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  • In preparation for this discussion board,  keep Chapter  9  of Brewer and Westerman  (2018) in mind.  On page 166 of the text, Brewer and Westerman  offer a Case Study about Southwest Airlines.  Read the Case Study carefully.  Respond to the questions at the end of the Case Study (below).  Additionally, your response should include direct connections to research within the chapter.  

    Your original post should be 350-400 words.  Further, you should respond to, at least, two classmates posts (100-150 words each).

    Questions to consider:Would you be happy in such an organizational environment?
    How much structure do you need to be comfortable?
    What do you think of the idea of employees coming first?
    How do you directly apply research on team/group characteristics to the Southwest Airlines Case Study?

Chapter 9: Teams: Face-to-Face and Virtual

1

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Introduction

Teams and committees are commonplace in organizations

Making teams productive and satisfying is a challenge for leaders and workers

Member expectations influence team processes and outcomes

Challenge for team leaders is manager from the point of verbal creation to the end point of dissolution

2

Case Study: The MacIntosh Pirates

Steve Jobs felt stifled in his attempts to help the Lisa team at Apple, Inc. and formed his own “Macintosh” team

Jobs hoisted a “pirate” flag with an Apple logo on it to set the tone for his team of creative recruits

Jobs inspired and empowered his team and took risks with his behaviors

Macintosh became famous, and Jobs credited his team for its success

What is your opinion of how Jobs created and managed his team?

Teams – What Are They?

A team represents a group of people with different abilities and responsibilities, brought together to accomplish a task or variety of needs

Teams require players to work together

Functional perspective of teams includes assumptions:

Members are motivated to make the best choices

Choice to be made is nonobvious

Members have access to information/resources necessary to complete the task

Members collectively possess cognitive and communication skills to deal with decision-making/problem-solving

4

Types of Teams

Primary Work Groups

Employees formally assigned within an organization

Committees

Team of people charged with implementing an organizational plan

Task Forces

Teams put together for a short time, usually to accomplish a specific task

Focus Groups

Groups or teams put together in order to discuss specific issues within the organization

Technology, Social Skills, and Face-to-Face Teams

Digital Natives

Those born since the 1980s, have never known a world without computers, cell phones, 24-hour-a-day television or the Internet

Digital Immigrants

People who were born before the advent of digital technology who are entering the digital communication arena

People are more connected now than ever before but on a more superficial level

Both Natives and Immigrants often need to fine-tune their interpersonal social skills

The Virtual Team

Members engage each other locally, regionally, and globally without being face to face

Members primarily function in cyberspace, creating both advantages and disadvantages

Technologies such as Skype have created low-cost ways of connecting

Allows for both verbal and nonverbal interaction

7

Team/Group Characteristics

Case Study: Southwest Airlines’ Success

Southwest decided to make flying fun and less expensive, so they built their team by hiring for attitude and then trained for skills

Put employees first and customers second

Open to learning from their mistakes and adapted as necessary

Less structure, but hard work still expected

What do you think of the idea that employees come first?

8

Team Job Design

Job Design Theory (Hackman and Oldham, 1975)

Teams are most effective when they possess these 5 factors:

Skill variety

Task identity

Autonomy

Significance

Feedback

Cohesion and Loyalty

Cohesiveness

A sense of unity can develop as team members gain understanding and insight about one another and begin successfully completing tasks

Loyalty

A loyal team member is committed and faithful, devoted, and feels a sense of obligation to the team

Framing and “Fantasy”: Important for Group Cohesion

Interaction that gives group work meaning is often related to fantasy

Members can draw upon past experiences to make work more fun and imaginative

Leaders can use fantasies or frames to help members feel a sense of involvement or identification

Trust

Necessary element for effective teams

Refers to reliability and predictability of group members

Nonverbal communication helps us to determine whether to trust

Since nonverbals can be absent in virtual teams, it can be difficult to interpret a message

Nonverbal communication awareness is important for relational success

Efficiency in Teams

Accomplishing tasks with the least amount of resources in the least amount of time possible under given circumstances

Lack of efficiency is one reason people hate working in teams

Teams can be more creative, bring more skills to solve problems, create employee engagement

Motivation

Represents what drives us to accomplish tasks

Shared sense of purpose creates more motivation in teams

Leaders are challenged to determine how to motivate individuals differently in teams

