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Challenges to effective teamwork in small and large-scale organizations

Describe about The Difficulty of Teamwork In Organization.

Any business organization is always formed with a vision of achieving certain goals in the business of the organization. However, the effectiveness of the organization and its performance depend on several factors. In their study, Minguela and Arius (2010) report that the employees are the major driving force for the success of an organization. Well-managed employees not only promotes teamwork but also forms a good foundation for the structure, decision-making, work systems and culture of the organization. When a group of different individuals works together in a team, many challenges tend to occur such as communication and relationship issues. In small, medium, and large business organization, effective teamwork is not easily achieved (Nunamaker, Reinig, & Briggs 2009, p. 115). However, the question becomes what are some of the challenges these organizations face when it comes to effective teamwork? This paper focuses on teamwork within an organization and some of the challenges that come with it. It also looks into some of the organizational and management theories that can be adopted so as to ensure effective teamwork in an organization.

According to Toegel and Brasseux (2016), lack of trust is a major issue for the organizations with multiple branches and where the employees from the branches never meet to discuss the activities within their branches. It becomes extremely difficult when building a team across branches as a result of lack of familiarity amongst the employees. For instance, it is not easy building a relationship with a partner you only communicate with via phone calls or emails. As a result, Kim, O’Neill, and Cho (2010) point out that without a daily interaction between employees and a chance to know one another at personal levels will reduce or eliminate the commitment and motivation of the team members to keep united team functionality. Such a communication system leads to the loss of non-verbal cues and is especially worse for organizations with multiple locations as a result of limited physical issues and time zone differences that can result in the delay of information. Body language, facial expression, and the tone essential parts of effective communication and the breakage of any of them can present challenges to the team effectiveness (Bate, Khan, & Pye, 2012).

In his study on the challenges to effective unity and good relationship in an organization, Gross (2011) reports that inconsistency is a major challenge especially for organizations with multiple locations and departments. Even though some corporate policies tend to be consistent across the different branches and departments of an organization, different leaders and managers may come up with their management styles within the organization. For instance, terminology for the work processes as well as the items of work may also differ across the branches. As a result, fostering teamwork across multiple such branches may require different terms and standards that can cause challenges to a cohesive team building within the organization.

Theoretical concepts and perspectives towards challenges in teamwork

Multiple cultural challenges within the organization such as time use, language, and expectations to professional interactions among others can cause additional challenges and influence the effectiveness of the team. For example, the Middle East and Latin Americans tends to prefer building trust at personal levels before they engage in professional interaction and work issues. American also prefers using war metaphors and sports within the work environment, something that their overseas counterparts do not do. Tribal issues and language barriers can also reduce the efficiency of the teamwork within the organization. Wang and Sung (2016) thus point out that such intercultural issues can also lead to the hindrance in the effectiveness of teamwork. 

Theoretical perspectives and modules help in the examination, explanation, and structuring of the organizational performance perspectives. According to Hass and Mortensen (2016), most of the management theories and frameworks stresses on the need of teamwork where each team member should play his or her role to their level best so as to enable the organization to achieve the set objectives. Many organizations hence focus on establishing virtual or actual teamwork in relation to different models and theories appreciates the need of structuring the organization with the effort of both the management and the employees. For many centuries, several management theories have been put in place by many managerial researchers as they try to explain the establishment of teamwork by managers for effective organizational performance.

Bernard Chester (1886 to 1961) formulated a model in the Function of Executive that presented the idea that organizations operate are corporate working systems. In his theory, he views an organization as an organism trying to survive in a hostile environment and involves other external resources that limits or challenges the actions of the organization such as capital and labor among other resources. The complexity of the organizational system led to the formulation of other theories that attempted to explain the operation of an organization. Barnard further formulated inducement and system equilibrium theories with each model having its theory on the management of an organization. The system equilibrium theory has it that there is a need for a balance between the equilibrium processes of the management and the members of the organization. On the other hand, inducement-contribution theory formulates that the management of the organization has the responsibility of brainstorming on the solutions to the challenges facing an organization. It is hence the responsibility of the management to address issues relating to poor teamwork within the organization (Bate, Khan, & Pye 2012, P. 67).

