Teamwork


As one of the obvious reality, nowadays, many organizations are under serious pressure to improve their performance in order to survive in the market and to gain a competitive position. The other reality is emerging at the same time that the most consistently successful strategy to improve performance has proven to be the use of teams and teamwork. Teamwork is becoming an increasingly popular way of achieving greater organizational flexibility, as well as other benefits such as reduced costs of supervision, faster lead times, innovation, more effective decision-making, better customer service, and enhanced employee morale. In the mid-1990’s, 55% of UK manufacturing companies reported using teamwork(Sharon, K.P and Helen, M.W.,2001) In 21st century, not surprisingly, teamwork is playing a more significant role within the organizations all over the world. In this paper, a very interesting topic about “teams” and “teamwork” will be discussed in detail. Initially, I will look to give the clear definitions of the terms of “team” and “effective teamwork” which will be examined in the coming study; Based on the given definitions, I will seek to assess the conditions necessary for “effective team working”; After that, I will also give a further discussion about the challenges facing managers wishing to organize work in the way of teamwork. What is Team? Team is a group of people with complementary skills who work together to achieve a common purpose and hold themselves mutually accountable for its accomplishment (Sharon, K.P and Helen, M.W., 2001). Organizations are increasingly using teams to streamline processes, enhance participation, and improve quality. Here the team we are discussing will be more focused on the teams with the relatively permanent structure rather than the teams created on the basis to solve particular problem temporarily. What is teamwork and what is effective teamwork Teamwork is defined as cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal, which is confirmed as one of the essential forms of job design (Sharon, K.P and Helen, M.W.,2001). An effective team is more than simply a team that performs well in the short-term. Typically, an effective team is considered to be one that performs well with a high degree of INTERDEPENDENCE, and that has team members who are satisfied and not stressed, has low turnover and absence, and that is viable and sustainable. Conditions necessary for effective teamwork Teamwork is the ultimate act of coordination and cooperation which, through synergy, can accomplish fantastic goals and performance. However, building an effective team is not easy really, which will rely on a number of conditions necessary based on several levels. Here, I will emphasize on the conditions on 3 significant levels for discussion. 1. Organizational design and strategy Organization should be “ready” to develop and improve teamwork within the organization, in terms of organizational culture, structure, resources and strategy. -Organizational Culture and Structure A kind of favorable organizational culture, which is relatively independent, open, flexible, collaborative, should be built within the organization so as to enable the teams to work effectively and creatively. If the culture and structure of the organization is highly bureaucratized, all decisions and work implementation should go through several levels of approval, all team members will have to follow the complex and strict rules or policies, like in many traditional companies, the effective teamwork is likely to be fraught with difficulty. -Resources Available Sufficient resources should be allocated to teamwork within the organization, especially for training and technology resources. Any types of teams are expecting to have continuous training and coaching in order to ensure all team members are qualified and motivated. In addition, technology resources, e.g. IT infrastructure, is also significant to enable the information and ideas sharable and utilizable, as well as to enrich the work roles cross the functions within and across the team. -Organizational Strategy A clear organizational strategy for implementing teamwork should be carried out on the basis of long-term operation. The long-term approach will be penetrated to the process of objectives setting, strategy planning and strategy implementing, in order to reach the goals of the organization as a whole. 2. Leadership and Supervision The style of the leadership is critical for the long-term effective team’s building. Leadership and supervision module can greatly impact the degree of the autonomy amongst all