OB Formative Essay

Submitted By Yuehua-Kong
Words: 1703
Pages: 7

Part 1

In the recent years, teamwork has turned to be increasingly effective for organisations. According to Gordon(1992), in the report of companies with at least 100 employees, 82% of them complain that they use teams in organising work. However, in the case, Just Trying to Help, Kirby (2006) shows that there are still varieties of challenges on the way of managing and developing teamwork. This essay will attempt to address the issue by bring out suggestions and revaluating solutions to the problems in the case. First it will analyze the problem in details using the “input-process-output” model. Then three different solutions will be discussed, which would be effective to the issue.

Through the case, the author describes the challenges by showing the conflicts among an individual staff, a team and a top manager. The team, which was leaded by Charyl, was formed to implement a project very similar to the one Guy had carried out successfully before. But Guy was left out the team by the exclusion of the CMO, Ruth. (Kirby, 2006). According to the case, the main concern is around the team. Generally, teams should be a group of people who have interdependent roles and share same goals. Basing on teamwork, organizations can save time and develop more speedily with high quality, and integrate information in the way individuals cannot.(Cohen and Mohrman, 1995). And a wide-used framework for evaluating team performance, which also suits this situation well, is the “input-process-output” model. Essentially, it shows that the inputs(e.g. task and cultural context) have great effect on the output(effectiveness) of the organization. The effect acts both directly and indirectly, by affect team processes such as leadership and communication. With high level of input and process, there will be effective output, and vice versa. Thus, the main problem of the case led by this situation is about poor team forming, unmotivated culture and poor team leadership, while all of them can be analyzed through the “input-process-output” model.
Firstly, an obvious problem in the case is the poor team forming. Team forming should be carefully considered, for teamwork is the key point to operation. (Bischmann, 2006). According to this, people with different abilities and experiences need to be included in a team. But in this case, Guy was dropped out of a team, which is on a project that he has very similar experience of. It seems unbelievable that a new team chose all the none experienced members but left out the experienced one. The only explanation for this situation is that the manager, Ruth, did not put the member experience and skills into the factors of the selection. And the reason she did this is that she felt threatened by Charyl, the team leader, and intended to let the project fail. What she did directly lead to the poor quality of the team, which could make it hard for the team to succeed in the project.
Meanwhile, the culture that fails to motivate employees also matters. Culture context is part of the input, which can be easily related to team process and affect the output in both ways. However the culture of this organization caused the cutthroat competition in it, which set no motivation for employees to achieve the goals. It can be seen from the attitude of Charyl that she cared little about the goals and performance. Instead she put more effort on pleasing the manager, expect to take her place if she gets more power. Just like Kolind(2006) said, in the culture of which pleasing the manager matters more than achieving the goals, Charyl and her project team will never be motivated to make good use of Guy’s experience and hardly achieve the goal of the team.
Another problem is the poor leadership and poor communication of the team. Being the two main constitution of the “process”, leadership and communication has great and direct influence on the effectiveness of the team. Unfortunately, both of them turn out to be in poor conditions in