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Essay Sample: Working Groups and Teams

6 pages
1517 words
George Washington University
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A working group represents the cell organization and not an individual. Majority of the activities in an organization involve some degree of coordinating work of the working group. Teamwork refers to a group of people who work together to achieve a common goal. The important aspect of teamwork includes its impact on global competition through quality circles, the significance of total management teams, and the human factor in the success of implementation of the principles of total quality management. Individuals in a working group have a common task or goal, are aware of the group's identity and its delimitation and have set norms that exclusively govern their behavior (George, 1990). Organizations are managed and operated by strategy, proposed objectives declared in a mission, and teamwork has a crucial role in introducing continuous improvements in a business organization.

Working groups are a representation of all situations in the society, and an individual can be a member of one group or more. The working group and its influence on the group members give the core characteristics of the human behavior and the performance of an organization. Promoting team work and strengthening the culture of teamwork is a crucial way of organizing work that has proven to be efficient and productive in regards to the potential of the humans to recover an organization (Zaharia, Dogaru, & Boaja, 2014). Teamwork and workgroups promote division of labor both physically and intellectually, and this is an important principle for any individual who performs a given task or work. This gives rise to the aspect of specialization which is advantageous since it saves time, minimizes waste of materials during assimilation, and promotes quality improvement by enabling a high level of skills.

As a group, individuals have more power, and they can make proposal son significant objectives of the organization, and this reflects the essential advantage of the groups structure and or the management teams. In a team, the members of the working team influence each other in achieving a common goal. All teams in an organization are groups. However, not all working groups are teams. Members should assist each other to meet the organizations goal in order to translate from a group to a team.

Theories and Findings

Theorists distinguish groups and teams based on the organization behaviorists and social scientist. The group theory researchers and social scientist study teams to developed theories for defining effective practices. Understanding the theories on teamwork helps improve work management (Barker, 1993). The main elements studied include member actions, team environment, team communication techniques, teamwork assignment and the roles and traits of the team members. In-depth studies also touches on the reward systems used by the employers. Teams are set formally, and they have a clear focus on the task. The theory of Tuckman applies to both teams and groups. Tuckman developed a framework for group development, and his theory focuses on two perspectives (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson & Jundt, 2005). Group task activities and interpersonal group activities. The following progress in interpersonal activities includes, dependence and testing, conflicts that are intragroup, group cohesion development, relatedness of functional roles while in group task activities, they include, task orientation, emotional response to the demand of the task, exchange of interpretations that are relevant and the emergence of solutions.

Tuckman and Mary Ann Jensen developed this four stepped group model theory by studying previous paper on group development. These stages include forming, storming, norming and performing. He added a fifth stage to his model known as adjourning.

Gersick presented a theory on what had an impact on the pace the work groups use to accomplish their task. According to his Punctuated- equilibrium model, a group has a dramatic change in the work pace almost at the midpoint. Research studies that have been done indicate that within-team interdependence is a moderator between the performance of an organization and team mechanisms. Groups and teams can be disbanded due to various reasons such as interpersonal tension, loss of interest among a member and task failure.

Implication for Management Practice

Management is an art that involves generating a mood that involves accepting the problems in an organization and making progress beyond the individual issues that may pose as a hindrance to him. Managers put a lot of effort in achieving equilibrium in an organization. The role of the managers in an organization is to direct the work of the teams, to define their purpose and to provide functional resources to the working groups and teams (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown & Colbert, 2007).

The performance of work groups and the team is essential in the growth and survival of the company. In the event that the team members do not need to work together depending on the goal, the task and the rewards then the team requires little communication for the firm to be successful. Sometimes, the team members need to depend on each other to accomplish the work then communication and cohesion should be the fundamental mechanisms for achieving high performance. Before allocating resources to a team or a workgroup to increase communication and cohesion, the appraisal of the interdependence level among the team members should be put into consideration (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown & Colbert, 2007). A successful management team will incorporate members who exhibit a high level of interdependence. Additionally, working groups show low interdependence, but they are still useful in improving organizational performance. The organizations managers should consider factors such as leadership style, the characteristic of the industry and the firm when considering the connection between team mechanism and team interdependence. When working in groups, conflicts can arise since people work at an interpersonal level. Hence, attempts to manage this conflicts ought to be made. Preemptive conflict management can be employed to solve these conflicts before they occur by establishing conditions for controlling and preventing, additionally, reactive conflict management can help solve conflicts by working through interpersonal disagreements and tasks among the team members.

Team members are bound to emotions in their journey of accomplishing their mission including excitement, frustration, and social cohesion. The affect management plays a big role in regulating these emotions. Techniques that can assist in regulating these emotions include calming the members down, controlling the levels of frustrations, boosting cohesiveness among the team members and boosting the morale of the team (Marks, Mathieu & Zaccaro, 2001). The affect management can also consider implementing some form of team activities such as relaxing, complaining and joking as a way of building cohesion, breaking the tension and managing stressful situations. However, care should be taken since this activity can result in increased negative effect and performance problems if they are managed ineffectively (Marks, Mathieu & Zaccaro, 2001).

Reasons for studying work groups and teams.

Teams and workgroups exist in our organizations, and they have occupied the intersection of multilevel perspective. As a result, the gap existing between an individual and the organization has been bridged. They have become a focal point which challenges us to come up with new theories, methodologies, measurement tools and new applications. The study of work groups and teams created opportunities for theoretical innovation.

A group or a team work together to accomplish a given goal or task. Therefore, it is essential that their behavior is studied first. The manager who is leading the group should consider the character of the individual member of the group or the team. The needs, motivations, and perception of an individual are absorbed, and the group gets its norms that are acceptable and should be followed by every member as long as they are members of the team (Zaharia, Dogaru, & Boaja, 2014).


Teams and groups are complex and adaptive systems embedded in an organization and perform tasks over time. An organization does not always require a real top team to better the organizational performance, instead, relying on team mechanisms, for example, cohesion and communication among the members impede the performance of an organization. It is important that team interdependence becomes a moderator that links performance and team mechanisms. Teams and workgroups are not static, and they evolve. Hence, the time has been recognized in team development models. To understand their effectiveness, we have to pay attention to all the processes unfolding to yield ist.



Zaharia, V. V., Dogaru, M. M., & Boaja, D. M. (2014). Working group versus team work. Knowledge Horizons. Economics, 6(4), 146.

Alexander, L., & Van Knippenberg, D. (2014). Teams in pursuit of radical innovation: A goal orientation perspective. Academy of Management Review, 39(4), 423-438.

Barker, J. R. (2005). Tightening the iron cage: concertive control in self-managing teams. Critical Management Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 209-243.

Barrick, M. R., Bradley, B. H., Kristof-Brown, A. L., & Colbert, A. E. (2007). The moderating role of top management team interdependence: Implications for real teams and working groups. Academy of Management Journal, 50(3), 544-557.

George, J. M. (1990). Personality, affect, and behavior in groups. Journal of applied psychology, 75(2), 107.

Ilgen, D. R., Hollenbeck, J. R., Johnson, M., & Jundt, D. (2005). Teams in organizations: From input-process-output models to IMOI models. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 56, 517-543.

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.


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