Collaboration: Problem Solving and Team Members

8 August 2016

Teamwork results in a systemic approach to problem solving. Since teams communicate and transfer knowledge among team members, teamwork results in organized approach to solving a proble. For example, a team is more likely than an individual to set up project checkpoints and planning systems to enable all team members to contribute to the project (Janasz, Dowd, Schneider, 2002, p 311). Since teams divide workload, collaboration leads to faster handling of tasks. When teams cutting across organizational hierarchy collaborate, they discover more loopholes and weak areas than would be if individuals were to handle the project.

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In fact, studies have shown that companies which have embraced teamwork as their organizational philosophy show a rise in productivity, employee accountability of their work, timeliness, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Creative output When it comes to solving problems, there is consensus that two heads are better than one. When people collaborate, they make better decisions because people in groups have multiple approaches to solving problems. When an individual works to solve a problem, she faces the constraints imposed by her background, experience and resources.

But when the team works on solving problems, they pull their resources together and find more than one way of solving a problem. Many organizations are using this approach to get a competitive edge. For example, Proctor & Gamble has created more than 20 “communities of practice” which bring together volunteers from different parts of the company and focus on a specific area of expertise, such as fragrance or packaging. These groups meet and share ideas, and other employees can ask questions to them using the intranet (The Economist, 2009).

The practice of sharing information across divisions has led to innovations in many of the company’s products. Benefits to Organizations When teamwork is done effectively, it helps organizations accomplish important tasks. In particular, it offers the potential for synergy—the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. When synergy occurs, groups accomplish more than the total of their members’ individual capabilities. Synergy is essential for organizations to become competitive and achieve long-term high performance in today’s dynamic times (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2008, p 171) In three specific situations, groups often have performance advantages over individuals acting alone. First, when there is no clear “expert” for a particular task or problem, groups seem to make better judgments than does the average individual alone. Second, groups are typically more successful than individuals when problems are complex, requiring a division of labor and the sharing of information.

Third, because of their tendencies to make riskier decisions, groups can be more creative and innovative than individuals (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2008, p 171) Good Relationships (Improved communication) Empoyees communicate better when they work in a team. In the traditional, vertical organization, communication tends to flow mainly from top to bottom. However, in team-based organizations, employees communicate in all directions – upward, downward, and laterally. They even communicate outside the organizations.

Teamwork requires collective action that is based on the ideas and actions of the entire ream. In successful teams, there is rich sharing of ideas and information that leads to better communication within the team and between the team and the organization. Since teamwork is based on the democratic principles, team members are unafraid to share ideas, leading to better sharing of ideas. Successful Resolution (higher quality decisions): The quality of the output improves when employees work in a team.

Since team members come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, they produce more ideas and offer multiple solutions to a single problem. Such decisions are stronger and are more likely to withstand the forces of failure since they have been made with multiple perspectives in mind. High Employee Morale: People working in teams develop better comraderie that boosts their morale. When employees feel better about themselves, it leads to better productivity and reduced absenteeism.

When employees see the impact their work is having on their organizations, they take ownership of what they do. In the traditional workplace, employees feel alienated, removed from their company’s goals and objectgives. Social facilitation People tend to work harder if there are other people present. Some researchers suggest that the increased effort may occur because people need and expect positive evaluations from others; some people want to be liked and they work harder when others are around so that they gain more positive strokes (Beebe, Masterson, 2006, p 13).

Working in the presence of others creates excitement that stimulates behavior and therefore affects performance. Arousal tends to work positively when one is proficient with the task. Here, the excitement leads to extra effort at doing something that already comes quite naturally. An example is the play of a world-class athlete in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn, 2008, p 172).

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