Research Proposal: Working in Teams
Working in teams provides the best approach to attain and accomplish different goals and objectives. Teamwork ensures that tasks are performed within the shortest duration of time using the least amount of resources. Working in teams results to healthy competition in society and facilitates generation of the best solutions to different problems. The concept working in teams refers to a scenario where a group of people strive together to achieve a given goal or repel an expected threat. Because of the importance of teamwork, it is essential to conduct research to help understand how people can effectively work in teams. The research will help identify and illustrate the factors to be considered in team formation such as allocation of roles and team leadership. This research proposal also aims to provide techniques that will identify the prevention and resolution of conflict in a team. It will help identify factors that help in the formation and maintenance of an effective team. The research aims to study the issue of teamwork and identify how people can be effective when working in teams.
A team is a group of people working together to achieve a particular goal and objective. Teams are formed to meet a given anticipated need or goal. The nature of the goal and objective of the team changes with the circumstances of the team. The character of the goal and objective varies in line with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s theory states that the nature of the objectives of a team will depend on a number of economical, psychological and social factors and needs. People also work in teams to repel different anticipated threats. For instance, when workers feel threatened by the management, they often tend to work in teams to oppose the threat caused by the management.
In a team, the goal and objective provides the common motivator, which drives people to work together. The presence of positive motivators helps enhance the performance of the team. An example of a positive motivator is the need to accomplish a particular goal or prevail over a given difficulty. For instance, in a sport steam, the common motivator is to win as match games as possible. This need to win provides the common denominator. Since players know that they cannot achieve victory on their own, the need to win leads them to work in teams to ensure they attain as many wins as is possible. Currently, most people prefer to work in teams instead of working on their own in their aiming to achieve different goals and objectives. The use of groups or working in teams instead of individuals in the performance of tasks has become popular because of the many benefits associated with teamwork. Presently, working in teams is viewed to be the best approach to achieve the different goals and objectives a political, social, economic or religious group or institution might have.
Working in teams involves a group of people working together to accomplish a particular object. To help meet the objectives, persons in the group articulate different views and concerns and provide their skills and abilities to play and perform the different tasks and roles needed to meet the goals of the group. Working in teams call for the persons involved to synchronize their contributions and work towards a common goal or objective. For a team to be effective the persons that make it up are required to restrain their personal goals and ambitions to enable them work effectively in the group. The effectiveness of teamwork makes it important for people to know how to work and operate in teams. For a team to be effective, it should have a leader and a particular goal that it aims to perform. The goals of the team should be SMART. Goals should be specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic and timely. The goals should be presented to the members in a language that is simple to ensure all members understand. Both the goal and the team leader coordinate and guide the operation of the team. To enhance the effectiveness of the team in the attainment of goals and in the solving of problems, team members should develop and coordinate team-building events in order to develop and learn how to work in teams rather than as individuals.
Working in teams in the execution and performance of tasks has a number of benefits. For instance, working in teams reduces the amount of time taken to complete a particular task. A group of people working together will take a lesser duration of time and resources performing a task than an individual would. Working in teams ensures that member’s goals are met within the required period. Working in teams to perform tasks and responsibilities facilitates and enhances creativity. This is because a team is made up of different people with different skills, knowledge levels and personal attributes. When put together, many ideas are generated leading to more creative ways of performing the particular tasks. Working in teams also ensures that a task is performed in the best way possible. Discussions that take place in the group lead to the recognition of the best solutions to a problem. Institutions that encourage or use teams to meet their different objects enjoy a number of benefits not enjoyed by institutions that use individuals to accomplish their goals. For instance, the performance of tasks in teams results to job satisfaction, which facilitates employee motivation. Execution of tasks in teams ensures that all the team members are involved, creating enthusiasm leading to employee motivation and better results.
Working in teams to perform tasks and responsibilities also ensures faster training and learning for new and untrained members. The experiences and knowledge of older team members in the performance of a task helps new team members learn easily the best ways perform particular the task. Working in teams facilitates workload distribution. Tasks and responsibilities are distributed among the team members, which allow a team member to concentrate and perform a particular task long enough until one gains expertise and sufficient experience in it. Working of teams to perform tasks helps promote and build unity in the society or institution. Working in teams help develop healthy competition in the society. Different teams performing different roles compete against each other leading to the improvement of the society or institution. The use of teams to perform tasks provides the best approach to achieve the best results. A team is made up of different people with different, views, skills and passion. When the different personal traits and attributes are put together, they deliver excellent results.
