Jeanette Dieball, and Claire
8 April 2003
Factors Affecting Team A Performance
framework of the team environment, there are often both positive and negative
factors affecting team performance. While
diversity among members provides “a wide pool of talent and view points…this
diversity may also create difficulties as members try to define problems, share
information, and handle interpersonal conflicts” (Organizational Behavior,
95). Learning teams are often
comprised of individuals who do not have similar backgrounds or lifestyles.
While there are several factors that may affect team performance,
including ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, religion and personality traits,
through a survey of Team A, one can narrow the field to four main areas.
These include gender, geographic differences, occupation and differences
skills and abilities. As one delves
into these issues, both the positive and negative impacts will be identified and
exploration, one finds that gender is an important aspect of team diversity, but
also a complicated one. When
discussing the intricacies of gender it is always beneficial to remember that
most statements are generalizations delivered by management and social experts.
Team A is comprised of one male and four females.
Thus far, there have been no conflicts stemming from this gender
difference. To ensure the
productivity and harmony among team members, it is important to root out
possible conflicts before they arise.
Lindsley G. Boiney, Ph.D., what separates the genders in team scenarios is their
motivation. Generally, in work team
environments, men place more value on clear objectives and definite strategies;
whereas, women are more likely to value strong communication (1).
This could possibly explain why men tend to focus more on solving the
problem and women focus more on the problem solving process.
Conflict may develop between the genders if either feels shortchanged by
the emphasis on the other gender’s values.
Hence, an effective way to discourage conflict within a team of mixed
genders would be to establish the importance of communicating frequently and
openly, while maintaining a clear objective.
Boiney was also quick to note that men and women deal with conflict
differently (5). Women are more
likely to search for a solution to conflict within a group, utilizing other team
members to facilitate resolution. Adversely,
men are more likely to isolate themselves as they develop solutions to
conflicts. To avoid the
misconception that one way is better or more effective than the other, it would
be advisable to implement team conflict management tools to enlighten team
members about the potential for conflict early in the formation of the team.
exploration of Team A reveals that there are vast geographical differences that
not only span great distances, but also cover two time zones.
Thompson, et al refers to this as the “different-place, different-time
model” and the authors identify e-mail as the main form of communication among
team members in this model (197). Another
form of communication that may prove useful is instant messaging, but time
differences must also be overcome. If
those in the Eastern time zone choose to meet at 7:00 p.m., this translates to a
6:00 p.m. meeting time for those in the Central time zone and may interfere with
dinner plans for those in the Central time zone.
If the meeting does occur, one faces the possibility that the meaning of
one’s message is lost in the interpretation, as the tone of voice and body
language of the speaker are lost.
Once again the
time zone differences come into play as members in the Eastern time zone may
have to wait for responses to questions from those in the Central time zone.
As a result, the entire process may be delayed, but this can also have
its advantages within the learning team environment.
If the team is running behind schedule for some reason, the team
effectively has extra time for posting its assignment as the time zones for the
team members determine the time the assignment is due.
With members falling into different time zones, the time Central time
zone would take precedence for the time due.
exploration of Team A continues, one sees that the members are all working
adults from various occupations attending a University with their own goals and
futures in mind. The occupations of
this group include a Director of Operations, a Finance Coordinator, a Financial
Analyst, an Administrative Assistant, and an Accountant. Although individuals in these positions often work together
within a business, the individuals may not have full comprehension of the other
Behavior refers to “the sum total of knowledge, expertise, and energy
available from organization members [as] intellectual capital” (79). As such, Team A can be seen as having high amounts of
“intellectual capital” and should provide the team with readily available
resources for completion of projects and team management.
varying backgrounds within the business environment may prove beneficial, there
is also the possibility that there will be negative effects.
Communication among members may prove difficult as the “business”
language used among different occupations can vary.
Maintaining good communication will be key to the success of the team.
The final factor
with great potential to affect team performance within Team A is differences in
skills and abilities. As a team,
each individual is equally skilled in the knowledge of standard business
applications such as word processing, presentations and spreadsheets.
PowerPoint software seems to be the most predominant application among
the group. Everyone has a certain
level of comfort conducting research, while one individual exhibits a natural
talent for the proofreading of grammar, spelling and sentence structure.
Each member brings a range of skills that, when combined, should enable
the team to produce the best work possible.
While the range
of skills and abilities of the team should prove quite beneficial, there is the
possibility that the overlapping of what the individuals perceive their skills
and abilities to be may cause friction among the members.
This effect was experienced by two of the team members in a previous
class as follows:
the members of Team A were teamed with a third individual in a prior class.
For purposes of this example, they will be named Fred, Eric and Mandy.
Fred and Mandy both considered themselves to be good writers and good
editors, so they tended to class when it came to those areas for the projects.
In an attempt to eliminate the situation, Fred eventually let the writing
be done by Mandy, while continuing to do the editing.
From this example, one can see
that having multiple individuals on a team with skills and abilities in common
may cause conflict. While there is
the possibility that there were other factors involved, if the overlapping had
not occurred, the problem might not have surfaced.
one reflects on this examination of Team A, it is important to note that not all
possible factors affecting the team were explored.
An analysis of a survey was used to determine that gender, geographic
differences, occupation and differences in skills and abilities would provide
the most impact on the team’s performance.
While there are both positive and negative implications from all factors,
the diversity of this team should give the members the ability to reach their
Lindsley G. Ph.D. “Gender Impacts
Virtual Work Teams: Men Want Clear Objectives While Women Value Communication”
The George L. Graziadio School of Business Management, Pepperdine
Leigh, Eileen Aranda, and Stephen P. Robbins.
Tools for Teams. Boston:
of Phoenix, ed. Organizational
Behavior. University of Phoenix
custom edition e-text. New York:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002. MGT331
– Organizational Behavior. Resource.
University of Phoenix. 7
April 2003 <https://mycampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp>