Problem and Related Research
Team cohesion is associated with the ability of team members to effectively communicate and collaborate with each other. A team is cohesive when all of its members understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as make efforts to achieve a common goal. The problem of achieving team cohesion is a major challenge for many managers and organizations, as teamwork is often the backbone of work processes. The effective implementation of solutions to promote team cohesion is necessary, as well as tools for measuring progress.
Cohesion Defined, Cost and Consequences
Cohesiveness is if vital in organizing a productive workflow and providing job engagement. The concept can be defined as “team members’ shared commitment or attraction to their task/goal and to one another” (Baun et al., 2020, p. 4). The cost of lack of cohesion for a company is extremely high, as it affects overall productivity and employee satisfaction. In contrast, ensuring cohesiveness in the team while adopting certain strategies is beneficial in the long term. The consequence of cohesion achievements includes improved communication among team members, which also has a positive impact on productivity. Being in an environment where all members of the group share the same values, views and strive for a common goal contribute to creating a comfortable atmosphere. Additionally, more cohesive teams demonstrate higher commitment and work engagement, which provide personal success and satisfaction.
Factors Contributing to Team Cohesion
The establishment of team cohesion is influenced by several factors, which together provide job engagement. The most significant aspect is the time the team members spent together on work tasks. Long-term interaction allows people to get to know each other, identify common interests, and build trust. The size of the group is also an important factor since smaller groups suggest closer communication and a lack of alternatives in choosing work partners. Additionally, it is important for team members to have similar values and views with both colleagues and the leader. An important factor is also the extent to which team members are independent as individuals. Groups with a high level of individual independence are less cohesive, which justifies the need for competent management.
A survey was conducted within the company aimed at identifying the main factors influencing the establishment of team cohesion. To provide quantitative data, participants were asked to rate the importance of each aspect on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is less important for team cohesion and 5 is more important. Six people participated in the survey, based on their answers, the total number was deduced representing the importance of a certain concept. According to the participants, the most important for building team cohesion are a strong culture of inclusion and hiring practices to ensure team players (rating 4.7). Leadership supporting diversity was rated as the second most significant factor (rating 4.3). Strong company mission, strong understanding of team goals, and giving sufficient time to brainstorm and build rapport were rated as less important (rating 4.2). The least significant factor is resources that allow for teamwork (rating 3.5).
Proposed Solutions to Team Cohesion
To create team cohesion, first of all, it is necessary to ensure the collaboration of team members. To create team cohesion, first of all, it is necessary to ensure the collaboration of team members. The manager needs to establish a common goal that is important to all members, and take into account the values and interests of employees. The formation of teams should be based on the desire to avoid conflict situations within the team. Therefore it is crucial to treat all participants equally and select team members taking into account the goals and interests of employees. The negative impact on the establishment of cohesion has a focus solely on skills related to work tasks, lack of communication, and highly competitive teams. Thus, management needs to establish shared values and goals for the team, and support each group member.
Additional important aspects of a cohesion promotion strategy are receiving and analyzing feedback. Based on employee feedback, the manager can identify problematic aspects and problems in his model, as well as modernize the strategy. Achieving a common goal is the result of the efforts of the entire team, so success must be celebrated. It is important to pay close attention to the emotional reward of team members, as this will increase not only individual job satisfaction but also the bonds between team members. Moreover, a collaboration between teams is also key, as members of different teams can compare their results and share experiences. Finally, it is necessary to stimulate the development of communication skills among employees, as well as to motivate them for team activity.
Implementation of Solution
Implementation of the proposed methods is possible through the training of employees and management, as well as constant monitoring of progress. First of all, it is necessary to create a hiring model that would determine what qualities should be present in a potential employee in order to form a better team. When working with an existing team, it is necessary to conduct team-building games, as well as leadership and engagement activities. Managers also need to emphasize and promote inclusiveness among team members. Conflict situations need to be resolved immediately and it is also sometimes necessary to delegate responsibility to maintain commitment. Periodic feedback should be mandatory for all team members to correct the strategy in a timely and relevant manner.
Measuring progress towards establishing team cohesion is challenging, but possible in many ways. First of all, self-reporting can be used to monitor the effectiveness of the implemented solution. This technique will allow employees to communicate how a particular strategy has had a positive or negative impact on team cohesion. However, McClurge et al. (2017) note that this task can be difficult for large organizations as it takes much time and effort to analyze. In the case of using self-reporting, it is also necessary to establish specific measurements aimed at reviewing certain elements of the applied strategy. Moreover, Hill, Offermann & Thomas (2018) emphasize that it is more important to evaluate performance behaviors than task outcomes. This assumption is explained by the fact that not only team cohesion, but also other factors affect the successful completion of work tasks.
Cohesion takes a long time to develop, so evaluating results is a long-term process. Thus, it is important to modernize and adapt the assessment criteria depending on the lifespan of the team. Cohesion is a multi-level process, therefore it is important to evaluate not only organizational performance but also individual progress. In order to accomplish this, managers need to conduct conversations with employees to explore their dynamics. In particular, it is necessary to take into account the events that occur within the team, as they can influence the outcomes. Thus, the manager needs to maintain a fairly close relationship with each member of the team.
Team cohesion has a significant impact on the productivity of the team and the satisfaction of its members. Thus, it is necessary to implement strategies to effectively promote team collaboration. The behavior and participation of the manager, as well as the correct selection of team members with the same values, play an important role in this process. Forming a common goal and celebrating the team’s achievements are also important. Evaluation of effectiveness is a separate difficulty, but with a multilevel study, as well as attention to time periods, it is possible.
Braun, M. T., Kozlowski, S., Brown, T., & DeShon, R. (2020). Exploring the dynamic team cohesion– performance and coordination– performance relationships of newly formed teams. Small Group Research, 51(5), 551-580. Web.
Hill, N. S., Offermann, L. R., & Thomas, K. (2018). Mitigating the detrimental impact of maximum negative affect on team cohesion and performance through face-to-face communication. Group & Organization Management, 44(1), 211-238. Web.
McClurg, C. E., Chen, J.L., Petruzzelli, A., & Thayer, A. L. (2017). Challenges and New Directions in examining team cohesion over time. Research on Managing Groups and Teams, 18, 261-268. Web.