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Teams has always been an effective tool for managers. It allows people to better stay on task by constant monitoring, and at the end of the day, individual members of the team are able to enhance satisfaction, performance, and skills needed for professional career paths as mentioned by Oakley & Brent (2004). However, being part of an ineffective or dysfunctional team may be even worse than working on a project independently which can lead to this “extreme frustration and resentment” – especially for those who ‘carry’ the people such as ‘hitch hikers’ and ‘couch potatoes’. As I was reading the articles, I was able to relate to a lot of the steps because it was pretty much what we did during class time such as forming teams. I agree that sometimes instructor formed teams maybe more effective because as Oakley & Brent (2004) mentions, we tend to leave “Weaker ones to shift for themselves which works to nobody’s benefit” which would deteriorate the whole experience of working in a team.

It would probably be good to define what a good team is, in order to work towards becoming a good team than just individuals formed into a group. Katzenbach & Douglas, (1992) defines what a team should be: a “small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. This is why having some form of expectation of working in the team would be beneficial because once they reach an agreement – they are more committed to work towards the same performance goal in unity. Again, as Katzenbach & Douglas, (1992) mentioned a team should be a small number of people with complementary skill. This is why it is a good idea to get to know the team members before assigning into teams with the minimum number of 3 and maximum number of 5. (Oakley & Brent, 2004)  Our group actually has 6 people – but hopefully this wouldn’t raise too much of a dispute. However this diversity of skills is also a good thing that comes along with teams. Those who are not performing well can be modelled to those who performs well and they both can learn from this experience as long as they put in the effort.

“A working group relies primarily on the sum total of individual contributions a team multiplies them.” (Katzenbach & Douglas, 1992) An analogy I can give to this is like working in an orchestra. For example, a single violin cannot make the voice of an orchestra, just as an orchestra cannot operate without a violin. If one instrument had not practiced enough and put in their commitment, it can destroy the harmony as a whole. Individuals have to take responsibility in their own part, learn it well, practice individually and in the end, the other individual members in the team will multiply the voice of an individual. I hope that my team would be able to practice and learn from this experience to make a harmonious chord that win will gold at the end.

Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matterMcKinsey Quarterly. (3), 3-27

Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teamsJournal of student centered learning, 2(1) 9-34.

 


2 Comments

  1. Mi-Ra, you have made a great attempt at discussing the importance of teams and how they can be effective for learning. However, I found that your journal had grammatical errors throughout, which largely detracted from the quality of your writing. For example, your opening sentence was "Teams has always been an effective tool for managers" which is grammatically incorrect, but also leaves your reader with a bad first impression. To improve this, you should have written "Teams have always been an effective tool for managers" instead. To reduce grammatical errors, I would suggest typing your journal in Word and using the spell check function to correct any mistakes. Additionally, you could ask a friend to proof read your journal and provide feedback so you can edit any areas of concern before submitting. 

    Furthermore, much of your journal lacked logical progression. For example, the last sentence of your first paragraph began by arguing that "instructor formed teams maybe more effective". However, the theory which you used to support this statement was contradicting. You wrote "Oakley & Brent (2004) mentions, we tend to leave “Weaker ones to shift for themselves which works to nobody’s benefit” which would deteriorate the whole experience of working in a team". Unfortunately, your use of theory contradicted your initial statement, thus majorly detracting from your argument. To improve this, I would have used theory which argued why teams are more effective when formed by instructors or carefully planned out my argument, so as to ensure I used proper supporting evidence.

    The one thing which added to the quality of your journal, was the analogy you provided at the end using an orchestra as an example of how individual contributions provide the basis for a team. This was interesting to read and helped me to understand the theory better. I would recommend using this type of evidence to support arguments you make. Well done!

  2. As with Monica above, I think that the added detail about teamwork demonstrated in an orchestra just added an extra layer of depth to your journal and showed further insight into your comprehension of the importance of teams and how they function. In future keep doing this! Seeing theory accurately applied to practical situations only strengthens your writing. 

    With the rest of your learning journal is is clear that you have thoroughly read the readings assigned for the week. You correctly reference and use quotes to add emphasis, however more personal thought and reflection could have helped the journal resonate more soundly and demonstrate deeper learning than merely regurgitating what the readings say. For example, expansion on how the forming of teams in class followed the steps that you read in the articles could have been helpful. What are your team members like? Do you believe your group fits with the criteria Katzenbach and Smith say makes up a successful team? Why or why not? 

    Lastly a, quick note on the in-text citation of the 'Why teams matter' article, Smith is the second author's surname, not Douglas, but all in all, I really enjoyed your reflections! Good luck for the semester.