Action of improving teamwork in an organization in relation to the theoretical perspectives

Additionally, Webbers formulated a Bureaucratic model that focuses on the rational means of an organization to control or improve the human being forming the major workforce within the organization. His bureaucratic ideology suggests that an organization requires well-defined rules to make the organization perform towards the set values and goals. The model recommends a chain of command that needs to be followed in a hierarchal way from the top to the last ranks of the organization. The model also proposes that promotion as well as employment requires a demonstration of competence with the aim of training the employees and protecting them against arbitrary dismissal (Nunamaker, Reinig, & Briggs 2009, p. 115). However, Lewin’s theory of the Force Field Analysis suggests that the activities of the employees rely on the environment with the concrete station mathematical presentation and behavior and the environmental function as its three major principles. The theory hence explains that the management should examine the progress or stagnation of the organization in relation to the environment that directly affects the performance of employees. In his theory, Lewin argues that fate and task interdependence explains that a team is made up of people with different characters which are an advantage to the organization as a member who has never achieved a certain goal can be supported to grow towards the goal by the other members (McCafferty 2016).

In the aim of promoting teamwork in a workplace,  regular communications of the team expectations, setting achievable standards, and emphasizing on the roles of each employee and their importance leads to successful relationships and effective unity performance according to Gross (2012, p. 78). For example, maintaining the relationship between managers and staff requires the emphasis on a precious and clear two-way communication. It makes them feel as crucial contributors who are respected in the process of achieving the final product or service of the company, hence promoting effective teamwork and promotes harmony between the management and the employees of the organization. According to Kalshoven and Boon (2012), an effective teamwork in an organization thrives when individuals feel comfortable as part of the team in every responsibility. As a result, effective communication, as well as both informal and formal team building activities, company oriented outings, and team-based charitable activities can help in achieving such relationships and effective teamwork. For instance, Fernet and Austin (2013) recommend that effective communicational also help in building trust and respect amongst supervisors, co-workers, and staff leads promote innovation, collaboration, and efficiency in the workplace.

 The management of the organization needs to ensure that clear and concise mission strategies, rules, and responsibilities within the organization are designed. All the employees should hence have a copy of the design so every employee is made aware of the kind of duties and responsibilities bestowed upon him by the organization (Jaruseviciene et al. 2013, p. 119). It as well promotes the efficiency in the departmental duty allocation so that the department can have a goal to be achieved as a team according to Tai, Narayanan, and McAllister, (2012). Discussing how the responsibilities and mission of the organization fit the personal values of the employees is important and is the major driving force of teamwork in the success of the organizational goals, culture, and values (Curran et al. 2010, p. 45). The manager should ensure regular staff meetings are held so as to highlight regular company activities and how they are expected to work towards upholding the mission. In this manner, the employees will be motivated to work towards a common goal with openness and commitment as Toegel and Brasseux (2016) reports.

As pointed out by Colbert, Bono, and Purvanova (2016), a good leader should acquire effective conflict-prevention and management skills that can foster teamwork among the employees. For example, facilitating discussions in forums such as staff meetings bring together the team thus strengthens the relationship between team members. They get a platform to share their ideas and ask clarifying and non-judgmental questions thus improving their interpersonal communication skills, wins the confidence and trust between them as denoted by Deluliis and Flinko (2016, p. 123). Their study shows that the employees can be hesitant to open up, and it is the responsibility of a leader to ease everyone by being the first person to share voluntarily. With time, the participants will proceed to very superficial disclosures and into deeper discussions as they offer their responses as they listen to others. It hence promotes self-awareness promotes better cultural diversity understanding, as well as networking among their leaders and colleagues.

Disparate and destructive opinions are not the only major cause of poor teamwork and bad relationships within an organization. Wang and Sung (2016) points out that most destructive relationship in a workplace stems from factors such as personality, race, gender, age, and responsibilities among other factors. The conventional approach of a leader to work through such issues before they result in clashes or conflicts is to respond to such matters together with the team at lower levels when they can still be handled (Erbert 2016, p. 287). When they are not addressed in time, Baillien et al. (2016) denote that they can allow frustrations are making it very difficult to restore trust and reset negative impressions hence compromising teamwork within the organization. Keen investigations, as well as quick responses to delicate situations that can compromise teamwork and good relationship between the employees, are essential when Desperate moments call for the attention of the management (Colbert, Bono, & Purvanova 2016, p. 67).

