Research Paper: Establishing Teamwork in Organizations

Establishing Teamwork in Organizations

Executive Summary
Team work has become integral to the survival of firms in the contemporary world. This is attributed to the nature of the projects they are engaging in and the complexity of roles played by individual employees. Introducing team work in organizations is a challenging endeavor. Finding people with the right mix of skills may be a problem. Individuals also resist change especially when they are uncertain of the impact it will have on them. Teams are made up people with diverse needs and expectations. Variations in expectations can also lead to conflicts in determining how a team should be led and the values that should guide its decisions and actions. These challenges, among others, can make it hard for managers to establish teamwork. However, with the right strategies and a strong commitment to the same, an organization can overcome all of them.

The recent years have seen many companies embrace teamwork culture to enhance their edge and ability to realize their goals and objectives. Most managers in the contemporary world appreciate the fact that organizational effectiveness results from team efficiency (Hill & Parsons 2014). This implies selecting employees with the right mix of knowledge and skills as well as balancing the team’s size and diversity. Often, the team may also require supervisory assistance to coordinate activities, hence enabling it to perform its tasks. The team can be actual, virtual, or a combination of both. Establishing teamwork in organizations takes great commitment and willingness to deal with problems associated with the same (Schermerhorn 2009).
This paper seeks to establish whether it is difficult to introduce a team work in organizations.
Difficulties in Establishing Team Work in an Organization
The answer to the question on whether it is hard to establish teamwork in the organization is a resounding yes. Managers often struggle to introduce a teamwork culture in their organizations. For one, according to McGregor’s Theory X individuals have the tendency to resist change. This is common among many organizations whenever a change is announced (West 2012). Most of them fear the unknown while others may be used to the current status of things to the extent that they may be unwilling to embrace change. Introducing teamwork in a company can encounter a similar challenge. For example, employees who are used to working alone may resist the proposed change fearing the impact it will have on their roles and duties. Others may fear to work in teams considering the challenges linked with the work culture. It takes great convincing for the management in an organization to ensure people are in support of the proposed changes (Hill & Parsons 2014). In the same regard, leaders should provide a case for team work to gain the support of their people in successfully introducing the change. Failure by the management to effectively convince its people on the need for change can result in their inability to establish team work (Salas 2013).
Finding people with the right mix of knowledge and skills and ensuring a balance in diversity and size is also a challenge. The management can manage to convince people on the need for change (Bolman & Deal 2013). Nevertheless, it may encounter difficulties in acquiring the right mix of individuals with the ability to handle the tasks and responsibilities to be charged on their team. Usually, teams require individuals with diverse skills and knowledge to deal with different tasks. This is one of the main factors that lead to the development of groups (Bolman & Deal 2013). It reaches a point when the management in a company realizes that it cannot complete certain duties when employees are working alone. This is common in tasks that require diverse skills. The fact that people resist change worsens the situation. Specifically, a manager can have to access the right people. Nevertheless, convincing them to join or work in teams is another task. Leaders must ensure they explain to employees the benefits of them team both on the organization as well as to individuals. There are also times when leaders may be forced to hire new employees to achieve their team work goals and objectives. For instance, the decision to hire new employees becomes inevitable when the current workforce lack the required skills (Griffin & Moorhead 2014).
Finding the right person to lead a team in an organization is a problem. Teams normally have the same goals and objectives. In such cases, it is imperative that they work under the direction of one leader or manager using one plan. This is in line with the principles set forth by Henri Fayol in his quest to establish proper management practices. According to Fayol, unit of direction is vital if a team is to achieve its mandate. In essence, this helps in ensuring that its actions are properly coordinated (Bolman & Deal 2013). Not all managers or leaders in an organization have the right mix of skills integral to successfully manage teams. There are times when individuals have to be trained to equip them with the knowledge linked to effective team management. People in supervisory or managerial position often take a leadership position in teams. Nonetheless, there are times when individual employees are given the opportunity to lead the team with the aim of empowering them to take more responsibilities and improve their leadership skills. In essence, finding an employee with the leadership knowledge is a challenge. All in all, the problem can be solved through training (Hackman 2002).
