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Team Building Analysis

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One of the central topics in social psychology is the study of groups.  Teams are groups with a shared vision.  As a matter of fact, team building or the creation of teams with a shared vision is recognized as an effective way of increasing productivity as well as employee motivation in today’s organization.  Based on Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation, all individuals must have a sense of belongingness before they can reach their highest potential as some of the most productive team members of the organization as a whole.  The task-specific team also recognizes the most important members of the team, i.e. the leader(s) of the team.  Besides, effective teams follow principles to pass challenges.  This allows team members to have a framework by which they can adopt or discard extraneous messages about the functioning of the team.


A team consists of a group of people with “shared vision, role clarity-acceptance, strong leadership, individual/team accountability, team identity, and open/honest communication” (Voight and Callaghan, 2001, 1).  Sports teams are highly popular in our culture and are especially known for their solidarity.  Another extremely useful application of team psychology relates to the organization of today.  Research indicates that teams are increasingly becomingnessential parts of contemporary organizations, where teams are nowadays required in the quest to grow swiftly and yet remain flexible.  Teams are not only studied by social psychologists and those in the field of organizational behavior, but also by management educators who believe that students must be allowed valuable experience in team environments before they embark on their organizational careers within other team situations.  Among researchers – in all fields that require the study of teams – there are various debates about the effectiveness of teams.  As an example, certain studies have shown that diversity has a positive impact on team functioning; while others have suggested that homogeneity is the key to better performance in teams.  Researchers have also shown particular interest in the age groups, levels of education, gender, race, and nationality of team members.  Still others have focused on the kinds of tasks that teams are most effective at performing (Chowdhury et al., 2002, 1).

     While research goes on to discover more about teams, one fact is certain: team building is acknowledged as a highly useful science in the organizational behavior discipline as well as applied social psychology.  In the organization, effective team building helps human resource managers to identify a team’s strengths and weaknesses, increase productivity in addition to efficiency, improve the interaction of team members, reduce stress levels in the workplace, and also to develop healthy inter-group relations (Team Building Ideas).  As a matter of fact, team building as a science is an ongoing process helping to evolve a group into a cohesive unit.  Team members share expectations for completing group tasks.  Moreover, they trust and support one another and respect the individual differences within the group (Guide, 1996).

     A team builder is one who leads the team toward unity and productivity.  Thus, the team takes on a life of its own.  Yet the team builder – with the guidance and assistance of the human resource department – must frequently nurture and maintain the team just as he would individual employees.  In the case of the individual employees, unity is needed among their work plans in their organization and the organizational goals.  In the case of the team, however, the team builder would unite employees around a mutual team goal and generate greater productivity for the organization (Guide).  Hence, teams represent a saving of precious resources of the organization, seeing that it is more cost-efficient to spend time and effort teaching and guiding groups of people instead of individual workers.

     In this research paper, we will focus mainly on organizational teams, seeing that this area of organizational behavior is an offshoot of applied social psychology and one of the most significantly studied application of teams in our day.  While teams are known to be of tremendous importance to technology experts, chiropractors, as well as homemakers and all others, it is the organization we are most interested in because research in this area is building continuously.  Besides, the basics of team building in the organization apply to all other teams to boot.

All individuals working together to meet an objective are a part of a team, and must be able to work together most effectively.  If they do not fulfill their individual parts of expectations in relation to their teams, they would be better off working by themselves.  All the same, organizations are made up of people that must work together effectively, whether they call themselves individualists or collectivists.  Moreover, in order to be a successful part of a team, an individual has to make adjustments in his or her attitudes (whether or not these are prejudices) toward other members of the team in addition to the team as a whole.

     Teams contribute to the overall success of organizations in which they function.  In these teams, fellow members of the organization get together to produce the results expected of them by the organization.  Although each individual has a particular job function in a specific department, the team unifies all that are identified for working together to accomplish the overall objectives of the organization.  It is the bigger picture driving the actions of the team.  All individuals with their specific job functions in the organization were serving the bigger picture anyway (Heathfield, 2007).  The team only increases their motivation levels, often to the peak.

This is because a sense of belongingness is crucial before an individual, a team, or the organization as a whole can hope to reach the highest potential.  This concept is understood to be based on Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation.

     Human resource managers, also assigned the task of team building, must differentiate between the overall sense of teamwork and effective intact teams that are formed to accomplish a particular goal (Heathfield).  The overall sense of teamwork should be a characteristic of the entire organization.  Within this organization, there are other teams working on specific tasks, for example, on application software development.

     Given that organizations, in any case, are a group effort, all employees may be considered a part of a single team.  All the same, task-specific teams are becoming highly popular in the organization.  Additionally, individuals in task-specific teams are known to have higher motivation levels because their sense of belongingness feels complete.

     Team building, as a science covered by applied social psychology and organizational behavior, is known to work best when certain conditions are met.  These conditions include a high level of interdependence among team members; good leadership and people skills on the part of the team leader, who is committed to developing a team approach and allocates time to team building activities; the suitability of chosen team members for the job; a climate in which people feel relaxed and are able to be honest; mutual trust among team members and the belief on the part of each individual on the team that all of his team members are skilled and capable; risk taking behavior on the part of the team and its individual members; the establishment of important, achievable goals and clear performance targets causing stretching on the part of team members; defined team member roles; the ability and skill of each team member to know how to examine team and individual errors and weaknesses without the need for personal attacks; devotion on the part of team members to achieve the required results; the capacity to create new ideas through group interaction and the influence of outside people such as customers; and the knowledge that each member of the team can influence the team agenda (Bateman, 1990).