It is evident that people working in teams provide the best alternative to solve different tasks and help in the accomplishment of different goals society members and organizations have. However, there are instances when the use of teams may be harmful. For instance, there are times when persons working in the same team my not compatible resulting to conflict and disharmony, which may spread from the team to other parts of society or institution. Working in teams may lead to delays in the working out of problem as teams take time to form and coordinate. Problems may also occur in the allocation of roles leading to non-performance or under-performance. This occurs when roles are allocated to the unqualified team members or team members of different qualification. These limitations call for the need to research and understand what makes up an effective team. It also calls for research to identify different ways that can be used to teach and guide people on how to work in teams.
Objectives of this research proposal
This research proposal is meant to provide for the methods and procedure that will help collect and analyze data regarding working in teams both at the organizational and societal level. This research proposal aims to identify techniques, which will help meet a number of objectives. These objectives include determination of the best way and approaches that can be used to create and build an effective team. The research is guided by the factors that make up of a good team. For instance, in a good team all members actively participate to meet the goals of the team. In a good team, goals are well known to the members and are to be achieved in a particular period. A good team provides for an environment to facilitate creativity among the members. In a good team, there is effective communication between the members of the team. Members support each other and there are effective decision-making and conflict resolution mechanisms. Guided by this characteristic, the research aims to find and locate the different ways and means that will lead and help build an effective team.
This research proposal aims to provide for ways and means that will that help identify how to effectively maintain a team, facilitate cohesion and enhance efficient performance of the team. The research aims to locate the different ways that can be used to integrate and organize members into teams so that members help each other, cooperate, trust each other, respect and work to achieve the objectives of the team. It also aims to locate and analyze the different ways that can be used to enhance and promote the operation of the team. Finally, the research proposal aims to provide for techniques that will identify and find ways that help in the early detection of conflict in a team and procedures that help in conflict resolution. In short, the research proposal aims to provide for methods that will locate effective team building principles, concepts, ways to enhance communication in the team, goal setting and execution and selection of leadership for the team. This research proposal also aims to help locate effective team building and motivation mechanisms for the members and conflict resolution methods to help develop and improve the use of teams in institutions and organizations.
As earlier stated, society members prefer to work in teams in the execution of tasks especially where in cases where the tasks are difficult rather than work as individuals. Similarly, institutions and organizations currently make use of teams to solve and perform their tacks and responsibilities. Past reading shows a number of factors that are required to help that ensure that a team is effective and successful in the performance of its role. If the abilities of the members are considered in the allocation or roles, proper conflict detection and resolution mechanism are setup, then the team will be effective and successful in its performance and will help meets its goals as planned. However, if the abilities of the members are not considered in the allocation of roles, proper conflict detection and resolution mechanism are not put in place, among many other factors, then the team will not meet its objectives.
Review of past literature regarding the issue of working teams shows that there are number of requirements that must be present for people work in groups. The first tool is the holding of frequent meetings. Past literature showed that meetings help in the creation of ideas through discussions. Meetings provide an effective avenue where communications and information can be given to the group. However, there are a number of prerequisites for meetings to be effective in the management of teams. For instance, it is essential that adequate preparations be made before a meeting takes place. All members of the team should be made aware of the meeting, its date and location. The time, date and venue should allow all members to participate. Members should be made aware of the goals and agenda of meeting to allow for adequate preparation. During the meeting, the leader should provide the agenda, institute the discussions and promote active participation by all members. Past researches showed that meetings are helpful as they provide an avenue for team members to evaluate the performance of their team, provide a bonding session for the members helping foster unity and provide an avenue through which can be solved in the team. Meetings also provide an avenue for the making decisions that guide the operation of the persons working in the team.
