Critique of Teamwork

Published: 27th May 2007
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Teamwork is usually considered an important factor especially in a workplace. This report however, points out the significant problems and difficulties that are experienced while building teamwork among individuals. In a broader perspective, it shall consider issues such cultural and personal differences, differences in future prospects, professional and workplace issues, social differences, education levels and gender disparities. Communication barriers, lack of training of employees on teamwork poor commitment from all stakeholders undermine the spirit of team work (Dyer, 1995). It will also consider factors such as differences in political and religious beliefs. Finally, the report will highlight the failures of organizations to draft viable policies to govern teamwork building and the arising of environmental trends for example workplace harassment among others.

Cultural Differences
Cultural differences involve the diversity of an individual in terms of certain beliefs considered to a taboo or unwanted in his or her community. In some communities for example men and women do not sit in a round table and purport to discuss anything. It can either be either purely men or women only depending on the issue to be discussed. Since this company is gender sensitive and it has employed almost and equal number of both men and women with such cultural background, it will not achieve its intended objectives by building on teamwork.

Going Off On Digressions and Other Tangents
This is diverting from the common objective of teamwork. It is possible for members of a team to ignore what had brought them together and start discussing other topics which are not meaningful to the company. In a manufacturing company like this, the most important thing in jump starting the profitability is to ensure total commitment of all the employees in the company. This can be easily achieved via an individual coaching and performance monitoring by the company. However, in a teamwork situation, the monitoring and analysis of such levels is difficult because some lazy guys will be hiding behind hardworking individuals.

Individual Character
The common problem with teamwork is the failure to reach a consensus on very important issues. It may be caused by a few members who are either not patient or are just more action -oriented than others in their natural being because they are likely to exert pressure on the other members to accept their decision. This group of members will be making decisions too quickly for the rest of the members which are contrary to the principles of meaningful teamwork. Good decisions are usually achieved over a common understanding by majority of the members and a unanimous agreement on the matter.

Difficult To Account for Mistakes Committed
By giving a team an opportunity to provide a solution to a specific problem or issue, it is creating a much bigger problem of trying to account for any consequence that may arise as a result of the decision adopted. Every member of the group will defend himself or herself from any accusation because he or she is sure that the decision was arrived at through consensus.
Future Career Prospects
Every person in this company has his or her own individual career plan for his or her future prospects. Most people either would be planning to move out of the company to pursue other options in life. Such career prospects in life will automatically affect the teamwork spirit among the employees in such a way that the morale required to propel teamwork objectives will not possible. Some employees may see no future in the manufacturing sector especially in an organization such this which is at the brink of collapse at the moment.

Social Disparities
Differences in individual social life among the employees in the company are a major factor that affects teamwork spirit. Such disparities as in the way some employees consider themselves to be having a better lifestyle than others will somehow erode the relationships among themselves. Every body considers his or her lifestyle as the best to be adopted by others. In most cases conflicts arise when people take different perspectives in social issues such as homosexuality, lesbianism and other social issues. These are frequent sources of conflicts in a team especially when they are taken at a personal point of view. In the long run the organization will require the service of a counselor to provide psychological advice to workers who may be affected emotionally because of the actions of other teammates.

Risky Shift
It is referred to as the tendency of a team to come up with conservative decisions rather than accurate ones compared to what an individual in the group would have come up with if asked to provide a solution to a problem single-handedly. In teamwork, some individuals who hold a moderate point of view tend to believe that their teammates hold stronger and extreme views than them. They will eventually adjust their positions in view of the ones perceived to be superior-a conditional phenomenon referred to as a groupthink. This is normally a dangerous and risky way of working things out especially where critical thinking and consultation is required. The consequences of risky shift are adverse and severe hence individual performance is preferred in such situations.

Individual Responsibilities and Duties
In any manufacturing company, every worker is entitled to perform different duties at a time. Some could be in the production section, others in the packaging section while others will be at the sales and marketing section. All these sections require individuals trained on a particular and specific sector in order to perform his or her duties effectively. To bring all these groups of people to a single teamwork will a tedious job since everybody will argue that they have nothing to discuss. After all, they work under different sections with different instructions hence there is difficulty for them to work together.

