12. WORK GROUPS AND WORK TEAMS

 

Most people do not work in isolation but work with other employees with whom they interact

 

Work Group: Collection of people who interact and share common

††††††††††† or interrelated task goals.

 

Work Team: Work group with

††††††††††† Common task goals and objectives

††††††††††† Coordinated effort

††††††††††† Specified roles

 

Work group members may or may not work on the same tasks.

††††††††††† Sales groups may work completely independently, each person

††††††††††††††††††††††† with his or her own territory.

 

Work team members work together to accomplish the common tasks.


GROUP/TEAM CONCEPTS

 

Roles

††††††††††† Specialization of function within positions

††††††††††††††††††††††† Formal: position title and description define with job

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† analysis

††††††††††††††††††††††† Informal:Emergent behavior in group

 

Status

††††††††††† Power & influence, prestige, respect

††††††††††† Partially inherent in role

††††††††††† Example

††††††††††††††††††††††† Torrance study of B‑26 crews

††††††††††††††††††††††† Horse trading problem

††††††††††††††††††††††† Buy a horse for $60 and sell it for $70

††††††††††††††††††††††† Buy it back for $80 and sell it again for $90

††††††††††††††††††††††† How much profit did you make?

††††††††††††††††††††††† 94% pilots, 80% navigators, 63% gunners convinced crew

††††††††††††††††††††††† they had correct answer, which is in order of their status

Norms

††††††††††† Expected & accepted behavioral standards

††††††††††† Productivity norms

††††††††††† Dress norms


Group Cohesiveness

††††††††††† Attraction of group members toward staying in group

††††††††††† High cohesive groups

††††††††††††††††††††††† Lower turnover

††††††††††††††††††††††† Stronger adherence to norms (homogenizer of behavior)

††††††††††††††††††††††† Greater satisfaction

††††††††††††††††††††††† Greater group influence

††††††††††††††††††††††† Study

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Purcell (1953)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Allow construction workers (carpenters & masons)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† choose own partners

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Results

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 5% reduction in costs (labor & materials)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 87% decline in turnover

 

Team Commitment

††††††††††† Strength of an individualís involvement in team and acceptance

††††††††††††††††††††††† of team goals

 

Team Mental Model

††††††††††††††††††††††† Shared understanding of task by team members

 

Process Loss

††††††††††† Effort/time spent by team members on non-task activities

††††††††††† See discussion below


GROUP PERFORMANCE

 

Individual vs. group

 

††††††††††† Individual tasks in work groups:coacting effects

††††††††††† Social facilitation

††††††††††††††††††††††† Competition and arousal (audience)

††††††††††† Social inhibition

††††††††††††††††††††††† Distraction

††††††††††† Group processes

††††††††††† Arousal

 

Group tasks:interdependence of group effort

††††††††††† Assembly line: Performance = f(poorest individual)

††††††††††† Additive:Performance = f(sum of individuals)


CLASSIC STUDY OF PAJAMA FACTORY

 

Coch & French (1948) Overcoming resistance to change. Human Relations, 1, 512-532.

 

Harwood pajama factory

††††††††††† 600 Employees

††††††††††† 5/6 women

 

Piece rate for over standard (60/hr.)

 

Some jobs take average 34 weeks to reach standard

 

Frequent production changes:transfer bonus given

††††††††††† Only 38% return to standard after a production change

††††††††††† Low productivity after changes

††††††††††† High turnover after change (12%/mo vs. 4.5% for nonchanged)

††††††††††† Poor attitude, high absence after change

 

Cohesiveness & change

††††††††††† High cohesive, + attitude, best relearners

††††††††††† Low cohesive,††††††††††††† Intermediate

††††††††††† High cohesive, ‑ attitude, worst relearners

 

Effects of Group Pressure. Productivity of one operator in a group with a production norm of 50 units per hour.

Days

Productivity

Event

1‑12

46‑56

Joins group

13‑20

55‑48

Pressure begins

21‑24

45‑96

Group disbanded

25‑40

92

Working alone

 

Overcame resistance by allowing workers to participate in change

††††††††††† decisions

Better performance

Less turnover


GROUP PERFORMANCE VS. INDIVIDUAL

 

How does group compare to sum of individuals?

 

Additive task (Kravitz and Martin, 1986) rope pull

Number of people

Predicted force of pull

Actual force of pull

1

1

1

2

2

1.86

4

4

3.08

8

8

3.92

 

Social Loafing

††††††††††† Identifiability reduces social loafing

 

Assembly line:Performance only at level of worst performer

 

Brainstorming (creative task)

Group inhibits individual performance


PROCESS LOSS

 

Time spent in group maintenance

††††††††††† Enforcing norms

††††††††††† Building cohesiveness

††††††††††† Solving interpersonal problems

††††††††††† Lack of coordination

††††††††††† Power struggles

††††††††††† Distraction

††††††††††† Conflicting goals‑ splitting of effort


GROUP INTERVENTIONS

 

How should we work with groups?

††††††††††† to increase productivity

††††††††††† to increase satisfaction

††††††††††† to make work more meaningful

 

Increase cohesiveness

††††††††††† Encourage formation of work groups

††††††††††† Allow socialization, on & off the job

††††††††††† Assign group tasks

††††††††††† Give group rewards

††††††††††† Allow employees to select coworkers

 

Make group and organizational goals compatible

††††††††††† Group rewards

††††††††††† Profit sharing

††††††††††† Participation

 

Team building

††††††††††† Goal of building efficient work groups

††††††††††† Series of exercises & experiences with a trainer


AUTONOMOUS WORK GROUPS (HACKMAN & OLDHAM, 1980, WORK REDESIGN)

 

Self‑managed work team makes entire product††††

Work group has almost total authority

 

Butler Example (Grain Dryer, over 3000 parts)

††††††††††† Job rotation frequent & controlled by group

††††††††††† By end of 18 months most employees know entire process

††††††††††† Groups design, develop & purchase own tools

††††††††††† Service calls throughout area (meet customers)

††††††††††† No quality inspectors (done by group)

††††††††††† Few foremen (forepersons)

††††††††††† Groups participate in hiring & promotion

††††††††††† Supervisors as coaches, counseling & training

††††††††††† Many meetings: weekly team, monthly plant

††††††††††† Participative: Employee advisory group

††††††††††† Training in interpersonal skills

 

Results

††††††††††† Absence 1.2% (vs. 5% for factories in general)

††††††††††† Turnover 11% (vs. 35% for factories in general)

††††††††††† Profits higher than expected

 

Copyright Paul E. Spector, All rights reserved, July 22, 2002.