions influence their work, and this situation is a result of an ineffective approach to building a team that was used by Dr. Rachel Silverstein. The team of Veterinary Technicians also consists of ineffective team members because their prejudice and intolerance influence the communication within a team. The leader of this team, Florence Meyers, is also unsuccessful in regulating conflicts.
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The Role of a Leader and Recommendations
Leaders play an extremely important role in developing and supporting effective and productive teams. A good leader needs to orient team members in achieving certain goals, and this purpose should be understood and supported by all team members (Beer & Spector, 1993; Bissell & Keim, 2008). In addition, a good leader is expected to coordinate the work and interactions of persons in order to accentuate the necessity of relationships based on trust and assistance. Leaders should prevent and resolve conflicts, promote diversity, avoid bias, and make sure that all team members feel comfortable working in a team (Hu & Liden, 2013; Janicijevic, 2010). In the CVC, leaders of the organized teams do not perform their duties, and the productivity of team operations can decrease significantly. For instance, Dr. Chung hesitates to discuss the problematic interactions in the team of Staff Veterinarians. In her turn, Meyers chooses an inappropriate way of regulating relations in the team. This leader has focused on separating diverse workers rather than assisting them to communicate and achieve mutual understanding.
In order to help leaders in the CVC become more effective in their work with teams, it is necessary to propose a set of recommendations. First, it is important to organize open communication with all team members in order to find compromises and provide solutions to problems. Before organizing open discussions, it is reasonable to conduct interviews with all team members in order to understand their personal visions of the problem and plan further meetings in the most appropriate manner. Second, it is necessary to accentuate the necessity of promoting diversity in the organization. Third, it is important to formulate and share new rules of interacting as teams with the focus on principles of cooperation, non-biased attitudes, and ethics. While concentrating on these recommendations, it is possible to expect positive changes in the work of the CVC’s teams.
The paper provides the analysis of teamwork dynamics in the CVC with reference to such aspects as leadership and cooperation of ineffective and effective team members. In spite of the fact that the work of the CVC is based on team interactions, the members of teams do not follow certain rules in order to guarantee that a team works effectively. The problem is in unsuccessful leadership. Therefore, the proposed recommendations are oriented to overcoming difficulties in the communication of team members to improve their interactions and increase productivity.
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