Synergy

Motivated employees who work together create something greater than what individuals working alone could have accomplished

Can happen both negatively and positively

Teams must push to focus on shared outcomes

Fairness: Finding a Reasonable Solution

Sense of fairness felt by employees impacts their efficiency

Treating everyone equally does not always put everyone on equal footing

Treating everyone fairly can put everyone on equal footing

Feedback and Listening

Employees and organizations alike should be learning and growing with training and experience

Team learning

Transforming knowledge and information in a way that promotes skill development and new understandings

Feedback

Positive or negative responses to our behavior

Norms

Expectations of behaviors in the organizational environment

High performance norms are critical to the success of teams

Virtual work groups rely heavily on communicative norms

Groupthink

Faulty decision-making of a group, where groups do not consider all of the possibilities because they sacrifice quality decisions to promote unanimity

Happens when:

Groups have become very cohesive and don’t want to risk harming sense of unity

Group is under time constraints that cause them to rush the process

Devil’s advocate

Someone assigned to argue against the cause for the sake of the group

Diversity

Teams, especially those that are virtual, can include coworkers from across the globe

Individuals bring unique characteristics to the relationship

Team members may lack understanding of different cultural values and expectations

Netiquette

What is considered ethical behavior when using the computer, especially when on the Internet

Satisfaction

Social networks show us it is possible to have satisfying relationships without being in physical proximity to one another

Too much virtual interaction may decrease satisfaction with the work environment

Opportunities to interact face-to-face may be important for some

The Impact of Technology on Teams

Technology creates expectations in everyday life and in the workplace

Technology has changed the way people communicate

Technology can be incorrectly used and abused

Technology can not only facilitate understanding and efficiency but also create misunderstanding and unrealistic expectations

Voice Mail

Useful when the recipient listens to the messages

No guarantee that messages are heard

Standard landlines and, thus, voice mail is still a useful communication tool for connecting to all areas of the world

Teleconferencing and Videoconferencing

Rise in telecommuting means connecting through telephone or video is increasingly important

Videoconferencing allows for interviewing options

Both are vital tools for interacting and developing relationships with coworkers

Computer-Mediated Technology

Case Study: Instant Gratification Expectations

Sam works late one evening and emails Janika

The next morning, he still has not received an email response and thinks she is punishing him because she is unhappy with him

Sam sends a message to their boss, criticizing Janika

A few minutes later, he receives a reply from Janika indicating that her child had been sick and that she is grateful for his work

Email can be damaging and destructive if not used thoughtfully

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Email

It is often assumed that email messages will receive a quick response because people are expected to be “connected” 24/7

Thoughtful use of email is important; it is easy to send an email too quickly

To avoid an email that is a flame, print it out before you send it and give it to someone else to read

People are bombarded with these easy types of messages

Employees can fall victim to continuous partial attention

Case Study: Oops, I hit reply all!

Wayne has been a top three sales rep who often took the initiative to do extra tasks that he was not paid for

Rajan, the CEO, did not like Wayne and sent an email to a regional sales manager with a negative message about Wayne

Rajan accidentally hit ”reply all” and Wayne received the message

The relationships of all involved changed as a result of the email

What would you do if you were Wayne? What would you do if you were the regional manager who received the email?

Faxing

Faxing has become less inviting and less necessary to use

Documents can be emailed in PDF form, which is faster and more secure than sending a fax

Social Networks

A real part of both personal and organizational life

Many organizations are utilizing social networks to connect with customers and each other

Many social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, VoIPs, and more provide many tools for organizations

Organizations are creating positions to manage social network accounts

Timing and Culture

How one understands the use of time is related to cultural expectations

Monochronic time structures involve focusing on one activity at a time

Cultures that are monochronic include northern Europe, North America, Germany

Polychronic time structures involve juggling a variety of tasks at one time

Cultures that are polychronic include Latin America, the Middle East, Japan, France

Context Matters

For-Profit Organizations

Very small amount of these types of organizations represent American society

Small Businesses

Entrepreneurial businesses typically have smaller teams

Nonprofit Organizations

Teams may consist of both paid employees and volunteers

Government Sector

Federal government is the nation’s largest employer

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