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2.2 Cooperation in group settings

 
Importance of Teamwork in the Workplace
Key Benefits of Teamwork
Video 1 – Teamwork Activity
Group Dynamics
Video 2 – Tuckman’s Model

Importance of Teamwork in the Workplace

Cooperation is at the heart of good teamwork, without cooperation the team fails to function. Teamwork can be defined as an activity or a set of inter-related activities done by more than one person in order to achieve a common objective. A popular motivational description of a team is shown below:

T – Together
E – Everyone
A – Achieves
M – More

Key Benefits of Teamwork

Fast Learning
You tend to learn things at a faster rate, if you are working with a team. The experiences and the knowledge of the older team members help you to grasp new concepts quickly. At the same time it proves to be an additional bonus for you as you avoid mistakes at work.

Workload Distribution
Working in a team has an advantage of the workload getting distributed amongst all the team members. With work properly distributed, you can concentrate on a single activity till the time you gain expertise in it and you do not feel stressed out due to work.

Building Bonds
Continuous interaction with the team members, working with them for the whole day, having your meals with them, sharing joys and sorrows helps in building a bond of friendship and unity between each other.

Healthy Competition
Just think of a situation where people are competing with each other and trying to excel better than the other. At the same time they are helping and assisting each other in work related as well as personal difficulties and problems. Wouldn’t that be a great sight! Well this is possible when you work as a team.

Exploring Creativity
While working in a team you will never be alone, you will always have some or the other person to suggest you good things. Suggestions and advice can help you in generating new ideas and bring out the creativity in you.

Job Satisfaction
Teamwork is one of the most important reasons for employee job satisfaction. This is because working in a team improves performance as well as making work more enjoyable.

Increased Speed of Work
With many people handling a single project and doing the assigned work properly, the overall work speed increases and your team can complete the project well within the given time frame.

The above mentioned benefits of teamwork were team specific. But teamwork is even beneficial at the organizational level. Effective teamwork in the workplace benefits the organization by increasing the individual productivity, which is important in order to achieve the targets and fulfil commitments.

If you are in a group of learners your tutor will have some teambuilding activities for you to do at this stage.

If you are an independent learner there is a short video demonstrating one of the activities below:

 

Tuckman’s Theory of Group Dynamics

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing – Adjourning

Bruce Tuckman first developed this model in 1965.

It is one of the best known team development theories and has formed the basis of many further ideas since its conception.

Tuckman’s theory focuses on the way in which a team tackles a task from the initial formation of the team through to the completion of the project. Tuckman later added a fifth phase; Adjourning and Transforming to cover the finishing of a task.

Tuckman’s theory is particularly relevant to team building challenges and the in the workplace as the phases are relevant to the completion of any task undertaken by a team.

Often teams are involved in projects at work lasting for months or years and it can be difficult to understand experiences in the context of a completed task.
Forming
The team is assembled and the task is allocated. This could be because a new member of staff has started work or current staff have been placed into a new team.

Team members tend to behave independently and although goodwill may exist they do not know each other well enough to totally trust one another.

Time is spent planning, collecting information and bonding. Employers expect this stage to be completed quickly and tend to look for employees who have experience in teams to speed up the transition.
Storming
The team starts to address the task suggesting ideas.

Different ideas may compete with each other and if badly managed this phase can be very destructive for the team and the business. Relationships between team members will be made or broken in this phase and some may never recover.

In some cases the team can become stuck in the Storming phase.

If a team is too focused on compromise they may decide on a plan that is less effective in completing the task for the sake of the team.

It is essential that a team has strong leadership in this phase, this will usually be expected to be a manager or supervisor.
Norming
As the team moves out of the Storming phase they will enter the Norming phase.

This tends to be a move towards good working practices with teams agreeing on the rules and values by which they operate.

In the ideal situation teams begin to trust themselves during this phase as they accept the vital contribution of each member to the team.

Team leaders can take a step back from the team at this stage as individual members take greater responsibility.

The risk during the Norming stage is that the team becomes content and loses either their creative edge or the drive that brought them to this phase.
Performing
Not all teams make it to the Performing phase, which is essentially an era of high performance.

Performing teams are identified by high levels if independence, motivation, knowledge and competence.

Decision making is collaborative and dissent is expected and encouraged as there will be a high level of respect in the communication between team members.

This is the phase that employers and supervisors would like their employees to be working at constantly as it provides the best return for the business and team morale.
Adjourning & Transforming
This is the final phase added by Tuckman to cover the end of the project and the break up of the team.

Teams can be formed and separated constantly in the work environment but the knowledge of this model can help individuals identify what stages the group is experiencing and recognise the dangers associated with each.

It should be noted that a team can return to any phase within the model if they experience a change, for example a review of their project or goals or a change in members of a team.

In a successful team when a member leaves or a new member joins the team will revert to the Forming stage, but it may last for a very short time as the new team member is brought into the fold.

If you think of a time when you have belonged to a group in a work or social setting can you identify the stages from Tuckman’s model? If you are working in a group at present what stage do you feel the group is in and do your fellow group members identify the same stage?



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