Short Fused Teams Essay

Submitted By js421
Words: 2466
Pages: 10

Obstacles Facing Short-Fused Teams

Obstacles Facing Short-Fused Teams Organizations are consistently relying on the formation and implementation of short- fused teams to accomplish specific goals in an effective and efficient manner. However, these teams are often created in an abrupt fashion and face lofty expectations in spite of a drastically low amount of previous interaction and uniquely defined goals from within the group dynamic. These obstacles are exacerbated by the overarching time constraints that are placed on these teams, especially when the issue is complex and its optimal resolution uncertain. More specifically managers are tasked with “creating a climate that supports these teams” that allows them to coexist and accomplish the purpose of their formation (Doolen, 285). However, social and professional conflict may hinder production and can prove difficult to effectively manage. Furthermore, outside circumstances such as time and resources, may exacerbate the issue. These obstacles, albeit not comprehensive, consist of role ambiguity, conflicting interests, resistance to change, and lack of cohesion and its effect on the difficulty of information sharing (Chan, 2008).
Role Ambiguity In forming teams, organizations often form new positions and responsibilities previously non-existent within the current design. This creates a level of uncertainty surrounding these unknown responsibilities and expectations and, as a result, can increase the level of stress the individual members of the team will face and can negatively impact both job-satisfaction and performance (Bottita, 2003). Furthermore, team members are likely new to one another and these new and uncertain responsibilities strain an already delicate socialization process (Kozlowski, 2001). The existence of clear roles helps short-fused teams in a number of different ways. Clearly defined roles “enable comfortable, confident, and effective discussion” between the members of the team (Sakires, 618). Instead of leaving the job of deciphering and role dictation up to the newly created team members are able to focus on the task at hand rather than the political and social stigma that comes with the uncertainty of undefined roles. Establishing clear and understandable roles then “becomes critical” to a team’s founding and progression through the given task (Bottitta, 361). This helps eliminate an impactful source of social tension from a group that is already relatively unfamiliar and uncomfortable with one another. Allowing team members to come in knowing their specific place in the dynamic leaves fewer questions from members and allows them to work through the natural progression of obstacles faster. However, an organization must be careful to not overly define these roles. In a group with as delicate of a social construct as a short-fused organizational group, overly defined goals can mechanize the team dynamic causing members to rigidly follow their defined position; no more and no less (Bolman and Deal 1997).
Resistance To Change Even if the team has a clearly defined role and purpose they will undoubtedly be met with additional forms of resistance. Many, if not all of these members will be pulled from already existing teams. These tenured teams will have their own established roles, processes, and goals. In an organizational setting, the “longer a group has existed, the greater the group’s resistance to change” (Bottitta, 359). If a group is formed with these underlying issues they are more likely to face conflict, form factions, and withhold information from those they are not familiar (Bottitta, 2003). Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable concept while forming short-fused groups. Unless every single member of the team is brought in as an outside hire it is going to be almost impossible to overcome the natural disconnect that occurs. This is compounded by many of the other issues that newly formed…