Review of past literature showed that a team charter is another critical element in the creation of effective teams. Past literature showed a team charter indicates and illustrates the aims of the team, the functioning of the team and the objectives. A charter acts as a guide on the performance of the team and provides a basis for to make an evaluation on the working of the team. When people opt to work in teams, past literature shows that the team charter should be the first thing they make. This ensures that the members are fully aware of what they are to achieve in the group. The charter provides the team’s missions, objectives, authorities, scope of operation resources and nature of operations. The charter has a number of parts. The first part is called the context which is defines the problem the team will help solve, the probable results and the reasons why working in teams in important.
Past literature also showed that the team’s charter should have a mission and objective. This helps guide the team in its operations. The goals and objectives of the team should be SMART. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. SMART goals are easy to evaluate on performance and fulfillment. Past literature showed that the team charter should provide for the composition of the team and the roles each of the members is to play. Role allocation should be based on the skills and experiences of the person and the requirements of the task. It is advisable that the team is composed by all persons with different levels of skill, knowledge and experience. The charter should provide for the team leader and the person liaising between the team leader and the persons dealing with the team.
The team charter should also provide for to take responsibility on different duties and outcomes of the team. To ensure and facilitate effectiveness in the team, the charter should address the issue of empowerment and authority. This is important as it helps solve conflict when they arise in the team and guides in the recruitment of new team members. The team charter also guides in the collection and use of money and other resources the group uses to achieve its goals. The team charter is essential as it provides for the resources needed to accomplish the goals of the team. The charter then provides for the operations of the team explaining daily functioning of the team. Finally, the team charter provides for the negotiation, which leads to the formation of the team, and agreement, which helps in areas where decisions are to be made.
A number of issues were determined after the review of a number of books concerning the issue of teamwork in the solution and performance of tasks. For instance, The book, “Teamwork & team play: a guide to cooperative, challenge, and adventure activities that build confidence, cooperation, teamwork, creativity, trust, decision making, conflict resolution, resource management, communication, effective feedback, and problem solving skills” by James Hallie Cain, Jim Cain and Barry Jolliff effectively addresses the issue of working in teams both the society and organizational level. The book has number of activities that can be used in team building and in the improvement of the performance of teams. For example, the book discusses the issue of the spider web and the bullring. These activities are meant to help the team members understand the roles they play in the team cooperate and work together with other team members.
The authors describe the spider web stating that participants are put in a huge web-like structure where they are to work together to help each other out of the web. In the team building activity, participants are provided with the resources they need and are required to overcome the obstacles in a particular period. The author advocate for the use of the spider web in team building as it helps members develop planning skills, time management skills, co-ordination and communication skills. The other team building activity they describe and advocate for is the bullring. The activity helps develop team cooperation between members of a team, develop communication skills, which sustains teamwork.
The book discusses the issue of group formation stating that each member of the team should be allocated a particular role to play. The roles allocated guide the operation and function of the members. They state that roles are classified into three major categories. These are task roles, social roles and destructive roles. Every person in the team should ensure that he performs each of the three roles to enhance the effectiveness of the team. There are different factors that guide the allocation of roles in a team. People have special traits, which make them unique in different ways. The book states that the personal abilities should guide the allocation of roles in a team. A person’s skill and capacity should be the main determinant of what role a person performs in a team. This ensures that one performs what one is good at resulting to success and efficiency.
Allocation of roles helps in the identification of strengths and diversity in the team. They help identify areas where members are not performing as required and make early corrections. All the members of the team should be made aware of the different aims and goals the team is supposed to achieve. The book discusses on a number of ways that help in the maintenance of the group and the prevention of conflict. For instance, the book states that the allocation of roles helps divert and prevent negative habits. This is because members are allocated functions they play well helping them avoid destructive habits. The book states that human beings have destructive tendencies, which if unchecked could be harmful. It therefore calls for the frequent evaluation of the performance of the team and its members. The authors state that issues that create negative energy and conflict in the team are to be dwelt with as soon as they arise. The book states that the allocation of roles is helpful as it limits the persons from engaging in negative and destructive activities or tendencies. When people are made aware of the objectives, goals and aims of the group, they focus their energy on the group helping minimize conflict.
