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Into the Teamwork in the Organization Management

Introduction

In order for an organization to remain relevant and competitive in the face of fierce competition, it is important that the management is in the apposition to deliver on the goals and objectives of such an organization. For this reason, a lot of organizations today are emphasizing cooperation and teamwork. One of the benefits of teamwork in organization management is that the decision-making process becomes somewhat easier, if not faster (Larson & Kleiner 2004). This is because a team is made up of experts in a certain area and so their collective insights are far more superior, as opposed to those of an individual employee.

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There is also the issue of enhanced efficiency in an organization (Tukiainen 2001), as well as an overall reduction in the cost incurred by an organization because the members of a team in an organization shall always strive to make decisions that are reflective, yet cost-effective. Furthermore, teamwork in an organization leads to the sustainability and success of such an organization, in addition to the ensuing synergy that the members stand to gain (Parker 2008), thereby improving their productivity. In light of this, it is the intention of this research paper to the role that is played by teamwork, in organization management.

In order to gain an insight into this, this research endeavored to explore the impact that teamwork has had on an organization, ABC Communications, located in East London, in the United Kingdom. A semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire was utilized for purposes of data collection. In this regard, the research design adopted was qualitative in nature, so as to explore the experiences and opinions of the respondents, who were employees from the organization of choice.

Data analysis was done via the use of such statistical analysis tools and the Scientific Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and MS Excel. Research findings were presented in the form of tables and later examined relative to existing literature, on teamwork in organization management. Ultimately, this shall pave way for a conclusion for the research findings, along with recommendations.

Literature Review

A team has been defined as a small group of individuals made up of members whose skills are complementary, and who collectively share a common purpose(s), approach, and goals, in addition to the fact that such individuals of a group endeavor to ‘hold themselves accountable’ (Hensey, 2001). For a majority of organizations today, teamwork has been embraced as a popular concept. For this reason, a lot of the goals and objectives of organizations are attained, thanks to a group of employees that the management assembles together, thereby forming a team. At the moment, the management of various organizations is faced with the challenges of remaining relevant and viable in a business environment that is daily characterized by emerging innovations; in addition to constant change (Otter & Emmitt 2007).

One of the greatest challenges that organizations have to contend with has to do with the designing of an organizational structure that is quite flexible. The conventional vertical hierarchical structure is fast being phased out by matrix-based, as well as the horizontal organization structures (Larson & Kleiner, 2004). This way, organizations have been able to connect the conventional functions via ‘inter-functional teams’ (Parker 2008), thereby enabling them to form strategic partnerships with their customers, suppliers, and also their competitors.

Importance of having teamwork in the management of an organization

That teamwork in an organization is a driving force to its success, is a fact that cannot be denied. One of the principal values that teams are identifiable with, is their possession of an ability to both empower and assemble the employees of an organization in such a way that they are in a position to utilize the talents that they possess (Lievens & Moenaert, 2001), for the improvement of their organization.

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Further, teamwork allows the employees to participate fully in as far as the planning and decision-making processes of an organization are concerned (Hensey, 2001). As such, teamwork helps the employees to enhance their job satisfaction. Moreover, the quality of their work stands to increase, thanks to the synergy that teamwork gives to its members (Parker, 2008). There is also the issue of the increased flexibility of the members (Hensey, 2001), a certain sense of pride in accomplishing their job, development, satisfaction, as well as enhanced personal and organizational productivity (Nel, 2007).

Additionally, teamwork in an organization ensures that the individual members are better able to promote their creativity, thus enhancing their success (Lievens & Moenaert, 2001). The issue of problem-solving also becomes easier when a team is involved, as opposed to a single individual. This also acts to promote trade-offs. Besides, working as a team is not only fun, thus reducing boredom in an organization, but it also reduces potential conflicts and tensions amongst the employees (Krizan, 2005). Teamwork is also important to help an organization respond positively to the wave of change, and the challenges that may accompany such a change.

If at all teamwork is to be a success in an organization, it is important that such a team-first possess ‘a charter mission’. What this means is that a team in question could have a reason, or a purpose, for their coming together. In addition, the interdependency of the team is also very important, to avoid potential conflicts with other activities in an organization (Hensey, 2001).

The members of the team should also be a commitment to the benefits that the team stands to gain; as far as the decision-making process or the solving of the problems that they could be faced with is concerned. It is also important for the team to have a certain sense of accountability, as this has been seen to play the role of a ‘functioning unit’ in as far as teamwork in an organization is concerned (Parker, 2008).

