Sunday, June 19, 2011

Teamwork

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Since my only experience of working in a team is the first week of this semester I had a lot of arisen questions in this subject. The most basic one Is working in a team or working by myself more suitable for me? First I said “Working by myself, of course. I do not want to depend on anybody and I will not let anyone to tell me what to do” Then a sentence came to my mind Nobody is Perfect-But a Team Can Be” It made me think the whole problem over again. Working in a team should be efficient, but throughout preparing our business plan we did not achieve what we could have. As a consequence I decided to approach the issue from another point of view. I chose to look into the features of teams to understand our failures and to find out how could we develop our group at working together. Therefore I will write down what I have encountered.


First of all I will explain what is meant under the expression of team. Team is a special kind of group which member work together. (Later on I will use both the terms team and group as well.)Groups of human beings became a scientific problem with the appearance of capitalism. At that time not only the goods had been put on the market but personal capabilities as well. Of course it is the individual person’s free decision where, when, how much and for how much ‘to sell’ from himself. If we want to examine the nature and the functioning of groups we have to focus on their structure. Group structure is a relatively stable pattern of relationships among the differentiated elements in a group. Differentiations occur along several dimensions, of these the most important are status, power, linking, role and leadership.


Status is the prestige ranking within a team. It motivates the members to recognize that they behavior has consequences. It also makes the individual notice the differences between their own perception of themselves and how others perceive them to be. Furthermore we have to distinguish two forms of status Formal status refers to a collection of rights and obligations associated with a position, a distinct from the person who may occupy the position. Social status is the relative ranking which shows the value of a particular person as measured by the group. An individual’s formal status is based on hierarchical position and ability. Meanwhile social status is abstract and ascribed through the perception of others. Therefore it is always tenuous, it may be withdrawn or downgraded any time. Many people seek status in order to fulfil their need for self-esteem; group provides them with personal satisfaction. Similarly, the withholding of it can act as a group control mechanism to bring deviant members into line.


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The second dimension on which differentiation occurs is the power structure. Special individuals within a group are able to control the behavior of others and may have to if the team wants to achieve its goal. By having a power structure the group avoids continued power struggles which could disrupt its functioning.


On the basis of the preceding social power is the influence that one person expert over another. Influence is defined as a change in the cognition, behavior or emotion of that second person which can be attributed to the first. The relationship between individuals involves several power bases such as reward power, coercive power, legitimate power, referent power and expert power.


The third and also the most personal dimension is the linking structure. It refers to the way members disparate in terms of whom they like or do not like. The techniques of displaying patterns of human relationships depend upon personal choice and can be represented with a so-called sociogram. In order to produce a sociogram the members of the group have to be asked 4-5 questions. For example “With whom do would you like to work together on a project?’ or ‘With whom would you like to go to the movies during the weekend?’ Every person is permitted to make three preference choices for all the questions. Then both the mutual and one-way choices have to be presented on the sociogram. We would say that a team is well-balanced if everybody ‘liked’ everybody. Unfortunately it is not possible. Still we can say that the group is harmonic if we can find not only one star, many mutual pairs, trios and fours and none or very few isolates. People are designed stars who receive a large number of votes. People electing each other and are known as pairs. So-called isolates get only a few or no votes at all. Not only isolation but one-way attraction can cause misery as well?


How can we utilize the result? First of all we have to help the unhappy isolated group mate to adjust to his team work. We can also see who the people who enjoy each others company are. Their co-operative job would be very efficient since pleasant atmosphere promotes profitable outcome.


The question-What do social metrical choices depend on?-is still unanswered. Why are some people sympathetic and why are the others antipathetic? In this suspect great importance is attached to the ignorant functioning, the suppression. Sympathy is usually considered to be a variety of identification. It is meant to retrieve an important connection which had been earlier missing. (For example a father or mother role model) On the other hand for disliking someone is usually the other person not responsible at all. He or she has to pay for a fault not having proceeded. (For example if a boy hates the other one because he is more successful at the girls) In contrast according to the behaviorist comprehension the basic motivation is our personal interest. We like the people who satisfy our needs and give what we want and we disfavor those who hinder us or cause damages for us. Another way how we distinguish people is that we appreciate the similarities between our own perception of ourselves and how others perceive us to be. Usually we set great value of ourselves. It means that we will like those who esteem us.


