The importance of groups and teams in organizations
A group is a collection of two or more individuals who come together with similar goals. These individuals are observed to maintain stable patterns of relationships while referring to themselves as a group. There are several types of groups that exist or are formed within the formal groups and informal ones. The former are designed or formed within the organizational set up with the aim of directing organizational resources to the achievement of a set organizational objective.
Within this types of group, we have a deeper classification. Hence formal groups can either be command groups, or task oriented groups. The first one is designed around the organizational structure and based on who reports to whom. The second type of group derives its formation criteria from the existence of an organizational task that needs to be addressed. Informal groups can either be interest based or friendship based. The first are formed based on the individuals’ interest in a certain activity, while the last one is formed based purely on friendship.
Within most organizations, there are many individuals with different abilities, all coming together to facilitate the achievement of set goals. Roles, which are essentially the part an individual plays in this organizational strife, are important in preventing chaos and confusion. With the differing abilities, there arises a need for the demarcation of responsibilities. Norms are the generally accepted rules or social behaviour expected from an individual. Groups and organizations benefit from these since they guide coexistence and encourage coordination by guiding members’ behaviour. Status being the relative social prestige accorded to an individual due to his position or rank in a group’s hierarchy, is very crucial in defining power within an organisation. It demarcates the level of respect that is supposed to be accorded to certain members of the organizational structure thus defining their responsibilities and remuneration. Cohesiveness, or esprit de corps, is the members’ willingness to remain part of that cohesive unit and see it achieves its mandate or objectives. This is important as it cultivates unity and grows coordination within the same groups, bettering its chances of success.
As teams themselves, all organizations are subject to social facilitation. This is the tendency of the presence or absence of others to either enhance or impair performance. Performance is enhanced due to the drive theory where in the presence of others, humans display the dominant response. If this is a learned response, then performance is improved. Social loafing on the other hand refers to the tendency to slough off performance due to either lack of motivation, cultural influence or social pressure. This is rife in high density work environments as monitoring is less effective leading to less interaction with those that could influence performance.
Teams are groups of people with similar skills working together to achieve a pre-set objective. They can be categorized according to the following; their mission, whereby we have improvement and work teams. If the teams are to be formed based on the degree of autonomy, we have either; work groups, semi-autonomous groups and self-managing groups. If time is the deciding factor, then both permanent and temporary groups. Where authority structure is a deciding factor, we have either intact teams and cross functional ones. Also, teams can either be physical or virtual based on physical presence.
Teams admittedly take some time to get used to, but once that has happened, they go on to prove their effectiveness in organizational performance. They are essential tools for fostering commitment among different employees, as well as eroding management layers that result in some employees feeling alienated. This improves organizational efficiency, as well as bolstering the team spirit within an organization.
Teams fail due to a myriad of things. Lack of cooperation among their members, inadequate facilitation from management as well as some leaders’ unwillingness to relinquish power are a few of these. However, to avoid ineffective and/or inefficient teams, proper remuneration should be offered to team members, proper training and skill improvements carried out, as well as proper appraisal and selection processes based on skills and potential adopted.
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