Group Dynamics and Teams Essay

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With workplace tasks becoming increasingly complex, the significance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized. Teamwork often facilitates faster and more effective execution of tasks. Nonetheless, managing a group or team of people can be a challenging endeavor in large part due to conflicts and communication issues. Indeed, conflict, misunderstanding, and miscommunication can greatly affect team success and productivity (Bateman, Snell & Konopaske, 2016). With reference to Kolb's learning model, this paper describes my own experience with a team. Following a description of the experience, I reflect on the experience, interpret the experience at a deeper level and identify ways to respond to a similar experience in the future.

Concrete Experience

At my place of work, I was recently appointed as one of the members of a team aimed at investigating the potential of a certain product the organization wanted to venture into. More specifically, the responsibility of the team was to evaluate whether the organization had the resources and capabilities to offer the product, the revenue potential of the product, and how it would implement the idea if found viable. The team was to thoroughly examine the market for the product and draft a comprehensive report to the management, providing recommendations whether or not to proceed with the idea. The report was to be submitted to the management in six weeks. Led by the head of business development, the team comprised personnel from various functions across the organization, including sales and marketing, research and development (R&D), procurement, and finance.

Reflective Observation

The team experience was one of a kind for me. It was my first time to work in an inter-functional team. I had worked in teams before, but I had not directly collaborated with individuals from departments other than mine. For me, working with staff from other departments made the task appear much easier. There was morale, enthusiasm, moral support, cooperation, and stimulating team activities, which I strongly believe were instrumental to the success of the team. I also got an opportunity to interact more with colleagues I had not interacted much with before. More importantly, we had a wonderful team leader, who cultivated an open and collaborative teamwork environment. He is actually one of the best team leaders I have encountered. Other members of the team also found the experience quite fulfilling, describing it as a significant learning experience in their career journey. The team delivered the report a week before the expected date.

Nonetheless, there were challenges -- challenges that almost derailed the productivity of the team. One of the challenges stemmed from differences in objectives, priorities, and perspectives.
For instance, while almost everyone was convinced that the organization needed to introduce the product as soon as possible, representatives from the finance department were quite concerned about the firm's financial capacity. Likewise, while some members favored a large scale implementation of the idea, some argued that going full scale without first testing the market would be terrible, thereby preferring gradual implementation of the idea or a pilot test. There were also disagreements on whether or not to partner with external entities in implementing the idea. Other challenges emanated from late attendance or skipping of team meetings, non-adherence to the team's rules, and laxity in fulfilling assigned responsibilities on the part of some team members. In spite of these challenges, the experience greatly enhanced my teamwork and communication abilities. I would love to be in such a team in the future.

Abstract Conceptualization

Broadly speaking, groups are formed to work together to achieve a specified objective. For instance, a soccer team has eleven members, all working together to score against a competing team and to prevent the competing team from scoring. With a team, a seemingly complex task becomes easier as two or more individuals direct their effort towards solving the task as a team. At the workplace, teams are crucial drivers of productivity and performance (Bateman, Snell & Konopaske, 2016). Teams are often assembled to develop a new product, evaluate the potential of a given market, reorganize business divisions or operations, assess potential targets for a merger or an acquisition, and so forth. In a team, members share knowledge and perspectives, consequently accelerating the accomplishment of goals, objectives, and tasks.

The formation of a team undergoes a number of stages as described by Bruce Tuckman's model of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Margerison, 2003). These stages were quite evident during the above team experience. In the first stage, forming, the team is formed or assembled. Team members are introduced to one another, the team is familiarized with the task at hand, and roles and responsibilities are assigned. During….....

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Bateman, T., Snell, S., & Konopaske, R. (2016). Management: leading and collaborating in a competitive world. 12th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Hayes, J. (2014). The theory and practice of change management. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Margerison, C. (2003). Team leadership. London: Thomson Learning.

Raines, S. (2012). Conflict management for managers: resolving workplace, client and policy disputes. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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