The fourth dimension in which members of a group differentiate is the role structure. Most people have two roles within a group, the role they perceive that they should have and the role they actually enact. The aim is to encourage between the two. Team role is basically a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate in certain ways. It is shaped by personality and learned behavior. The famous Beblin Model says that there were nine possible team roles that a person can or should adopt Plant is a very creative person with a lot of ideas. The Resource Investigator is the most extrovert, he is good at making contacts which can help the team to develop. The Monitor Evaluator is shrewd, prudent and analytical. The Shaper is dynamic and challenging. The Co-ordinator enjoys resection among the others. He is mature and good at ensuring that talents are used effectively. The Implementer is practical, loyal and task oriented. The Completer Finisher is meticulous with attention to details he is also full of nervous energy. The Team Worker is very carrying and person oriented. The Specialist possesses high technical skill and professional as opposed to organizational prime loyalties. Some of these are natural roles and some are roles that a person can adopt if necessary and some are roles that a person finds very hard to adopt.


The fifth dimension I have not talk yet is the leadership structure. Leadership in a group is the performance of those acts which help the group achieve its preferred outcomes. As it was pointed out earlier, there are many jobs to be done in a group if it is to be both productive and satisfying to its members. Being a leader is a played role as well which can be performed by the formal leader or by the members. leadership/ management style these may be roughly labeled as ‘democratic’, authoritarian’ and ‘laissez faire’. A democratic leadership style indicates that all policies are a matter of group discussion. The members are free to work with whomever they choose, and the division of tasks is left up to the team as well. For autocratic management styles are the followings characteristic The policy is all determinated by the leader. Techniques and activity steps are dictated by the authority, one at a time, so that future steps are always uncertain for the others. The leader addresses the particular work task and work companion of each member. In the laissez-faire communication there is a complete freedom for group or individual decision, with just a minimum of leader participation. As it has been pointed out with researches the mentioned style is the least, the first is the most efficient, meanwhile the atmospheres looks like being the most favorable if there is democracy within the group.


Final important issues I will mention are the group effects. First of all we can say that a conclusion made by a team is more infallible hen that made by individuals one by one, since the mistakes extinguish each other. This tendency is true only fin case if all parts involved are competent in the given subject. The only problem is that nowadays it is impossible anyone to be competent in every question. Other tendency being recognized is that the opinion of the group member in group situation is always deformed. We can distinguish two kinds of deformations Group decision can be very extremist or conservative. Sometimes groups are very optimistic and they are willing to take risks meanwhile in other cases they are very deliberate.


Concerning the theories pointed out I have a clearer overview about our first week at IBS As we know status is the prestige ranking within the team. I think after 1or days we could not have talked about prestige, it is something that needs time to ‘grow’. People were seeking for status to fulfill their need for self-esteem. It hindered them from concentrating on their job. The same is true for the power structure. It started to distinct only by the end of the week.


Our personal choice about who did we like or did not we like was based only on our first impression. But we can not attach great importance to it because first impressions are usually wrong. I am of different opinion about many people I used to be at that time. Attractions did change during that one week a lot as well. It was a problem because people started to work together (on the basis of their first impression) and after a little while it turned out that they can not be cooperative.


After looking trough the nine possible team roles I can establish most of them had been enact but some very important such as Completer Finisher, Team Worker or Specialist had been missing. Maybe it is because these are roles which are hard to adopt and we did not even know that somebody should adopt them. Since we did not have a formal leader in our team a member had to perform this role. Fortunately there was a person willing to enact this role (but it took us for a little while to realize it). On the ground that there was democracy in our group everything was group decision and the leader was there to turn to with our questions and problems. Latter on it turned out the project was a lot more exhausting for him than for anyone else in the group. Being a leader means a lot of extra work


The theory of group effects was prevailed as well. I think everybody knew it should be very time-consuming to complete a business plan but as a team we decided not to start working until the middle of the week at all. So we had to rush at the end. I think finally we made a good plan, the problem was our presentation. We were not really ready for it on the given day .In summery, I think we could and will be a great team and I will be a team worker. We just had to learn from our mistakes and had to get to know each other, since everybody in our group is very different. For being a efficient team “not well-balanced individuals are needed but individuals who balance well together”.





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