Modern work environment incorporates a great use of team work because of the higher level of effectiveness in performance that team work offers to the organisation compared with separate individual contributions. Team work has been given immense importance in research studies, such as by Tuckman in 1965 relating to the stages of team development and work. It is crucial to set targets of the team, organise teams, assign roles and measure performance of the team effort. The main reason behind using team work in organisations is to benefit from the different perspectives and insights that each member contributes to achieve the targets but working in a team is not an easy task at first. Business schools for this reason prepare their students to work in teams and learn to work out differences and make the best out of each other’s strengths. Working in teams has allowed our groups to achieve the target we were given quite effectively and successfully and we have found that working in a team is nothing like working individually on a project. But most useful thing that has come out of working in a team is to get a hint of how formal group work takes place in organisations which we all will be soon taking part in. Our team progressed which comprised of 5 members through the five stages of team development based on the team development theory of Tukman.
The first stage of forming began as the group first assembled and sat down to discuss the presentation assigned. The topic and related information that each member had about it was jotted down. Each member was asked to self-evaluate themselves relating to the grasp of concepts and based on the strengths of each, the roles were assigned informally and tasks were distributed. The group members were asked to further explore the topic and bring back to the next meeting any disagreement or contribution they have. The next meeting was much more heated with several disagreements as members discovered some new ideas and strengths for which they required separate tasks to be assigned to them. It was then understood that in order to settle down the disagreements a strong leadership was required and the one with the most effective communication skills and leadership skills, based on previous personal experience in the school, one of the members was chosen to be leader. This was the second stage: storming, where arguments were settled. The leader allowed the group members to choose the sub topics themselves, and a coordinator was chosen to transfer information and bridge all gaps among the group members and using minimum authority and avoiding strict control the members were requested to transform their ideas into writing and paper to bring to the next meeting.
In the next meeting, the leader evaluated each member’s work, in the form of drafts of the subtopics of the presentation. He evaluated the actual strengths and weaknesses of each member based on their work. The member were clearly communicated the evaluation and based on the analysis of the drafts prepared by each member, they were assigned new tasks, that is the subtopics that they were found to be better at. This resolved all conflicts and the team came into harmony. This was the start of the third stage: norming. By the end of this meeting, the leader gave each member the sources to make use of for gathering the information and requested each to use others if necessary and complete the content required for the presentation.
This marked the start of the fourth stage: performing. Members were asked to communicate with the coordinator, with each other and the leader at all times so as to help each other out, when needed. The leader communicated by now that these two essential components are to be kept intact and should be followed. Communication allowed social learning to take form among the members. During the perfuming stage, the members benefited from ‘communities of practice’ theory of learning.
Lastly, it requires a practice. The practice implies the performance to achieve the goals of the domain. This theory was largely depicted practically when the team started to function. The members communicated to each other, sought help from others whom they thought knew about something they didn’t and had access to a source they required to use for preparing their part. Some people had difficulty using powerpoint, which was settled by others who had expertise in that area. This allowed social learning to cultivate among all members. During the performing stage, several meetings were held, where each member showed and discuss his or her findings and progress of the work and allowed others to critique and suggest improvements. Viewing each other’s work, the members were able to improve their own work and learned how to better communicate. This allowed preparation for the presentation even before the preparation for presenting had begun.
Each member was given freedom to suggest and critique and explore new sources. This depicted the very important foundation of the management of the group which the leader had established in the earlier stage, empowerment. One by one each of us came up with excellent strategies for improvement and when the implementation period came, we were allowed to request any of the other members to assist us if we required any help. It taught an important lesson about ‘empowerment’.
The final stage was adjourning, when we were ready to deliver our presentation. At this stage, the group understood and learned several of real organizational lessons. In the group work several problems were faced which related mainly to what to include and what not to include as upon hitting Google, we found that the brands were common in news, blogs, research journals, newspapers, etc. thus, to find out which piece of information was necessary and relevant for the paper and which wasn’t was a challenge on its own. Our group leader was the most profound in this regard who created a system whereby each of us, with whatever information we obtained regarding the companies, was supposed to produce original reflections on it, and record it as we proceeded. By the end of week 1 of our research, we had gathered ample original reflections with their sources mentioned. These were peer reviewed to discover the ones not required and were discarded. When we began to prepare the report, the individual reflections came in great use in producing a plagiarism free report and citation was also easily conducted.
Being part of group work at three different areas, the group learned the successful traits of a leader, in terms of getting work done effectively from people to meet the deadline. The leaders’ job is not just to get the work done but to inspire the subordinates to do a work that is worth appreciating. Also, the team learned that through group work the importance of empowerment, and how well workers can work under decision making power vested on their hands and how well it eventually works out for the leader himself in the end. As the team progressed through stages namely: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning, a different form of group based learning and motivation took place which contributed towards the overall performance and accomplishment of the target assigned to the group.