Principle elements of developing teamwork in an organization

To start with, the development of teamwork within an organization calls for a commitment of all the members of such a team. As such, members need to show their commitment to the goals and objectives of their team (Leithwood & Hallinger, 2002). Trust is also an important element, amongst the team members, so that they are better able to maintain confidence, honor commitments, offer each other support. A team in an organization should also have a purpose, meaning that it should fully comprehend its role within the larger context of the organization (Leithwood & Hallinger, 2002).

Members of the team require being aware of the roles they play in not just the team, but also in the larger organization. This way, they are better placed to make a difference in the organization, since they have a certain sense of ownership, in the organization. Communication in a team is a necessity, as it refers to the manner and level of interaction of the members of a team, either amongst themselves or with the other employees in the larger organization (Tukiainen, 2001).

Communication is also a pointer to the manner in which team members are able to handle the process of decision making, conflict resolution, as well as everyday interactions in the organization. The level of involvement of the team members is also crucial, as everybody in a team needs to have a role that they play. In spite of possible differences, there is a need for all the team members to “feel a sense of partnership with each other” (Krizan et al, 2005). As such, a good team should endeavor to both solicit and respect the contributions of all the members. In addition, the establishment of a real consensus ought to be given priority, prior to the collective team members taking action.

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Methodology

Panneerservam (2004) has defined research methodology as “A system of models, procedures, and techniques used to find the results of a research problem” (p. 2.). From the provided definition, there are quite a number of statistical design methods of research that are often applied within particular research (Berg, 2001). According to Creswell (2008), a research design is a framework for collecting and utilizing sets of data that aims to produce logical and appropriate findings with great accuracy, and that aims to adequately and reasonably rest a research hypothesis. As mentioned in the introduction, a quantitative study was conducted. This permits the research to meet its objectives by exploring the views and opinions of the respondents to the research study.

Sampling

According to Creswell (2008), sampling, as an element of statistical practice helps a researcher to choose participants of a research study with minimal bias. Before primary research is conducted, a researcher must be clear about the category of respondents that seeks to interview. In this regard, this study sought to interview employees of ABC Communications, a mobile phone service provider in East London, in the United Kingdom. The company has a workforce of 600 employees, but this study only wished to interview 60 of these. As such, a systematic sampling procedure was adopted, in which every tenth employee of the company was chosen, alphabetically.

Data collection

Research instrument

The research instrument that was used for data collection in this research study is a questionnaire. Creswell (2008) contends that “the best method to minimize the measurement error is to “use a good [research] instrument” (p. 394). As such, this research study opted to use an open-ended questionnaire for purposes of collecting the primary data. The reason why open-ended questions were adopted for this particular study is that these enable the respondents to express their views and opinions regarding the issue at hand in a free manner, with minimum limitations (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison 2007), and on the basis of their “cultural and social experiences” (Creswell 2008, p. 399).

Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2007 p. 255) further opine that “closed and open-ended questions can catch the authenticity, richness, depth of response, honesty and candor which is […] the hallmarks of quantitative data”. The administration of the questionnaire was personal. According to Creswell (2008), personal administration has the obvious advantage of making the respondent understand the questions and concepts involved. Personal administration also gives a respondent the opportunity to ask for clarifications. Personal administration also yields the lowest refusal rate among respondents. It also allows for detailed, longer, and more complicated interviews to be undertaken.

Data analysis

Once the study respondents had filled in the questionnaires, the researcher collected them for purposes of data compilation and analysis. The collected data was compiled and analysed using such statistical tools as SPSS and Ms. Excel

Ethical considerations

During the entire process of data collection, ethical considerations were followed. To start with, the researcher sought consent from the relevant authorities to carry out the research survey. In this case, permission was first sought from the institution of learning for which this researcher is a student. Consent was also sought from the administrators at ABC Communications. Furthermore, the respondents were informed that participation in the survey was on a voluntary basis and that the information obtained would only be used for purposes of the research study only. Furthermore, the respondents were also assured that such information would also remain confidential.

Findings

Out of the 60 respondents of the study, 56 percent of them were of the opinion that organization management requires teamwork. A further 40 percent said that they were already part of a team in the organization, while the rest were yet to join one. Of those study participants who responded that they were part of a team in the organization, 90 percent of them said they enjoyed working in a team. Even then, 55 percent of the respondents were of the opinion that teamwork had its own weaknesses.

