High Performance Work Teams Term Paper

Pages: 20 (6596 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 25  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … teams to undertake many operations and projects. Creation of teams and team building are important first steps that the management has to recognize. There are many advantages and benefits to using teams in the modern workplace. Teams of any nature go through different stages of development and capabilities. Management then has to ensure that the focus and the dedication of the teams are maintained whenever and wherever teams operate.

This study addresses the impact of High Performance work teams. Research in the field of understanding self-managed work teams and their effectiveness in improving productivity and performance indicates that there are two schools of thought. (Tata & Prasad, 2004) Research on the first indicates that high performance work teams can be influential in improving the productivity and the profitability of the organization. The second shows that executive management and associated governing bodies have to constantly monitor team performance. While doing this, management also has to be aware that in some cases self-managed work teams can cause more harm than good. There are also other factors at play. These are organizational values and culture. Both can affect the manner in which self-managed teams are created and operated. Different ways of decision making, trust and mutual respect and levels of team member accountability can also help improve the morale and performance of the team.

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Self-managed teams when functioning properly can offer great levels of flexibility, higher productivity levels and better quality. There is the possibility however, that these teams can get self-absorbed in their own mission and lose sight of the goals and missions of the organization as a whole. Labor and employee requirement is an important intrinsic factor. It affects the internal environment in an organization. In recent times, with the workforce becoming more knowledgeable about its rights, and the management increasingly focusing on keeping its workers happy, the balance of power has shifted in large part from the management to rank and file workers undertaking the task. Management has always (or must) realized that the human element can create the most variability in the system.

Term Paper on High Performance Work Teams Assignment

Discussion team is defined as a group of people that have complimentary skills and a higher commitment to common goals. This group of people also possesses a higher degree of interdependency and interaction. By virtue of this, the group is able to offer great levels of flexibility and knowledge to the organization. (Olson & Branch, n.d.)

High Performance work teams (HPWT) are generally implemented in an organization as a way of improving and increasing work skill and worker flexibility while at the same time offering a forum by which the work can be trained and developed at all times. (Thompson, Baughan, & Motwani, 1998) Self-managed teams are defined as teams that maintain a high degree of collaboration. These teams manage their operations and agendas with a focus to make themselves high performing. There are many advantages and challenges to using teams in organizations. Organizations are moving to flatter and more dispersed structures. These structures are better suited to team working. There are also many internal factors; for instance, the microenvironment of the organization that also needs to be analyzed prior to setting up teams within an organization. Teams have their own individuality and style -- just like people. and, local culture and values can also play a significant role in the creation and operation of teams. In a global environment, and with many organizations having operations in more than one location and country, high performance work teams are no longer restricted within a set geographical boundary.

Team diversity can promote thinking out the box. Team diversity can also help introduce different points-of-views in discussion and decision-making. Often, individuals get set in their ways of thinking and reasoning. While this is not always harmful to the individual, it can be detrimental to the team setting if team members are not able to view the situation from another person's objective. The team members should also be team players and work in coordination with each other. Any significant deviation from the prescribed standards by any person - no matter how innovative, creative, or potentially productive - detracts from the overall functioning of the organization. Selecting a team leader who is dedicated to the mission of the team but at the same time able to focus on the overall goals and aims of the organization is essential. It is important the team leader be able to constantly communicate the team members as well as the executive management the conditions that exist and the possible options that are available.

Often, when teams are perceived to be well managed, senior management have a tendency of ignoring symptoms and sign of discontent and drift in the HPWT when they arise. (Levy, 2001) When HPWT perceive that management does not address their issues and concerns, they might begin operating in isolation. This can result in the workers not being exposed to the actual conditions that might exist in the company as whole. Often, executive management is more likely to focus its concerns and attention on issues, which they can use to gain attention. In organizations where teams are cohesive and close-knit, HPWT might intentionally keep the management in the dark with respect to problems and issues that the team might be facing. When the management is unaware of the problems and issues they might not plan or focus on the issues being faced. Self-managed teams need the complete support and understanding of the management during the entire team period.

HPWT also need, at regular intervals, an influx of new ideas and thoughts to ensure that the team members do not in their isolation lose sight of the objectives of the organization or the changes and new inventions that might exist out of the organization. Self-managed teams require that the members constantly develop and update their skills. The commitment and dedication required by the team members has to be high when self-managed teams are concerned. It is impossible to throw a group of people together and expect them to work perfectly and comfortably with each other without adequate training and orientation of the members selected. Training and orientations should generally be provided during the initial stages of the team formation where the members are still in the learning stages of the dynamics of the team.

Self-managed work teams are generally set up for individual projects and for the analysis and launch of new products or projects. These teams have clear and definite role- division and expectations. There is no overlap of roles between team members. Additional coaching and advice may be required form personnel not directly associated with the team. It has been observed many times, that team members too close to the heart of the problem or concept lose the big picture. These members may often have to undergo a significant refocusing of the goals and objectives. Self-managed teams learn to prioritize the time spent on any task. In these teams, tasks are divided into easy and manageable bits, which all team members can tackle. Brainstorming and collecting ideas and proposals for any project helps the team identify the tasks required to be undertaken to complete the project. Periodic evaluation of these ideas and the progress of the project are also carried out by good teams.

Training and education of the team members in HPWT is important. Often, HPWT are dedicated to custom products or services that the organization might be manufacturing. "Teams and training programs are complementary." (Adams, 2002) it is observed that a self-managed work team is more valuable to a company if the types of products manufactured are of high volatility and the product life cycle is short. Organizational learning and understanding the power bases for future success of the company is important. Employees will have to understand the importance of multiple skill development in addition to the need to understand the impact of a decision on other aspects of the business. Understanding the financials goals of the company and the need for planning and scheduling is important in a worker-empowered organization. Knowledge management and labor management are one of the defining assets for any modern organizations. Knowledge management is especially gaining importance due to the fact that many midlevel management jobs have become redundant. Consequently, the worker is being made more accountable.

Developing and supporting HPWT in manufacturing

The ability of any organization to channel the organizational talent and obtain the best from its human resources is important. Of all the resources in the organization, channeling and developing the human element is the most difficult. Creating an effective team is an art as well as a science. Organizations are constantly changing and evolving. Building an effective team starts by selecting diverse members with a variety of complementary skills. Building teams is difficult. It takes experience, knowledge of human behavior and motivation, social and organizational dynamics and the type of industry in which the organizations operates to be able to put together a team that can be truly effective… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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