Week 3b: Group Work

Moon Group Work

Katzenbach, Jon R. & Smith, Douglas K (1993) ‘The Discipline of Teams’. The High-Performance Organisation. Harvard Business Review.

Vandeveer, Rodney C. ‘Synergy and Team Work Cooperation: Understanding the Dynamic of Teams. Purdue University.

This week, the focus was on group work. Specifically working effectively in a team and in cooperation with your team members. I learnt that group work isn’t as simple as it sounds, it is not just the end result that is at stake, we are dynamically reflecting and initiating a variety of management skills that feed into communication, coordination and planning. One must have reflected on themselves as well as their team members to provide a cohesive team.

My Vark Profile results came back and I discovered that I was a multimodal learner with tendencies towards kinaesthetic and read/write modes of learning. I did a little research on what a kinaesthetic learner was. It turns out that kinaesthetic learner remember things better by actively doing them. We like to move around. We’re good at assembling and making things. Apparently, we’re not too shabby at demonstrating how things work. Now the bad news, the disadvantages of being a kinaesthetic learner are the following; we may sometimes miss instructions if things are explained verbally to us (that’s me!). We can find it hard to concentrate on written tasks while seated (me again!) Help : )

One of the reading for this week was Moon group work, which concentrated on group work scenarios, it really gave me an insight in reflecting if I was assertive enough as sometimes, it was wonderful for our group as we all identified ways of being more constructive and reflected on my self- theory. Our group gelled and we held ourselves to be mutually accountable. From the scenarios, we reflected on better way to communicate and as such, everyone’s thoughts/behaviours were taken into consideration.

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) demonstrate through their article that managers in order to be able to make better decisions about the team, the managers must be clear about what a team is. They define team as ‘a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’ This definition according to Katzenbach decrees the discipline that teams must share to be effective. Through the article, I learnt that there are four elements discussed that make group work perform well: common commitment and purpose, performance goals, complementary skills and mutual accountability. There are three types of teams. The first is teams that recommend issues, the second type of team is one that make or do things and the third is teams that run things. Throughout our group management teams, we will be exercising all these types.

Vandeveer argues a point made by Larsen (1989) ‘that leaders must push cohesive teams to take on additional challenges, continuously improve, and make sure that ideas are challenged.’ It is only when a  leader understands the process and dynamics of team work, the leader will be able to lead toward the creation of positive synergy. A leader must facilitate not direct, this will ensure the change into group development is more fluid and will result in greater synergy for the team. What are the rewards for these actions? Vandeveer predicts an improvement in relationships, team cooperation and productivity that will direct into a new leadership style. He advocates that synergy is fundamental to any organisation’s critical productivity.



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