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How Crucial Is Teamwork to Successful Change Management

Autor:   •  November 12, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,667 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,110 Views

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It may be cynical to suggest that organisational development is littered with theories and suggestions that will radically transform organisations, likewise, with teamwork and team building, this may be one of those that has become a one-size fits all. Managements often latch on to initiatives more often out of desperation rather than analysis, in this assignment, I will argue that effective teamwork is helpful rather than crucial to successful change. I will look at the history of teamwork from the classical to the human relations approach. I will examine intervention theory and ask the question is teamwork crucial to successful change. Following this I will examine the makeup of teams and teambuilding.

The background to teamwork

The roots of teamwork lie in the Hawthorne or human relations experiments that took place in the 1920s and 30s. At the time, the classical approach was to emphasise close management of staff, the need for discipline and the exercise of authority. It believed that workers were motivated only by the highest possible wages. The outcome of the Hawthorne experiments was to provide a different approach to understanding the behaviours of workers in the workplace. They suggested that workers go to work to satisfy a complexity of needs, including social and group needs. The motivation and performance of staff are influenced by the informal organisation, this has been referred to as "humanising the organisation" Mullins (1999).

The so-called neo-human relations approach writers compounded the theories of worker motivation. Although developed for a social context, Maslow developed the hierarchy of human needs contending that if the specific needs of humans were satisfied they would perform better. Likewise, Hertzberg asserted that once the hygiene factors were in place attention must be given to the higher needs, which are development of the individual and work content. This school of thought has been instrumental in promoting the belief that workers desire personal growth and want their jobs to be interesting and challenging.

Herein lies the opportunity for organisations that want to change, the opportunity to tap into the abilities and higher needs that exist in the workforce.

Teambuilding interventions

What is intervention? Argyris (1970) has defined it as "to intervene is to enter into an ongoing system of relationships to come between or among persons, groups or objects for the purpose of helping them". Intervention is about improving organisational effectiveness. Argyris is father of intervention theory and the foundation of his theory is that the organisation should learn to solve its own problems. For interventions to be successful, there must be free choice in that the solution has not been prescribed by the intervenor.


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