Another book that helps understand the issue of teamwork is the book “Teamwork and project management: by Karl Aldrich Smith and P. K. Imbrie. The book states that the extent of use of teamwork and collaboration in the solving of problems is one of the determinants of the success of a project. Projects where people work in teams are more prosperous than projects where done individually. The book provides different approaches that can be used in the formation of effective teams in the workplace. It states that in the formation of the team, consideration should be made on the abilities of the members. The members should ensure that there is variety, by having persons of different skills in the team. Karl Aldrich Smith and P. K. Imbrie in their book also discuss the issue of conflict solving in a team. They state that a team should ensure it has a number of team of people to deal with conflicts that arise in the team. Human nature allows people to have different views on different issues. However, if unchecked, the variation in thought and perspective may be harmful as it may result to conflicts in the team. The book states that this illustrates the need for a dispute and conflict resolution and detection system. Conflicts should be dealt as soon as they arise.
The book discusses the critical issue of reflection in a team during its operation. It states that all team members should be made aware of the goals of the team. This acts as a guide for the members. It also helps in the motivation of members. In addition, there should constant evaluation of performance of the team in its attempt to accomplish a given goal. This is to help ensure that the team does no deviate from the planned goals. It also helps ensure that corrections and improvements are made where necessary. The book states that reflection is useful as it helps remind the team members the goals of the team. The authors provide and identify strategies that can help sustain the development of high performance teams. For instance, they state that the team should develop structures to sustain a common purpose between the members. The teams should have clear roles with an accepted leadership to guide in its performance. The team should then develop systems that facilitate communication between the members.
To help understand teamwork, another book that provides essential information is ‘Teamwork: what must go right, what can go wrong’ by Carl Larson and Frank LaFasto. The book was written after a detailed research by the authors in life spheres where people work in teams. The book provides a rational approach in the study of high performing teams. The authors describe and explain a number of traits that an effective team should have. The authors state that the inclusion of the traits into the team will facilitate effectiveness and performance. The book states that the main reason for the failure of most groups is the inclusion of personal agendas into the operation of the group. If people working as a team want to ensure that, they meet the different goals and achievements they aim for, the members must ensure that they restrain themselves and avoid including personal affairs into the team. Politics is also sited and described as another reason for the failure of teams in an organization. To explain their point, they use the theory promoted by Duke Drake, which states that the main source of conflicts occurs whenever members considers how they are to benefit from the team. The exclusion of politics in team is one of the best ways to facilitate unity in the team.
The authors discuss different ways to enhance teamwork. They state that the members of a team should be trained, educated or mentored to develop their skills. This allows for the easy integration of different people because they have the necessary skills needed to do so. The unity and effectiveness of the team should be improved through team-building activities. The book also discusses how one can improve the performance of his team. The book states that the use of workshops provides an excellent opportunity for companies to develop the employee’s capacity to work in teams. In the formation of teams to meet different expectations, member composition should be cross-functional. The team should be made of members with varied skills, qualification and professional backgrounds. This ensures that has a variety of skills and abilities. The book provides and discusses a number of ways that can help create and build an effective team.
To effectively carryout research on the use of teamwork in the execution of duties and tasks, a number of research approaches and methods will be used. The approaches will be used to collect the data to be used in the research process. One of the approaches to be used in the research process will be the quantitative approach. The use of the quantitative approach will be helpful in the collection and tabulation of numerical and statistical data to be used in the research. The research method has been adopted to meet a number of objectives. For instance, the tabulation of data will make the analysis of the results easier. The quantitative approach will help illustrate the nature and extent of effectiveness of teamwork and the different approaches that can be used to create and sustain effective teams. Use of the quantitative method helps provide figures on successful or unsuccessful and the common traits among the teams. The approach is important as it allows for the use of statistical data, which help eliminate subjectivity in the research.
However, the use of the quantitative approach has a number of shortcomings, which might limit its effectiveness in the research process. The main shortcoming of the approach is that it fails to identify the reasons that result to the figures experienced in the research. It only provides figures and values with no accompanying explanations. Since the main aim of the research is to figure out the different factors that affect the creation and functioning of teams, the method needs to be supplemented with another approach to make the research work comprehensive. To collect data, the approach will make use of mailed questionnaires, which will be sent to different officials of different companies, sports teams and academic institutions. The questionnaires will help raise information on team composition, the number of leaders an effective team should have, the number of persons to deal with disciplinary and conflict resolution issues among many others.
