It is generally accepted that group cohesion and performance are associated. Generally, there tend to be more studies supporting a positive relationship between group cohesion and performance.
The Question What is team cohesiveness and why does it matter to an organization to have cohesiveness within its teams?
Team Composition How to promote team cohesion when selecting and identifying diversity within teams In their journal article Beyond Relational Demography: Price, and Myrtle P. Bell discuss the composition of teams and its effect on cohesiveness. They describe two different categories of diversity, namely surface level and deeper level. In general, the findings have been fairly inconsistent within and across studies as to how diversity in these areas affect team cohesion.
There has been less research done in this area with regards to teams in workplace settings, though a number of social psychological studies have been conducted.
Overall cohesiveness was strengthened in such cases. Hence, for optimum results, teams ought to include deep-level diversity as part of the process for achieving cohesiveness. Internal Environment Factors Needed in Team Cohesion Internally there are several factors that must be present for cohesion to exist within a team.
First good and appropriate communication is essential to creating and maintaining cohesion. Communication leads to the second factor, unity of purpose. For a team to work as a cohesive team they must share a common goal and to collectively work towards that goal. And finally, the team must have a high level of commitment understanding that what they do together as a team is better than what they do on their own.
Whether a room or lounge where team members can congregate between classes and the end of the day, practice space for formal and informal coaching sessions, travel time in cars and vans, or social time to enjoy pizza and a movie, both quantity and quality of communication are necessary to build a cohesive team climate of openness and trust…According to Bormann , highly cohesive groups interact in an open climate where individuals are free to ask questions and disagree with one another; even the ability to work through inevitable team conflict in such a constructive climate will only serve to strengthen team cohesion.
Providing opportunities for the team members to interact socially is necessary to help build trust. In addition, a safe environment in which the team can deal with conflict is critical to team cohesion.
Unity of Purpose or a Common Goal A critical factor that must be present for groups or teams to experience cohesion is to have a common goal. Though cohesion is rooted in the feelings team mem-bers have for one another as well as a common goal, creating, shaping, and strengthening those feelings relies on the use of effective communication. Communication scholars have long agreed that group or team cohesion is as much about the relationships created as the task at hand, and success in both fos-ters the development of team cohesion.
Without a purpose or a common goal a team will eventually splinter into separate individuals working towards their own personal agendas and not together toward a team goal. It is important for team members to see themselves as a part of the group working towards a goal for cohesiveness to exist. Commitment Teams that are not committed to each other or a common goal do not experience cohesion and are much more like to leave the team or even the organization.
In the article "Commitment and the Control of Organizational Behavior and Belief" the author states the following: Some jobs are rather isolated and can be done independently of other jobs in the organization.
It has been found that jobs which are not integrated with the work activities of others tend to be associated with less favorable attitudes. Gow, Clarkand dossett , for instance find that telephone operators who quit tend to be those who are not integrated into the work group. Work integration can affect commitment by the fact that integrated jobs are likely to be associated with salient demands from others in the organization.
If a person has a job which affects the work of others in the organization, it is likely that those other will communicate their expectations for performance of that job. Such expectations can be committing in that the other people implicitly or explicitly hold the person accountable for what he does.
Earlier we mentioned that when individuals did not know what was expected of them they tended to be less committed to the organization. One reason an individual will not know what is expected is because no one is telling him. In general, we would expect that anything which contributes to creating definite expectations for a person's behavior would enhance his felt responsibility, and hence commitment.
Once commitment is present team members are more likely to stay and work towards the team goal. Role of Management in Team Cohesion The roles that management has in a team that they oversee are extremely important. But it is also important for the management to understand the boundaries of what their roles and responsibilities are and what the roles and responsibilities of the team itself are.
The manager is often placed in the management position because of their people and technical skills and experience. So what role should management play in a team that they oversee? How best can they serve the team to ensure they are successful?
A critical role that management can and should have is to facilitate and encourage team cohesion. Management must set a clear vision to which the team can jointly work towards together.
Once the goal has been clearly defined and clearly articulated, management must keep the vision and goal alive. Obstacles, tension, and crises may arise that can distract or discourage away from the common goal. And to do so in a way that brings out the best thinking and attitude of everyone involved.
