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Teamwork Analysis Essay


What defines team success? Or how can you measure the success of an individual in a team setting? Or perhaps, what factors determine a group’s success? In most cases, individuals in a group usually have “hidden agendas.” Some might have conflicting or ambiguous roles while some might be more competitive. All these factors have a significant influence on the success of a team. In this paper, I will discuss my team’s internal processes and some of the positive and negative aspects of the group’s processes. Also, I will propose some changes that, if implemented, can foster better working relationships and overall success of our group.

According to Levi (2015), groups are not just a “collection of people;” they have common goals and objectives, social relationships, and interaction among themselves. Sometimes, group members are influenced by one another. The success of a team depends on numerous factors such as the composition of the group, the tasks, processes involved, and the organizational context. A successful group must also have members that are competent and knowledgeable. They should also possess the skills and passion to complete the task at hand.

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After a brief introduction to our first class, the instructor assigned multiple group activities, and each time we had different group members. We were doing one last activity towards the end of the class, when the instructor suddenly announced that the group we were in will be our permanent group until the end of the semester. I am always observant, and I was trying to observe each member just by body language and facial expressions to see the member’s reactions to the instructor’s decision. I noticed something peculiar about one particular member, and it did not take long before he/she started developing conflicts with the other team members in our group. At first, he/she seemed so shocked about the instructor’s decision that her/his jaws dropped for almost a minute. While everyone else seemed quite satisfied and accepted the situation, this person seemed extremely unhappy. With time, I realized that this person was an exchange student, and that he/she was not put in the same group with her/his friends, who were also exchange students from the same country and university.

Our group consists of six (6) team members who were selected randomly by our instructor for the “Optimizing Team Dynamics” course at the university. Since no one knew each other previously, our group went into the “pre-identify” stage at the beginning where we were trying to know one another. The group was formed at the beginning of the semester and we were supposed to work on a project that will be assigned towards the last week of the class, and then present our work as a team, outlining our accomplishments. Besides getting to know each other, the purpose of forming the group early enough was to develop into a “post-identity” stage where we could form cohesiveness, better interactions, and develop group norms. This helped us to be more productive, or according to the Tuckman’s model, called the “performing” stage. According to Tuckman & Jensen (1977), at this stage, there is more collaboration and a sense of teamwork between members as they work towards a common goal.

After several meetings and doing multiple exercises together during the class, we never touched on the topic of the group’s roles. This is because most of the assignments/projects are individual-based, except during class period where there are no set objectives or goals for the group yet. We could not make viable progress because there was a lack of clarity among members in terms of roles and responsibility. Moreover, our group seems to have a mixture of characteristics for an effective and ineffective team, respectively. However, with time, and once tasks were assigned, team roles became more apparent.

In addition, most of my group members seem to adhere to the standard group norms such as listening, not interrupting others, sharing, and contributing. However, one member, who, incidentally, was the one that was unhappy about being in our group, was not quite adhering to the group norms. In fact, two other group members have already told me they dislike this person, even without me sharing my initial thoughts about this person. This person is, for instance, always talking loudly, and sort of not letting others speak or share their opinions; interrupts others while they are talking, criticizes other group member’s ideas or suggestions, etc. This person has also mentioned at the early stages that she/he has previously worked in teams. He/she wanted to feel competitive and lead the group even though we had not agreed on the roles of the members. According to Hagger, Rentzelas, & Koch (2014), the individual can be described as individualistic. An individualistic person is selfish and tends to be motivated by what is good for them in disregard to the needs of other team members. Furthermore, Levi (2015) indicates that people who are individualistic tend to be more competitive with their co-workers than collectivist.

Another perspective is that if such persons have probably mentioned that they have always worked in groups back at their university, they, as a result, may feel they need to lead the group and prove that they are the most experienced team member. This dilemma clearly shows that when team roles are poorly defined, like in our group, it could lead to stress, decreased morale, and inefficiency among group members (Levi, 2015). Notwithstanding this minor conflict, my group is very cooperative as a whole. For example, we all shared the cost of buying any relevant material for the class. Also, everyone seems nice and willing to help. Our group also seems very motivated and willing to put in their effort. In addition, majority of teams go through series of ups and downs, resulting in both successes and failures at various times. In our group, there is a certain team role ambiguity; hence, according to Levi (2015), project teams usually spend more time to get organized and set clear goals and objectives that was originally envisioned. Also, according to Gersick (1988), most work-related projects are usually accomplished in the last half of the allocated time.

With regards to group stages and where exactly our group fit in as of the last meeting, I think our group is in between the storming and norming stages. Our group has some implicit norms set, but due to certain disagreement and role ambiguity, we seem to have slide back to the storming stage. This stage is often characterized by some minor conflicts among members and confusion about their roles and project requirements (Levi, 2015). These two stages are essential in the development of a team because they help to establish the foundation for future collaboration and teamwork. Despite the conflicts and confusion at the storming stage, members come together to resolve the misunderstanding and agree on the way forward.

McGrath (1989) proposes a more descriptive group stages model that encompasses four stages namely: inception, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and execution. And from the latter model, our group is currently in the problem solving and conflict resolution stages. Despite all of the conflicts mentioned above, our group members are generally mature and hard-working, and I believe, with time, and once a definite task is assigned, the group will become more cohesive, and clear group norms will be established. Certain things will have to change. For instance, criticism will not be tolerated and everyone would be given a chance to share their opinion. Team members have realized that it is safe to share different opinions and ideas. Also, for the sake of giving everyone a chance to adopt different team roles, I am going to suggest rotating of roles to my group. I am also thinking of developing a way for each team member to give and get feedback after the completion of the project. All in all, our group’s internal processes have been discussed and certain changes will be suggested to my group members as to be more explicit and have “clarity of expectations”.

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Gersick, C. J. (1988). Time and transition in work teams: Toward a new model of group development. Academy of Management Journal, 31(1), 9-41.
Levi, D. (2015). Group dynamics for teams. Sage Publications.
McGrath, J. E. (1984). Groups: Interaction and performance (Vol. 14). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Marks, M. A., Mathieu, J. E., & Zaccaro, S. J. (2001). A temporally based framework and taxonomy of team processes. Academy of management review, 26(3), 356-376.
Ancona, D. G., & Caldwell, D. (1990). Beyond boundary spanning: Managing external dependence in product development teams. The Journal of High Technology Management Research, 1(2), 119-135.
Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. A. C. (1977). Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), 419-427.
Hagger, M. S., Rentzelas, P., & Koch, S. (2014). Evaluating group member behavior under individualist and collectivist norms: A cross-cultural comparison. Small Group Research, 45(2), 217-228.

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