The second method to be used in the research is the qualitative method, which will help solve the limitations experienced in the use of the quantitative method. The method will help get the reasons that should be considered in the creation of teams, identify the factors that enhance the effectiveness of a team among many other theoretical materials needed for the research. In addition, use of the qualitative approach will help locate the independent and dependent variables of the research. The independent variables are the factors that determine the effectiveness, cohesion and performance of a team. On the other hand, the level of performance and effectiveness of the team provides the dependent variables.
This approach will involve the analysis of non-statistical data, which entails the use of description and interpretation. This technique will make use of interviews conducted on officials of different sports teams, human resources manager in firms and companies and university professors and scholars. Interviews will be held with six professors on psychology from six universities to be randomly selected and five human resources mangers of successful companies. Twelve interviews will also be held with coaches and managers of different sports teams in the region. The technique is useful as it will help give a more realistic view of the factors affecting use of teamwork and their effectiveness, which numerical data or the quantitative approach cannot do.
As earlier stated, the research will make use of samples in the collection of data and information. This is meant to reduce the cost of the research process and the duration taken for the research process. For instance, data will be collected from six successful companies and six companies whose performance has not been good. The interviews will be held with the human resource managers of the selected companies. Interviews will also be held with managers and coaches of the six successful and six lowly performing sports teams in the region. The aim of the interviews will be to collect data on why companies prefer to use teams in the performance of their roles, what factors they consider in the formation of their teams, the conflict resolution mechanism in place and what they do to facilitate and improve the performance of the team.
Finally, interviews will be held with six university professors from universities selected randomly in the region. The aim of the interview with the professors will be to get the psychological factors of human beings that impact on the operation and performance of the team. The data from the professors is supposed to confirm what the coaches and managers say. Information provided by both the professors and the managers will be taken to be the principles affecting the performance of the team. The research process should take about six months to finalize. Within six months, all interviews will have been conducted; data will have been generalized and analyzed to get the required results.
The first approach to be used to analyze data will be the comparison of the results from the successful teams with those from the unsuccessful teams. These will help get and understand what the successful teams have done that the unsuccessful teams have failed to do. This will provide the critical and essential factors every team must have or must consider to perform effectively. The second data analysis method will be the analytic induction. Analytic induction will involve the use of the data from the managers together with the data from the university lecturers to develop a hypothesis that is common in all cases under study. This will provide information on the use of teamwork. The last technique that will be used in the analysis of data will be the matrix analysis techniques. This will involve the use of organization of collected information in diagrams and generalizations to allow for the use of logical reasoning.
After the carrying out of research, a number of factors are expected. On of the expected results is that role allocation in the team is based on the skill, ability and capacity of the team member. Another expected result is that every successful team has a number of people whose work involves conflict resolution. The sub-committee identifies factors and reasons that will result to conflict and provides for resolution before the conflict develops fully resulting to the ineffectiveness of the group. An additional result is that members are made aware of the goals of the team on formation and they constantly reminded of what the team is supposed to achieve. Another expected result is that successful teams have a number of team building events that aim to aid in the integration of the members. The last expected result for an effective team is that decision-making involves all the members of the team in place of individuals.
Discussions of the Expected Results
The results collected from the research will help generalizations on what makes a good team and how to sustain the effectiveness of the teams. If the role allocation in the successful teams is based on ability, it will be concluded that for a team to be effective, roles should be allocated based on the abilities of the members. If there structures in the successful teams that help in the detection and resolution of conflict, it will be concluded that effective teams must dispute resolution mechanisms. If the successful teams have different arrangements that inform the members of the goals and objectives of the teams, it will be concluded that effective teams should have ways and means to inform the members of their goals. Finally, if the successful teams involve all members in the decision-making process, then it will be concluded that for a team to be effective, it must an all-inclusive decision making mechanism.
Currently, working in teams is the best way for both society and institutions to solve the problems facing and achieve the different goals and objectives they might have. Research is therefore necessary to help identify and understand the different factors that help in the formation, sustenance, maintenance and performance of effective. The research proposal provides useful techniques and methods to help meet the above aims and objectives.
Larson, C. E. & LaFasto, M. J. (1998). Teamwork: what must go right, what can go wrong? New York: Sage
West, M. A. (2004). Effective teamwork: practical lessons from organizational research. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell