The introduction: the fundamentals of managing organization and people
While discussing the role of a working team in management activity, I would like to start from the fundamentals of management and organizational behavior. First of all, it is necessary to point out that management includes a set of activities, which are related to decision-making processes. To achieve certain aims the organization should use its resources. The basic resources the organization possesses are divided into human, financial, physical and information.
These resources increase the organization’s chances to succeed. Moreover, they help to achieve a purpose in an efficient way. Efficiency and effectiveness are the basic criteria management of the organization is to be based on. Efficiency means the organization is to work in such a way its resources couldn’t be wasted; while effectiveness means performing the right things in a proper way at a proper time.
Of course, the person who carries out the management process is also an important element of the organizational structure. Thus, a person, who makes right decisions, organizes and controls numerous aspects of the organization’s activity, is a manager. I would like to point out that a manager distributes the organization’s resources.
The basic areas management includes are marketing, finance, operations, human resources, administrations, etc. The levels the management includes are first-line managers, middle managers, and top managers.
First-line managers are responsible for operating employees. Middle management implements the instructions of the representatives of the highest level. Top managers develop numerous management strategies, and set the most important purposes. The managers are also divided according to the area they work in. Marketing managers work with the customers and clients.
The services and products the organization can offer are the primary points the managers are interested in. Financial resources are investigated by financial managers. Operations managers observe and control the ways the services and products are created. Human resource managers are mostly engaged in the employees’ training and development. Administrative managers work in functional areas.
Management process includes organizing (the primary questions are the ways the organization’s resources can be used); leading (the most important points are related to motivation strategies to influence the employees’ desire to do their best); controlling (the central issues are based on the process of controlling the organization’s activities, etc. in order to facilitate or improve the purpose attainment); and planning and decision-making (the primary point is the best way the aim can be achieved).
Planning includes the analysis of the environment, the perspectives’ investigation, developing long-term goals, and setting competitive strategies. Organizing involves identification of tasks, clarifying the responsibilities, scarce resources search, and work with skilled personnel.
The fundamental management skills are to be based on the abilities to understand the specific type of the task, to communicate with different persons, to think in the abstract or to think differently, to use analytical abilities, to resolve conflicts, to think strategically. A skilled manager should take the most appropriate decisions various situations require. To be a good manager means to see various opportunities and to determine the problems correctly.
The key managerial roles include the role of the leader, the role of the spokesperson, and the role of an innovator.
Motivation and personality are considered to be the key personal factors the managerial success depends on. On the other hand, the relations with subordinates belong to situational factor, which is also of primary importance. Appropriate actions and luck are other constituent parts of the managerial success.
Generally, management is the science, which investigates rational and logical ways to solve a problem or some contradictions. On the other hand, management is recognized to be an art, which is based on time-management skills and various organizational strategies.
There are numerous management theories, which describe the ways to run the organization. Descriptive management theories are considered to be the most appropriate and widespread. Management theories help to point out the most important aspects of the organization’s activity, and to understand what things or aspects are to be neglected. In most cases, the theories are derived from personal experience, interviews, or laboratory experimentations.
According to the department of Finance and Management Science of Washington State University (2012, p. 1):
Management science represents a quantitative approach to solving problems in business. Management science practitioners apply a rich toolbox of mathematical and computer techniques to help make a wide variety of decisions such as the proper mix of products to produce, the number of tellers to employ at a bank, or the shortest travel route for a delivery truck to take.
The thesis statement
Management is a science, which represents a set of activities to achieve certain organization’s goals. The success of management strategies depends upon numerous aspects, including the responsibilities of top managers, the distribution of the organization’s resources, etc. Team work is also one of the key points effective management is based on.
The body: power & conflict, leadership & teamwork
According to Susan G. Cohen and Diane E. Bailey (1997, p. 242), ‘Work Teams are the type of team most people think about when discussing teams. Work teams are continuing work units responsible for producing goods or providing services’. There are supervisors who direct such teams.
Thus, they decide what is produced, and in what way it is produced. There are also the so-called self-managing work teams. Telecommunication team is one of the examples. Quality and productivity improvement, and the costs reducing are the primary aims of self-managing work teams creating.
The effectiveness of the work team depends upon the relations between the members of the team as well as effective strategies, the manager or the supervisor is to provide the employees with. The basic points the effectiveness relies on are the workers’ attitudes, and behavioral outcomes.
‘Environmental factors, task design, group composition, organizational context, internal and external processes, and group psychological traits are the parts, which impact on the effectiveness of work teams’ (Cohen & Bailey, 1997, p. 244).