On the question of whether teamwork has its advantages, almost two-thirds of the respondents (65 percent) asserted that indeed, there are benefits that teamwork accords to the organization and to individual members of the team. In this regard, some of the advantages that the respondents gave for teamwork include learning social skills from others (72 percent), increasing communications skills (69 percent), increasing personal confidence (66 percent), and problem-solving and sharing (60 percent), and making more friends (57 percent).

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Further, almost half of the study’s respondents that were part of a team in their organization (48 percent) said they thought that they should be participants in teamwork, 35 percent asserted that they should play the role of organizer, while the rest (17 percent) gave other varied reasons. On the question of the possession of a good team, 32 percent respondents that it needs a common goal, 28 percent said that mutual trusts were important, 17 percent talked of individual responsibility, 12 percent cited a good leader, while the rest (11 percent) identified interactions among team-mates.

Discussion

More than half of the respondents interviewed (56 percent) recognized the need for teamwork in organization management. As such, teamwork was recognized as a source of several advantages to the organizations and more importantly, to the individual members of the team. The main advantage that teamwork provides to an organization, according to Parker (2008), is better end results. As such, it is imperative for organizations to ensure that their teams are receptive to the marketplace, and its ever-changing needs. Parker (2008) further opines that through the creation of teams in an organization, there is a chance for the firm in question to better fulfill the needs of its customers, in addition to the embracing of advanced technology.

Separately, Hensey (2001) contends that by participating in the activities of a team, the members are better placed to enhance their social skills and synergy. These assertions appear to coincide with the findings of this research study. Parker (2008) has also added that teamwork seeks to “widen the communication circle”, and also to ensure that everyone gets involved in the activities of the team. Furthermore, teamwork helps the members involved to share information, with the result that the weaknesses that are possessed by individual members may as well be compensated. This is in addition to helping the members develop their personal relationships (Nel, 2007).

The pursuing of a common goal and mutual trust appeared to be the main characteristics for the development of a good team within an organization, according to the research findings of this survey. Leithwood and Hallinger (2002) have echoed similar sentiments, further arguing that these are the key guiding elements for the success of teamwork. Furthermore, the authors have added that the reason why a lot of managers place great value on teamwork is that it leads to organizations that are profitable and effective.

The main weakness of teamwork that the study revealed is that of time consumption, in which the respondents felt that they could have done much at an individual level, as opposed to what they can collectively accomplish as a team. Blackburn and Stokes (2000) cite poor leadership as the reason behind the inability of teams to accomplish their goals. Moreover, the attitude held by the team leaders could also act as an impediment to its success (Hunt, Tourish & Hargie, 2000). As such, the team leaders, by virtue of their position, may overlook the views and opinions of others beneath them, in effect killing the team spirit. This could perhaps be the reason why some of the respondents interviewed said they had failed to join a team due to their domination by some members.

In as much as teamwork may be said to play a significant role in helping an organization realize its goals and objective, nevertheless, there are also some critics that attribute teamwork with negative features. Such opponents of teamwork content that by conferring duties and responsibilities of the members of a team, the management control of an organization has transferred its disciplinary dimensions and conferred it on the employee, and this may very well act to compromise the level of discipline and commitment to the organization (Otter & Emmitt, 2007). The issue of placing a lot of pressure on the members of a team to deliver, increased surveillance by team leaders, and at times, being reprimanded for not delivering the expected result, have also been cited by (Krizan et al, 2005), as possible reasons as to why employees may dislike teamwork. Cleary, such reasons appear to be far removed from those obtained from the respondents of this research study, although by and large, they seem to echo related sentiments.

Conclusion and recommendations

This research study sought to explore the place of teamwork within an organization. In order to help gain an insight into this area, some 60 respondents were identified, through a systematic sampling procedure, from ABC Communications, a mobile phone service provider in East London, in the United Kingdom. To these, a semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire was issued. Research findings indicated that a majority of the respondents appreciated the benefits of teamwork in an organization. The advantages that teamwork gives to the members of the team and to the organization are enormous in literature (for example, Parker 2008), and they appear to coincide with those given by the study’s respondents.