They must be able to speak honestly. They must be able to deal openly with real obstacles, problems, and opportunities in a way that promotes listening, understanding of differing perspectives, and constructively working towards a solution.
Set Clear Expectations and Responsibilities Management responsibility is also to set clear expectations and responsibilities of the team and individual team members. Whereas when the expectations, direction and priorities are clear the team is more likely to commit to the cause and each other. Also, management must set clear responsibilities. One of the most direct signals of such belief is trusting someone with important and meaningful responsibility. Because then they will act.
Specifically, the team needs trained, competent team members. Training is a planned effort by a firm to help employees learn job-related competencies Noe, Training is used by companies to gain a competitive advantage over rivals in their respective industries.
A company must provide adequate resources to an empowered team to staff and train its members adequately. Soft-skills training, on the other hand, teaches the workers to get along better as part of a functioning team; this type of skills training improves interpersonal dynamics and relationships. To effectively and efficiently manufacture quality product, both types of training are needed.
Once the team knows what they are working towards, tasks have been clearly defined and delegated, expectations are clearly set and they have the means to build relationships of trust and have open communication, the manager needs to step back and let the team work. The last thing the team needs, not only to reach their goal, but also to build strong cohesion is, as Dr.
Then management must trust team members by providing sufficient autonomy, which will in turn build confidence. This can be done by defining a clear vision and goal, facilitate a working environment, set clear expectations and responsibilities, and provide the team enough autonomy where they can work and do their jobs with full commitment and confidence.
Examples of Team Cohesion: This change allowed assembly employees to make important decisions in their work teams . The structure of the plant divides workers into NWGs. Within this group structure HDMC provides for widespread access to information. This access to information facilitates open communication which in turn leads to greater team cohesion.
Cohesion is also furthered by the autonomy of workers within the group. With freedom to make any necessary decisions and freedom from continuous managerial intervention NWGs are free to bend and move as needed in response to any given situation.
Interestingly in this structure there are no formal team leaders. Traditional leadership duties such as scheduling, safety monitoring, budget balancing, and so forth, are rotated among the NWG members on a regular basis usually monthly. The NWG controls its own budget, sick pay, overtime, and consumable production materials. Individual performance measures are not maintained.
This sharing of responsibilities fosters cohesion by aligning the goals of the group, goals each member is included in creating. In the process of developing the company, other individuals and interests come into play that are detrimental to the team cohesion developed by Mark and Eduardo eventually leading to multi-million dollar lawsuits and the end of the original founding team.
Several factors that lead to the failure of team cohesion: Upon learning this, Eduardo was very upset that Mark would go ahead and make the decision to include Sean without consulting him first. Mark and Eduardo both had visions of keeping this site exclusive for the elite college institutions around the country and gradually introducing it to other colleges.
Eduardo was never consulted on these propositions that were made to Mark. Eduardo felt like Sean was trying to push him out of the company and influence many of the decisions made by Mark.
As the company grew and others were able to influence decision making, the team goals had clearly changed and not everyone shared the same vision. In this responsibility he put up the initial seed money to get it off the ground. He was in charge of all finances and bank accounts for the company. While Mark was moving the company headquarters to Palo Alto, Eduardo was spending time in New York working on securing advertising contracts with prominent advertising firms. When Eduardo goes to visit the team in Palo Alto he begins to tell Mark all about the progress he has made with the advertisers but instead he is told all about the work that Sean and Mark had accomplished and is essentially told that his time and work in New York will not be needed.
Eduardo felt like his contributions to the company and goals were not being recognized. This drives Eduardo further and further from the team. Throughout the life of the original leadership team there were many occasions where selfish interests were able to infiltrate team cohesion. Sean was the worst offender of this. Through these actions, Sean clearly was acting in his own self interest and did not take into account what the effects would be on the group or company.
In many ways the selfish actions of Sean drove a wedge between Mark and Eduardo that eventually lead to lawsuits and the end of the original leadership team. In order to create a cohesive team unit it is important for team members to be aware of this and work towards it.
Group leaders ought to act as examples and make sure that the group composition and expectations of the group members are in line with risk-taking and intermember attraction. See Ways to Prevent Groupthink. Retrieved November 25, , from Sage Journals Online: Searching for common threads: Understanding the multiple effects of diversity in organizational groups.
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