UNDERSTANDING WORK TEAMS
The case: Wes -Tex Printing in Texas
Problem: want to reduce seven days time on delivery of business cards. There was frustration (130 workers). Decided to Use Teams They work on each step of the productions process: Started at loading dock where business cards will be picked up at 6:00PM to be shipped to printing shops around the country.
Traced back every step back to the time that orders arrived in the mail. They made analysis. Conclusion: that with a number of changes repeat orders could be done in two days and all orders in four days. This is a success Then the team recommended that another team be set up to improve the work flow. This new team did an experiment.
Three workers from different but related
departments worked jointly to improve the work flow. Orders that sit in baskets going back and forth between departments for changes or fixes were acted upon immediately. Result: significant improvement teams are increasingly becoming the primary means for organizing work in contemporary business firms. Teams outperform individuals when
the tasks being done require multiple skills, judgment, and experience. It is a way to use employees talents better. What is the difference between Teams and Groups? A group-two or more individuals interacting and interdependent who have come together to achieve particular objectives. It is a group that interacts primarily to share information and to make decisions to help each member perform within his/her area of responsibility.
Work groups have no need to engage in collective work that requires joint effort. So their performance is merely the summation of each group member's individual contribution. There is no positive Synergy that would create an overall level of performance that is greater than the sum of the inputs. A work team generates positive synergy through coordinated effort. Their individual efforts results in a level of performance than the sum of those individual inputs. The extensive use of teams created the potential for an
organization to generate greater outputs. Type of Teams 1. Problem Solving Teams members share ideas, after suggestions on how work process can be improved. But often times these teams are not given the authority to implement their suggested actions. They meet regularly Discuss problems Investigate the cause Recommend solutions
Take corrective actions 2. Self Managed Work Teams 1. 10 – 15 in number 2. Perform highly related jobs such as Planning Scheduling of work Assigning tasks to members Collective control over pace of work Making operating decisions Working with suppliers and customers
A case: Self-Managed Teams at Eaton Corporation. Located at Arkansas, USA; makes hydraulic hose in heavy requirements like trucks 1994 – restructured assembly lines to improve quality and productivity. Organized the 285 workers to more than 50 self- managed teams. – Free to participate in decisions that used to be done only by the management
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Teams set their own schedule Selected new members Negotiated with suppliers Made calls on customers Disciplined members who created problems Results: 1. response time to customer concerns improved 99% 2. Productivity increased 50%
However some organizations have been discouraged about the result: 1. They don’t seem to work well during downsizing. 2. Research results have not been all positive. - there have been higher absenteeism and turnover - effectiveness of self managed teams are situationally dependent. - factors that can influence how well the team performs are downsizing, strength and make
up of team norm, type of tasks they undertake, reward structure. Finally research showed that selfmanaged teams did not work well in Mexico due to the culture’s strong respect for hierarchical authority. 3. Cross-Functional Teams made up of same hierarchical level, but from different work areas who come together to accomplish a task. committees from different dept are also example of cross-functional teams.
Example: IBM in June 2000 pulled together 21 employees from its 100,000 IT staff to come up with recommendations on how the company can speed up projects and bring product to market faster. The 21 members were selected because they have one common characteristic they had all led fast moving projects successfully. They are called the SPEED Team. In this new team, they spent eight months sharing experiences, examining differences between fast moving projects
and slow moving ones and generated recommendations on how to speed up IBM projects. This is an effective means of allowing people to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, coordinate complex projects. It is not easy to form this team. The early stage of its development is often very time consuming. It takes time to build trust and teamwork especially among people from product to market faster. The 21 members were selected because they have one common characteristic they
had all led fast moving projects successfully. They are called the SPEED Team. In this new team, they spent eight months sharing experiences, examining differences between fast moving projects and slow moving ones and generated recommendations on how to speed up IBM projects. This is an effective means of allowing people to exchange information, develop new ideas, solve problems, coordinate complex projects. It is not easy to form this team. The early stage of its development is often very time consuming. It takes time to build
trust and teamwork especially among people from different backgrounds with different experiences and perspective. 4. Virtual Teams-use computer Technology to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. Disadvantage: 1. Absence of non-verbal cues 2. Limited Social Context Example BERI Fone-a California based maker of swipe machines that read
credit use virtual teams; allows its 3,000 employees who are located all around the globe to work together. Four general categories in making up effective teams • work design: freedom, opportunity to use skills • composition: ability and personality • Context: adequate resources, trust, reward • Process: commit of each member; conflict management
Team fit well with countries that score high on collectivism. As one writer describes the role of teams in the United states: “Americans don’t grow up learning how to function in teams. In school we never receive a team report card or learn the names of the team of sailors who traveled with Clumbus to America” This limitation could also be true of Canadians, British, Australians, and others from individualistic societies.
On the other hand, the challenge for management is less demanding when teams are introduced where employees have strong collective values such as in Japan or Mexico. This can also work in new organizations that use teams as their initial form for structuring work, Example: Saturn Corporation is an American organization owned by General Motors. The company was designed around teams from its beginning. Everyone was hired with the knowledge that they would be working in teams.
The ability to be a good team player was a basic hiring qualification. Shaping Team Players 1. Selection - with skill - with team work spirit 2. Management Can: 1. Provide training: workshops on problem solving; communication; negotiation, conflict management and coaching skills. Also the importance of patience
Rewards system needs to encourage cooperative rather than competitive ones. Ex: Hallmark cards, Inc. added annual bonus based on achievement of team to its basic individual incentive system. Conclusion: Team work requires the members to: 1. Cooperate with others 2. Share information 3. Confront differences 4. Sublimate personal interests for the greater good of the team
The work should provide: 1. Freedom 2. Opportunity to use different skills and talents 3. Ability to complete a whole task The team requires members with 1. Technical expertise 2. Problem solving skills 3. Decision making skills 4. Interpersonal skills
Also personality characteristics: 1. Extroversion 2. Agreebleness
4. Conscientiousness 5. Emotional stability
6. Flexibility 7. Trusting