Furthermore, the study also revealed weaknesses that come about due to the creation of teams in an organization, such as over-controlling team leaders, lazy employees, and time consumption. What these research findings appear to suggest is that not everyone in the organization appreciates the role played by teamwork (Larson & Kleiner 2004). The onus s is therefore on the management of such organizations to ensure that the team leaders that they choose are in possession of ideal leadership skills, to portray a good example. In addition, there is also a need for the organizations to communicate to their employees the important role played by teamwork, prior to forming them. This way, they shall be better informed in making wiser decisions.

References

  1. Berg, B.L, 2001, Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Fourth Edition, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  2. Blackburn, R. & Stokes, D. (2000), Breaking down the Barriers: Using Focus Groups to Research Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, International Small Business Journal, Vol. 19, No.1, pp. 44-67.
  3. Cohen, L, Manion, L, & Morrison, K. R. B, 2007, Research methods in education. London: Routledge
  4. Creswell, J. W, 2008, Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Upper Saddle River: Pearson
  5. Hensey, M, 2001, Collective excellence: building effective teams. ASCE Publications.
  6. Hunt, O, Tourish, D, & Hargie, O. D.W, 2000, The communication experiences of education managers: identifying strengths, weaknesses and critical incidents, The International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 14, No.3, pp. 120 – 129
  7. Krizan, A.C., Merrier, P., Logan, J., & Williams, K. (2005), Business Communication, (7th Edition). Mason, OH. Thomson Higher Education.
  8. Larson, J., & Kleiner, B. H, 2004, How to Read Non Verbal Communication in Organizations, Management Research News, Vol. 4, No.5, pp. 27
  9. Leithwood, K, A. & Hallinger, P, 2002, Second international handbook of educational leadership and administration. London: Springer.
  10. Lievens, A., & Moenaert, R.K. (2001), Communication flows during financial service innovation, International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 68-88
  11. Nel, W, 2007, Management for engineers, technologists and scientists. London: Sage.
  12. Otter, A. D, & Emmitt, S. (2007). Exploring effectiveness of team communication: Balancing synchronous and asynchronous communication in design teams, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 14, No.5, pp. 408-419
  13. Panneerselvam, R, 2004, Research Methodology. Delhi Area, India: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
  14. Parker, G. M, 2008, Team players and teamwork. London: Wiley
  15. Tukiainen, T. (2001), An agenda model of organizational communication, Corporate Communication: An International Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 47-52

Appendix

Survey on teamwork in Organization management

Gender: Male / Female

Thank you for your help. Please answer the questions according to your reality. You can tick “√” on the number or letters you choose. (1=not much – 5=a lot)

1. How much do you think organization management needs teamwork?

1 2 3 4 5

2. Have you joined teamwork in working?

A. Yes B. No (go to 4)

3. Do you like teamwork in working?

A. Yes B. No

4. Do you think teamwork has weaknesses?

A. Yes B. No (go to 6)

The degrees you think the weaknesses of teamwork are

A. Time-consuming 1 2 3 4 5
B. Some members are too lazy to do work 1 2 3 4 5
C. It’s hard to achieve to common opinion 1 2 3 4 5
D. No leadership 1 2 3 4 5
F. Friction between teams 1 2 3 4 5

5. The reasons you dislike the teamwork are (Choose 1 or more)

  • Time-consuming
  • Not like to communicate with others.
  • I am the best. I can do work well.
  • Too shy to join teamwork.
  • Cannot bear some members behaviour, e.g. too lazy to do anything.
  • Somebody always dominates the team.

6. Do you think teamwork has advantages?

A: Yes B: No (go to 7)

The degrees you think the advantages of teamwork are

A. Learning social skills from others 1 2 3 4 5
B. Making more friends 1 2 3 4 5
C. Increase communication skills 1 2 3 4 5
D. Teamwork gives me confidence 1 2 3 4 5
E. Two heads are better than one 1 2 3 4 5

7. Please self-evaluate your behaviour in teamwork: _______

8. What roles do you think you should play in a team?

A. Participant B. Organizer C. Others _______

9. What factors do you think a good team possesses? (Choose 1 or more)

  1. A good leader or organizer
  2. A common goal
  3. Individual responsibility
  4. Interaction among team-mates
  5. Mutual trust
  6. Others ______

10. Future & teamwork spirit

The degree you think the importance of teamwork in work, life, etc is 1 2 3 4 5

Thank you for your cooperation

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