To create a strong work team, the manager should keep in mind numerous points. For instance, the manager must define the roles of the members the work team consists of. Thus, every member should perform his or her own task. For this reason, the manager is to choose skilled people, in order they could cope with various tasks. It is also rather important to know more about every member of the work team.
The manager is to be interested not only in the skills the employee possesses; there is a need to become familiar with the employee’s personality, his or special needs or expectations. Lynne Gaines and Adelaide Wilson (2004-2005, p. 1) say that the manager should ‘agree on a mission for his or her group. Getting broad participation in goal setting can help employees understand how their work contributes to the organization’s success’.
One of the most important basic strategies, the manager is to follow is to reward the team. Team relationships are extremely important. The members of the team can get together in a casual atmosphere and talk about mutual interests. Ground rules establishment is one of the key points the effectiveness of management strategies is based on.
One more important issue, all work teams are familiar with is a conflict. The obstacle is to be carefully considered, as it causes decreased productivity. According to the website Morgancc.edu (2007, p. 1), ‘Conflict arises from differences. When individuals come together in work teams their differences in terms of power, values and attitudes, and social factors all contribute to the creation of conflict’.
Generally, there are different approaches to the conflict. Thus, direct approach means a conflict is to be discussed objectively. Bargaining is a technique which main aim is to find a compromise. Enforcement of team rules is also one of the effective ways to resolve a conflict; however, it is better not to use the technique, as interpersonal relations can be spoiled.
If one of the members of the work team doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest, the enforcement can take place. It is usually applied to an individual. Retreat is another effective method, which main purpose is to avoid a conflict if the problem is not real, and one of the members should cool off. De-emphasis is another common technique, which is used to resolve some contradictions. In other words, it reminds of bargaining, but there are more ways to find a compromise.
The basic steps of team resolution process are collaboration, mediation, and team counseling. There are also the Five-P’s of Conflict Management, namely perceptions, problems, processes, processes, principles, and practices. The first category is based on persons’ negative perceptions, which cause the desire to resolve a conflict.
The problems define the complexity of the conflict. Processes are also based on resolving disputes. Principles define the priorities persons are to rely on when a conflict appears. Practices determine the most widespread ways to seek for an answer.
Another important point I want to highlight is the notion of Leadership and Team. Mitch McCrimmon (2008, p. 1) states:
Employees with leadership potential see team effectiveness as a leadership opportunity. They realize that they will achieve more by working through and with others, that they will get more done with the active support of colleagues. The organization’s future leaders take proactive steps to improve the effectiveness of their teams.
The conclusion: the importance of interpersonal relations
The leaders stimulate other employees to think differently. In most cases, the interpersonal relations depend upon the strategies the leaders develop. The key points of team building are interdependence, goal specification, cohesiveness, roles and norm and communication. Peter Scholters (1988, p. 1) is of the opinion that ‘People should feel a sense of worth and involvement, where their ideas are heard and their contribution is recognized’.
The team’s objectives must correspond to the abilities of the employees. Mutual respect and support are the issues the team’s operability depends on. Scholtes (1988, p. 1) affirms that ‘It is critical to realize that getting promoted at higher levels is a lot like getting elected and not many people will give their support to backstabbers or selfish colleagues’.
Cohen, S., & Bailey, D., 1997. What Makes Teams Work: Group Effectiveness Research from the Shop Floor to the Executive Suite. Stanford.edu [Online]. Available at:
http://www.stanford.edu/group/wto/cgi-bin/docs/Cohen_Bailey_97.pdf [Accessed 02nd February 2012].
Gaines, L., & Wilson, A., 2004-2005. Teamwork: Tips for Managers. Rice.edu [Online]. Available at:
http://cohesion.rice.edu/campusservices/humanresources/emplibrary/Teamwork%20-%20Tips%20for%20Managers.pdf [Accessed 02nd February 2012].
McCrimmon, M., 2008. Leadership and Teamwork. Suite101.com [Online]. Available at:
http://mitch-mccrimmon.suite101.com/leadership-and-teamwork-a49791 [Accessed 02nd February 2012].
Morgancc.edu, 2007. Resolving Conflict in Work Teams. [Online]. Available at:
http://www.morgancc.edu/abm/curric/SG/Cert9/ABM_154/U2/step%205a%20article%20Resolving%20Conflict%20in%20Work%20Teams%20unit%202%20abm%20154.pdf [Accessed 02nd February 2012].
Scholtes, P., 1988. Team Building. Coaching-life.co.uk [Online]. Available at:
http://www.coaching-life.co.uk/pages/teambuilding.htm [Accessed 02nd February 2012].
Washington State University, 2012. What is Management Science? Wsu.edu [Online]. Available at: http://www.business.wsu.edu/academics/Finance/Pages/WhatisManagementScience.aspx [Accessed 02nd February 2012].