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Critically evaluate the contribution of occupational psychology theories in the formation and management of innovative teams in contemporary organisations.
Occupational psychology is the study of human behaviour at work; it brings together the three main entities that are people, work and organisations. It aims to help an organisation enhance the performance of both their employers and employees by putting in place methods of selecting personnel, improving productivity, and coping with stress. This essay aims to assess how occupational psychology nowadays contributes to the formation and management of new teams within companies. To do so, we will elaborate on team dynamics within organisations, then focalise on motivation within these parties.
“Working effectively as part of a team is incredibly important for output quality, morale, and retention.”(Quora, 2013). It is irrevocably true that the good functioning of a company is mainly thanks to good teamwork, which allowed the work to become of a significant quality.
In contrast to a group, a formal team has a motivated and managed nature, a specific timescale, an allocation of roles and responsibilities, high independence as well as interaction, shared commitments and objectives, a strong motivation and clear leadership. In order to make all of this possible, the selection of team members is very specific and the management of the group must be proficient. There are several different stage models of group formation, but the best known is the theory put together by Tuckman (1965) that says that before a group can function effectively, it passes through a number of stages that are forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
The potential problems with this theory within groups and teams are group polarisation, shifts in member attitudes to more or less risky positions and social loafing, when an under-motivated person avoids individual responsibility and tries to avoid completing their tasks; and finally groupthinking, when strong group cohesiveness creates an extreme for of consensus and interferes with decision making.
Many researchers claim to have found alternative theories to Tuckman’s, like Cassidy who by looking up the group development from the perspective of practitioners innovated the notion of group development stages that are defined by concerns to be addressed (individual, group, purpose, work) rather than the behavioural outcomes Tuckman had put in place (Cassidy, 2007).
Others, like Rickards and Moger, believe that another alternative to Tuckman's model is creative leadership processes in project team development, claiming there are many gaps and unanswered
questions in Tuckman’s theories, such as “what mechanisms are at play when a team fails to achieve expected performance?” and “what mechanisms lead to outstanding performance?”, as well as no way of explaining what was regarded as outstanding creative performance (Rickards and Moger, 2000).
Meredith Belbin, on the other hand believes that a team should be put together for a specific purpose, which each team member should be chosen specifically to ensure that the correct balance of skill and behaviour is achieved. To Belbin, there are nine team roles, plant, resource investigator, coordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team-worker, implementor, completer/finisher, and a…