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 One of the most interesting learning experiences I had this week was to do with the distinction between ‘work groups’ and ‘teams’. According to Katzenbach & Smith (1992), the distinction between the two has to do with performance. A ‘work group’ relies primarily on the sum of the individual members contributions to boost performance. A ‘team’, on the other hand, multiplies the impact of individuals by requiring collective work products, resulting in performance that is more than the sum of the individual members contributions. “The choice depends largely on whether the aggregation of individual achievements can meet overall performance aspirations, or whether truly collective efforts, skills, work-products, and mutual accountability are needed” (Katzenbach & Smith, 1992, p. 14).

This week I was also chosen as the CEO for my team. So the distinction between working groups and teams becomes particularly important. Specifically, how do we ensure we become an effective team as opposed to a working group. Katzenbach & Smith (1992) propose that a ‘real team’ is small number of people who have commentary skill sets, who are committed to a common working approach and goals, for which they hold themselves collectively accountable. So how do we go about turning a group of people in to a ‘real team’.

Establishing expectations is an important part of creating an effective team (Oakley, Felder, Brent & Elhajj, 2004). One way of doing this could be through a team expectations agreement. According to Oakley et al (2004), this serves two purposes. One, it unites the team with a common set of realistic expectations and it also serves to clearly outline what is acceptable and what is not. This seems to me to be an effective way to move forward. The other way I think would help us form an effective team is through regular feedback. There is the formal course peer feedback, however regular informal (written) feedback may also be effective because it increases the learning potential of decisions, as we all get feedback faster

Therefor, my tentative hypothesis is that through, having collective goals, deciding on team expectations and having more regular feedback cycles, our group will become more effective and hopefully mature into an effective team. Therefor I will try to action these points then evaluate the outcome.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. This is a good learning journal. I like how you have included points from the readings in to it, however i feel you may have perhaps focussed too much on the theory of the readings and not enough on your own opinions and experiences. Perhaps next time, try to state a couple points from the readings and then relate it to you personally rather than just saying the definitions for things. Overall it was good and there is not much other improvement needed. Good luck with the rest of the semester. 

  2. Hi Daniel,

    Well done on completing your second learning journal of the semester. Overall it was a well structured and interesting read and showed a strong understanding of the content outlined for this week. You consistently discussed certain concepts gathered from the two articles and related them back to your own experiences. I liked that you then went on to describe how you will apply the knowledge you have gained to enhance your team as you progress throughout the semester. By doing this it proved you where engaging with the content and developing a reasonable understanding of its learning purposes.

    I did however think that the scope of the learning journal was quite narrow. You really only discussed one aspect of the readings which I found to be quite limiting. This did however allow you to increase the depth and detail in which the content managed to cover. As well as this I felt you could have mentioned your own opinions slightly more throughout the journal, which may have strengthened the usefulness of each paragraph to the reader. you also didn't really analyze any potential alternative solutions which may have also been beneficial.

    Despite these recommendations I understand the journals are limited to only a small amount of content. Keeping this in mind I think that you did a really good job on all of the points that you did make. Overall this was an excellent learning journal to read. Great work.