Theory holds that working together brings better results than working alone. Team structures often account for organizational success in the contemporary corporate environment. Modern organizations favor team structures and teamwork viewing them as key elements for organizational success.
This paper identifies and explains the basic attributes of a team structure (common vision and mission, defined roles or functions, complementary skills, equal effort, synergy and equal responsibility), which along with the advanced attributes (team leadership, mutual performance monitoring, backup behavior, adaptability and team orientation) facilitate team effectiveness. The paper analyzes also the cognitive aspects involved in team structures identifying interpersonal conflict, open conflict, team diversity, and trust as the cognitive barriers that the organization should overcome in order to avoid as ineffective teamwork and/or failure of a team structure.
Keywords: effective teamwork, synergy, interpersonal conflict, adaptability, trust
[...] Team diversity is important in relation to team effectiveness considering that a team structure necessitates coordination of activities between the team members as to meet the team goals. Within this context, agreement-seeking is associated with team and organizational harmony and it is particularly effective when the team members have similar incentives and/or mutual interests to reach consensus. Team-based organizations need to determine not only the best individual for a certain assignment but, most importantly, the best mixture of individuals, who would form a team, based on their diverse characteristics. [...]
[...] Social psychology studies have acknowledged the Five” elements of teamwork, which contribute to team effectiveness regardless of the task a team has to perform (Kay, Maisonneuve, Yacef, & Reimann, 2006). Team Leadership: as already explained, in a team structure the team members communicate between them directly as well as with the team leader. In order to ensure team effectiveness, the team leader is expected to create synergy within the team, to understand the individual behaviors of team members, to direct and coordinate all team members' activities, to assess team performance, to assign tasks, to plan and organize, to motivate team members, and to establish a supportive climate. [...]
[...] In team structures, substantive conflict can be very productive as it evokes the ability to resolve an issue with creativity. The exchange of different or even opposite opinions is not necessarily negative as it provides alternative suggestions to resolve an issue. In that sense, open conflict is not necessarily negative provided that team members argue without destroying the ability to work together. In contrast, personalized conflict is always negative as it involves emotionality and distorts the perceptions about another team member's personality and character. [...]
[...] Team attributes Team structures differ significantly from any kind of work group not only because they have a flat structure but mainly because they encompass the elements of conflict, diversity, skill complementarity, mutual respect and mutual accountability. All these attributes characterize a team structure and influence team effectiveness. For the scope of this paper, team attributes are classified into basic and advanced. The criterion of this classification is the fundamental importance to team effectiveness. The basic attributes should, by all means, characterize a team structure in order to ensure that the team will meet its goals effectively. Moreover, the advanced team attributes enhance even further the team value. [...]
[...] In both cases though, the bad coordination or the total absence of any of the basic or advanced attributes might be is fundamentally vital to team effectiveness. Basic attributes Common vision and mission: a team always shares a common vision. Top management and workforce are a broader organizational team, which works together towards the achievement of organizational goals. Within the different business units of the organization there are smaller team structures that have a common purpose, which when met –contributes to the organizational vision. [...]
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