Determining culture or the norms and values that will bind members together is also a challenge. Apparently, effective teams are made up of individuals with diverse skills to handle varied roles. With diversity comes the problem of individuals emphasizing or being attracted to different values. This can easily create conflicts that can impact negatively on team cohesiveness. According to Elton Mayo Theory, teams with low cohesiveness and norms are often ineffective and have no impact (West 2012). This is because members are not motivated to excel or ensure high performances. As such, this is an issue the management in a company cannot ignore considering it can affect the productivity of a team in the future. Some leaders choose to force norms and values on members of a team. They apply McGregor’s Theory X which maintains that employees are lazy, and hence the only way to get things done is through the use of autocratic leadership style (Griffin & Moorhead 2014). The approach may work for a short period then backfire at a later stage. In most cases, there is always the risk that this leadership style will have an adverse impact on members’ motivation and their willingness to stay with the team. This means that an organization can establish team work to improve its effectiveness only to worsen the situation (Wellington 2012).
Developing strategies to ensure team cohesiveness is also a major challenge to many managers when establishing team work. Team members must be able to work cohesively or be friendly towards one another to achieve their goals. Lack of cohesiveness is one of the major factors that lead to increased conflicts in teams. Leaders with the ability to ensure members establish great bonds achieve team objectives with ease. In the same way, they find it easy to convince different people to embrace a teamwork culture. Consistent with Mayo’s theory cohesiveness is imperative for a group to display effectiveness (Griffin & Moorhead 2014). As such, difficulties in achieving the same is a major concern that must be addressed before a teamwork culture is introduced in an organization. Research has shown that many managers explain to their people the importance of teamwork to ensure they are willing to compromise on their values and interests for the sake of organizational success. It takes time before people completely drop previous practices and fully embrace the teamwork (Wellington 2012). In an organization where people are used to working alone, one cannot expect to introduce a teamwork culture and expect it to thrive overnight. It may take some time before they learn how to work with one another and accept their differences. Managers must accept this if they are to achieve cohesiveness (Deeprose 2011).
Designing the training programs required to equip people with the right teamwork skills can also be a challenge. Individuals in an organization have the varied training needs that must be addressed if they are to execute roles and duties allocated to them in the right manner. Leaders also have distinct needs. According to Henry Mintzberg theory, leaders acquire the best skills through experience (Schermerhorn 2009). In essence, they find it easy to apply what they have learned through their experiences over the years as compared to what they learn in a classroom setting. A company with the intention to start a teamwork culture may lack leaders with the experience in the same. As such, they may be forced to undergone classroom training or coaching to learn how to best manage team for compelling performances (Griffin & Moorhead 2014). However, according to Mintzberg’s theory, it may take some time before they master the art of effective teamwork management. The risk that one will fail in their quest to improve their skills is always high. This explains why some individuals may be reluctant to take up leadership positions in a team (Hill & Parsons 2014).
Evidently, it is indeed difficult to establish teamwork in organizations. Nevertheless, companies in the modern world cannot avoid the use of teams to achieve success or an edge. Collaboration enables them to handle tasks that cannot be completed by individual employees and require more than one person (West 2012). As such, strategies must be developed to mitigate risks associated with problems in the development of a teamwork culture. Through preparation and proper planning, an organization can handle the above difficulties. As discussed earlier, it imperative for the management in an organization to first explain to their people on the need for change. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, Google, Starbucks, and Southwest Airlines applied the same approach when introducing teamwork (Hill & Parsons 2014). They ensured their people understood the importance of working in teams or groups to achieve certain goals and objectives. Moreover, they communicated how individual employees would benefit from the new culture. In the end, they managed to eliminate resistance among employees and gained the support required to successfully introduce change. This also helps in ensuring cohesiveness as people will be willing to work with one another to achieve organizational goals. It is also essential for the management in an organization to ensure its people have the right teamwork skills. Whenever possible, training and development should be used to address any weaknesses. Selecting the right leader is also of the essence. The management must the fact that it will take time before people get accustomed to the change (Hiriyappa 2013).
It is clear that introducing teamwork in an organization can be difficult. Finding the right people with the right skills may be a problem. In the same regard, resistance to change is a concern. People have the tendency to resist change especially when they are uncertain of the impact it will have on them. Determining the right person to manage a team can also be a problem especially in an organization where people have never been exposed to such a culture. Problems can also arise when the team in trying to establish ground rules and norms that will guide its behavior and actions. These challenges can be avoided or handled through proper planning. The management in an organization must come up with a plan on how to introduce teamwork to anticipate issues and handle them in advance.

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