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Learning Team A discussed the learning objectives assigned for week three of class. Specifically, the team members discussed strategies to help develop effective groups and teams. The team members also discussed strategies to resolve conflict within organizations. The discussion included topics with which the team members felt comfortable or struggled with and how the weekly topics applied to team members’ business field. This paper summarizes Learning Team A’s discussions.
Strategies to Develop Effective Groups and Teams
The team members discussed the difference between the definitions of work group and work team. The work group share information and make decisions that assists each member perform tasks in his area of responsibility (Robbins & Judge, 2011). The group members do not engage in “collective work that requires joint effort (Robbins & Judge, 2011, Chapter 10) like a work team does. A work group does not create the synergy of a work team. The individual is accountable in a work group but both the individual and team members mutually are accountable. Work group members provide random and varied skills, whereas work team members bring complementary skills to the joint effort. Robbins and Judge (2011) categorized the major characteristics of effective teams into three general categories: context, composition, and process. In the context category, managers play a vital role in providing leadership, structure, a climate of trust, adequate resources, and a performance evaluation and reward systems to assist teams in becoming effective and highly productive.
In the composition category, the manager must evaluate and select team members with the appropriate abilities, personalities, and diversity. Managers must determine the appropriate team size and either unilaterally or mutually allocate roles. Managers also must be aware of team member preferences and permit flexibility within the team. In the process category, managers must provide a common purpose and specific goals so team members understand and work toward a common purpose and can create a positive synergy. Additionally, managers must facilitate team efficacy, monitor conflict level, provide conflict resolution strategies, and monitor for social loafing by holding team members accountable individually and jointly. The team members were comfortable with the concepts and terminology with regard to strategies to help develop effective teams.
Team members are aware that many companies are relying on teams to accomplish tasks and goals because teams are flexible and more responsive to a dynamic business environment. Despite being comfortable with the concepts and strategies, the team members struggled with the implementation of some of the strategies. For instance, managers, tasked with building a team for a short-suspensed project, may face difficulties with building an effective, cohesive, committed, and productive team in a short time.
Strategies to Resolve Conflict Within Organizations
Robbins and Judge (2011) stated “The conflict process has five stages: potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior, and outcomes” (p. 457). Potential opposition or incompatibility is the first stage of the conflict process, and it has three categories: communication, structure, and personal variables. Stage two is cognition and personalization. Conflict issues are defined in this stage. Moreover, emotions have a major impact on influencing perception. Third, stage three is intentions. “Intentions intervene between people’s perceptions and emotions and their overt behavior” (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 459). There are five conflict-handling intentions: competing, collaborating, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising. Stage four is behavior, which is a vigorous process of communication. Furthermore, there are several techniques to conflict-resolution; for example, problem solving, avoidance, and compromise.
There are also conflict-stimulation techniques; for example, communication, bringing in outsiders, and restructuring the organization. Last, stage five is outcomes. The outcomes can be functional; for example, “when it improves the quality of decisions, stimulates creativity and innovation, encourages interest and curiosity among group members, provides the medium through which problems can be aired and tensions released, and fosters an environment of self-evaluation and change” (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 463). However, the outcomes can be dysfunctional; for example, uncontrolled opposition can breed discontent, destroy cohesion and eventually could lead to the team destruction. Team members were comfortable with conflict resolution approaches; however, the team learned about conflict-stimulation techniques. The concept was new to team members because conflict generally has had a negative connotation. The team members as managers will benefit from using both the conflict-resolution and conflict-stimulation techniques in their workplaces.
In sum, the team members discussed strategies to help develop effective groups and teams. The team members also discussed strategies to resolve conflict within organizations. The discussion included topics with which the team members felt comfortable or struggled with and how the weekly topics applied to team members’ business field. This paper summarized Learning Team A’s discussions.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2011). Organizational Behavior (14th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.