     It is believed that human resource managers must start off teams whenever the organization observes decreased productivity; conflicts among staff members; confusion about assignments; decisions that are misunderstood; apathy and lack of motivation and involvement; lack of creativity; complaints of discrimination; ineffective staff meetings, low participation, and minimally effective decisions; negative reactions to the manager; and complaints about quality service (Guide).  On the other hand, in organizations that already employ teams to solve particular problems or reach important goals, team building is made easier when all members of the team agree on working together on a task of mutual importance.  This means that all team members would also be willing to contribute their technical knowledge, skills, capabilities, and strengths in helping to solve the problem, complete the project, or simply to develop new programs.  Members of cohesive teams facilitate team building by evaluating their working relationship as a team.  Furthermore, team members must be prepared to develop and articulate guidelines that would lead to increased productivity as well as greater cooperation among team members (Bateman).

     Team members additionally learn to manage conflict as a group, and to provide feedback and support that would encourage each member to meet his or her commitments to the team and the organization as a whole.  The following are some guidelines for team effectiveness: (1) Team goals must be developed through a group process whereby each team member interacts with his fellow members to agree on a plan of action; (2) Participation is essential as each team member shares his role with others in order to facilitate the achievement of goals and continue fostering the feelings of group cohesiveness; (3) Feedback is requested of all members who may only offer constructive criticism to their fellow team members; (4) Team decision making encourages active participation by all members instead of the team leader and builder making decisions for the whole team; (5) Leadership, too, is distributed among team members and individuals who willingly contribute their resources as required; (6) Problem solving, team issues, and the critiquing of team effectiveness are the responsibility of all team members altogether; (7) Conflict is suppressed and negative feelings are encouraged only when there is no personal attack from one team member over the rest; (8) The resources of the team members, for example, talents, skills, knowledge, and experiences are fully recognized and therefore utilized appropriately; and (9) Risk taking and creativity are encouraged and mistakes are treated as a source of learning (Bateman; See Table 1, a list of questions that any team may use to get invaluable feedback on team effectiveness and individual team member performance).

Table 1 

Evaluate Your Team Development

Rating Team Development

How do you feel about your team’s progress? (Circle rating).

1. Team’s purpose
—– I’m uncertain—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– I’m clear
2. Team membership  
—– I’m out—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– I’m in
3. Communications  
—– Very guarded—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Very open
4. Team goals  
—– Set from above—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Emerged through team interaction
5. Use of team member’s skills  
—– Poor use—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Good use
6. Support  
—– Little help for individuals—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– High level of support for individuals
7. Conflict  
—– Difficult issues are avoided—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Problems are discussed openly and directly
8. Influence on decisions  
—– By few members—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– By all members
9. Risk taking  
—– Not encouraged—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Encouraged and supported
10. Working on relationships with others  
—– Little effort—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– High level of effort
11. Distribution of leadership  
—– Limited—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Shared
12. Useful feedback  
—– Very little—– 1 2 3 4 5 —– Considerable


Team building is the life and blood of today’s organization raised on the concept of industry averages and competitive advantage.  All technology is welcome in our day.  And, fortunately, all things that are new to try out in the organizational context, are wholeheartedly welcomed too.  So, even though there are organizations that do not believe in any team apart from the one which all employees belong to – the social science discipline of organizational behavior, an offshoot of applied social psychology, has made it abundantly clear that teams are basically good for business.  The most important condition for team members to meet appears to be the awareness of the issues at hand, and effective dealings with the people.

     The organizational analogy with respect to teams may, of course, be applied to all educational and professional teams in general.  In point of fact, the organizational principles of team building are true for all teams, including the team made up of the family at home.  Educational psychologists are studying the role of team building in developing children’s self-confidence, earning self-esteem, acquiring leadership skills, and adventure and character education (Toupence, 2006).  At the same time, physical educators are interested in studying team building with reference to students’ physical activity, physical activity motivation, physical self-perceptions, as well as increasing attention to physical activity (Socha et al., 2003).  There truly is no dearth of literature on team building.  The reason why team building is studied in all kinds of situations is that teams with shared goals are usually more effective at meeting goals than are individuals by themselves.  Hence, any organized group of people would be better off as a team with a sense of solidarity.


  1. Bateman, Arnold. (1990, June). Team Building: Developing A Productive Team. Retrieved from http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/misc/cc352.htm. (26 February 2007).
  1. Chowdhury, Sanjib, Megan Endres, and Thomas W. Lanis. (2002). Preparing Students for Success in Team Work Environments: The Importance of Building Confidence. Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 14.
  1. Darling, John R. (1990). Team Building in the Small Business Firm. Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 28.
  1. Guide to Managing Human Resources. (1996). Berkeley Office of Human Resources. Retrieved from http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/guide/teams.htm. (26 February 2007).
  1. Healthfield, Susan M. (2007). Twelve Tips for Team Building: How to Build Successful Work Teams. About: Human Resources. Retrieved from http://humanresources.about.com/od/involvementteams/a/twelve_tip_team.htm. (26 February 2007).

Socha, Teresa L., Tom G. Potter, and Peggy J. Downey. (2003). The effect of team building on the physical self-concept of grade 9 physical education students. The Journal of Experiential Education.

  1. Team Building Ideas. Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.humanresourcemanagement.co.uk. (26 February 2007).
  1. Toupence, Rachelle. (2006). Essentials of Team Building: Principles and Practices. The Journal of Experiential Education.
  1. Voight, Mike, and John Callaghan. (2001). A Team Building Intervention Program: Application and Evaluation with Two University Soccer Teams. Journal of Sport Behavior, Vol. 24.

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