Floundering means the difficult in getting on well with an individual. In a case where a manufacturing company like this recruits workers may on a monthly basis, it indicates that there will be new employees joining the already formed groups every month. This will mean that a sense of suspicion will arise among the members. Most original members may not recognize the contribution made by the new member. On the other hand, some members will not be free to share what they have in mind for fear of criticism.

Poor Management and Leadership Skills
Leaders are normally adamant about getting information from their junior colleagues and whenever they receive any, they are either brushed off or just neglected. In teamwork, every person's point of view should be taken into account. The reality is however different from what is expected in that some team leaders and coordinators tend to push for their own views to be accepted by the other members. Shapers and plants in teamwork are responsible for brainstorming the members of the team but they normally abuse this responsibility (Maund, 2001). They become very critical, imaginative and complicated to the extend that the rest of the team become dormant and finally fail to see the relevance of them being in such a group since they contribute little.

Feuding Between Team Members
In any teamwork conflicts are likely to arise which relate to a specific job or project that is either being done in the company or outside the company. Some members may be dishonest to their colleagues especially on sensitive issues that touch the all group. The human resources officer in a company for example knows all the employees' personal life, level of education, salary grade etc. if such information which is usually confidential is made public, the reaction could be negative and conflicts may arise. This impedes the progress of the whole team.

Lack of Motivation and Incentives
Performance of any employee is directly proportional to the benefits that come in line with working for an employer. Poorly paid workers normally provide a very low output. In that case incentives and other compensation benefits have been used to boost the performance capability of these employees. Just like productivity, team work success depends on the amount of motivation one gets in order to take much interest in being part of the team. Such benefits could be Christmas gifts, birthday cards, holding of end of year parties among others.

Lack of Communication
For effective realization of the benefits of teamwork, there should be a well coordinated form of communication. Communication has been considered a gateway to high productivity of any organization. But due to first, the diversity of individual employees in terms of their places of origin, language barrier will make it difficult to build a sound team work for this company. Unless all the employees learn how to communicate easily with one another, it will be difficult to start a team building initiative for this organization.

Workplace Harassment
Use of abusive language, isolation of specific workers may be because their disabilities, performance record, sex or place of birth will hinder the efficient formation of teamwork.
Workplace harassment practices such as sexual harassment are so inhuman that it results in the breakdown of individual and team relationship in a company (Dale, 2001). Harassment is not only directed to junior employees but it directed to a senior member of the group. The consequences of workplace harassment and surveillance are normally severe in that it results in mental, physical and emotional illnesses.

Political and Religious Differences
Political and religious differences among the members in a group contribute to the breakdown of teams and individual relationships. Tough talking religious groups which are considered to be having strict stands on specific global issues are usually considered to be bad. Our Muslim brothers for example are looked down upon by protestants or other religious groups as trouble makers and inhuman. Such kind of believes will make teamwork not to work at all in a diverse company such as this because most of the employees belong to different religious backgrounds. Political differences are also a factor in determining how members in a tem perform unnecessary arguments in most cases come up when important matters are being discussed in a group. Such issues might be the current political developments in the U.S, the elections in Germany, France or the conflicts in Iraq etc.

Lack of Policies and Training on Teamwork
The strongest impediment to the success of teamwork is the lack of policies to govern its formation, coordination and implementation. The result will be obvious, disorganized groups, frequent conflicts and longer time to settle out assignments as required. However, to document and successfully implement such a policy is a nightmare as it involves the commitment of all the stakeholders involved in building up a sound teamwork.

Difficulties can arise at all levels of teamwork building i.e. at the formation, building and implementation stages. These difficulties are so critical that they need to be addressed at length before deciding to adopt them as a way of improving productivity. In the long run it will lead to the breakdown of individual relationships which affect their productivity in general at the company. From the discussion above, it is clear that teamwork only costs the company more damage than good if any.

Craig Willis is an associate staff writer. Upon graduation, he started a career in research paper writing and has been providing quality custom term papers. His specialty subject is psychology research papers and literary essays

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