Conclusion

A complex and dynamic nature of a team hence calls for a decisive and strong leader to guide and manage the team. The process hence requires an evaluation of the potential challenges that affects the team development so as to strategize or create ways that can solve the teamwork challenges before they negatively affect the performance of the organization. Building effective teams that can help achieve the set goals and objectives is a challenge to many organizations.  For instance, some of the challenges tend to be multiplied or magnified when the organizations have multiple locations within the same town or globally spread out. A clear understanding and anticipation of such challenges help the management of an organization to develop functioning and effective teams.

References

Baillien, E, Camps, J, Van den Broeck, A, Stouten, J, Godderis, L, Sercu, M, & De Witte, H, 2016, An Eye for an Eye Will Make the Whole World Blind: Conflict Escalation into Workplace Bullying and the Role of Distributive Conflict Behavior,  Journal Of Business Ethics, 137(2), 415-429.

Bate, P, Khan, R, & Pye, A 2012, 'Towards A Culturally Sensitive Approach To Organization Structuring: Where Organization Design Meets Organizational Development', Organization Science, 11, 2, pp. 197-211.

Colbert, A., Bono, J., & Purvanova, R.K. (2016). Flourishing via workplace relationships: moving beyond instrumental support. Academy Of Management Journal, 59(4), 1199-1223. doi:10.5465/amj.2014.0506

Curran, V, Sharpe, D, Flynn, K, & Button, P 2010, 'A longitudinal study of the effect of an interprofessional education curriculum on student satisfaction and attitudes towards interprofessional teamwork and education', Journal Of Interprofessional Care, 24, 1, pp. 41-52

Erbert, LA 2016, 'Organizational Sensemaking: Interpretations of Workplace "Strangeness"', International Journal Of Business Communication, 53, 3, pp. 286-305, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 September 2016.

Fernet, C, & Austin, S, 2013, Workplace bullying and psychological health at work, The mediating role of satisfaction of needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, Work and Stress, 27, 123–140.

Gross, C, 2011, Conflict escalation and coping with teamwork challenges, A replication and extension, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 10, 497–522.

Haas, M, & Mortensen, M 2016, 'The Secrets of Great Teamwork', Harvard Business Review, 94, 6, pp. 70-76, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 September 2016.

Jaruseviciene, L., Liseckiene, I., Valius, L., Kontrimiene, A., Jarusevicius, G., & Velez Lapão, L. (2013). Teamwork in primary care: perspectives of general practitioners and community nurses in Lithuania. BMC Family Practice, 14(1), 118-128. doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-118

Kalshoven, K, & Boon, C, 2012, Ethical leadership, employee well-being, and helping, Journal of Personnel Psychology, 11, 60–68.

Kim, S, O’Neill, W., & Cho, H, 2010, When does an employee not help coworkers? The effect of leader-member exchange on employee envy and organizational citizenship behavior, Internal Journal of Hospitality Management, 29, 530–537.

McCafferty, D 2016, 'Top Challenges of Managing a Virtual Team', CIO Insight, p. 1, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 September 2016.

Minguela, B, & Arias, D 2010, 'New product performance through multifunctional teamwork: An analysis of the development process towards quality excellence', Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 20, 4, pp. 381-392.

Nunamaker Jr., J, Reinig, B, & Briggs, R, 2009, 'Principles for Effective Virtual Teamwork', Communications Of The ACM, 52, 4, pp. 113-117, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 September 2016.

Toegel, G, & Brasseux, J, 2016, How to Preempt Teamwork in organization with multiplebranches, Harvard Business Review, 94, 6, pp. 78-83.

Wang, Y, & Sung, W, 2016, Predictors of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Ethical Leadership and Workplace Jealousy, Journal Of Business Ethics, 135, 1, pp. 117-128.
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