What are the challenges that teamwork faces? What are the merits and demerits of teamwork? Group dynamics often refers to the study of groups. It also refers to the group processes. Teamwork is a term that means people working together for a particular end. Teamwork is very vital in all organizations that collaborate skills to make one complex whole. It leads to improved creativity, innovation, easies communication and helps to upgrade the quality of the products. My main focus in this essay will be to discuss in detail the challenges that teamwork face, its advantages and disadvantages, and how a particular topic can affect teamwork.
Challenges facing teamwork
There are several obstacles that teamwork face in the course of their work and one of these is conflict management. So long as organizations employ different people from different backgrounds some disagreements must arise as each one of them has their own opinions. (Bandaly L., 1996). Each person has specific skills that are needed and has a particular way of dealing with the issues at hand. Therefore, wherever people who have different priorities, team-playing styles, and negative past experiences meet, conflicts are bounds to result.
The only way of solving this problem is to have an open mind, listening to the views of others, and solving their differences amicably to reach a consensus.
Another barrier is a lack of openness and trust. Whenever people are working as a team, members do not feel free to express their opinions and they also refuse to share their expertise with others. Members who in the past have conflicted do not trust one another again and this applies to new people members in an organization for it is hard to trust a person you have met for the first time.
Another challenge is communication barriers. This happens when different groups with particular skills fail to recognize the work of another group. It also happens when there is no single language that is used to communicate. Communication barrier also results when members who perform different roles possess (Team Working Together) different work orientations. This can also happen if members in different groups work harder than others to increase their productivity. Meeting management is also another challenge that teamwork face. When people with different priorities and views meet, they take a lot of time before they could agree on a simple issue.
Advantages of Teamwork
There are various benefits of working as a team. When people work as a team, they become more creative innovative, and very decisive. They end up sharpening each other in some areas. For example in marketing one influential person can make another person come up with a new way of solving related problems. Teamwork enhances or promotes quality decisions for example when people who have different work orientations sit together, they give various alternatives that are useful in solving problems. This also leads to global competitiveness as the quality of the products increase. This is so because different teams have diverse skills that offset those of an individual. (Team Processes)
Teamwork eases communication. This is based on the understanding that many organizations are hierarchically structured. Thus information easily trickles from top to bottom. Teamwork can lead also to increased productivity, improved quality of the products, accountability in the part one plays, and timeliness of the decisions but this cannot happen if one individual is expected to perform all these roles. Teamwork can influence the employee’s morale if one is witnessing the products of their hard work; he/she can get motivated and even become more committed to the work.
When members are working as a team each member makes sure that he plays his part to his level best to increase productivity. For example, in Monsanto, the quality and the level of production rose by 47% within four years because of members working as a team. Therefore, when members work as a team, they achieve much in terms of productivity. They enlightening one another, motivate one and the communication between members also increase due to the hierarchical arrangement of these organizations. (Group Dynamics., 2001)
However, there are shortcomings of members working as a team. Group thinking might result whereby one member bulldozes his ideas on others. This makes other members reluctantly agree with the decisions made. This takes place when other members are denied a chance to express their concerns. Another problem of working as a team is social lofting or a situation whereby some members do more work than others. This is dependent on work ethics and styles. (Teams in the Work Place)
Another demerit of teamwork is that one person may have outstanding skills which if taught to others, the level of productivity would increase but this does not take place as everything is jointly done. When individuals make a company’s decisions, a lot of time is saved unlike when teams are entrusted with the role of decision-making (Harrington M., 1994. This is in adherence with the principle of divide and rule. When few individuals pass decisions, a lot of time is saved thus avoiding unnecessary delays.
Teams comprise of members who have different work orientations and different backgrounds in terms of cultural beliefs language and values. Thus, when it comes to decision-making reaching a consensus almost becomes next to impossible. It takes a lot of time to make all these parties come to a mutual agreement. That is why it is said that a homogeneous group is capable of making a decision faster than a heterogeneous group. (Teams in the Work Place)
In the wake of the debates on comparative advantage, it is good to know what sort of a person you are dealing with. People differ in skills, understanding, and openness and thus it is important to look for a reliable person who can help an organization to achieve its set goals. A company should only look for self-starters or people who do not need to be followed to work. These people should also be good at communicating. They should be able to deliver, express themselves, understand others and be flexible with the changing nature of technology. (Teams Working Together) When people accumulate skills in a particular field, the level of productivity goes up and people become motivated because they do what they know best.
Teamwork as we have seen is of key importance in all organizations. No organization can prosper if members are not united. Some challenges hamper organizations from developing such as group thinking, difficulty in making decisions, diversity of team members, and the degree to which they collaborate. Teamwork leads to global competitiveness but some demerits are attributed to teamwork such as lack of timeliness, social loafing, and group thinking but these cannot in any way out weigh the merits of teamwork.
Bandaly L., 1996. Games Play: Dynamic Activities For Tapping Work Team Potential. New York: The Mc Graw –Hill Companies.
Harrington M., 1994. Let’s meet: Team Meetings In The Team Building Tool kit. Amacom.
Teams in the Work Place. 2001. Mc Graw-Hill. Web.
Team Processes: Developing Synergistic Team Relations. Web.
The Team Working Together. Web.
Group Dynamics. 2001. Team dynamics. McGraw-Hill Companies. Web.