Groups and Teams Essay

A high-performance team is a group of individuals with the same goal.

  This team contains all the necessary skills to succeed in reaching a goal.  Because teams are self-supporting, this allows for teams to rely on each other for information sharing and problem-solving.  Cultural diversity, if embraced, can bring strength to the team. Cultural diverse teams are one of the biggest advantages in today’s business world, if one can unlock the team’s potential.  The success or failure of either can be highly dependent upon various issues. Synergy, demographics, and cultural diversity greatly influence how a group becomes a high-performance team, the behavior of the team, and team dynamics.Groups must posses and demonstrate strong values, mutual commitment, diverse skills, and creativity to become a high-performance team (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p.

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294). Values represent an individual’s perception of what they feel is right or wrong. They are reflective of a group’s standards, beliefs, and principles. The values of each group member affect their attitudes and behaviors when communicating and interacting with the group. For example, a group of people is assembled to complete an analysis on the growing trend of child obesity in today’s society.

The group consists of one Hispanic, one African American, one Asian, and two Caucasians. In their initial meeting, the group discovers that each member has numerous viewpoints on the subject. Member’s opinions are based mostly on their cultural backgrounds and upbringing. In turn, this enables the group to approach their research in different ways.Commitment refers to the act of obligation to a specific duty or undertaking. Group members must be committed to the attainment of performance objectives to ensure success (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p. 294).

Although each member may have a different task to focus on or accomplish and is accountable for their own performance, they may still be dependent upon the group to successfully complete the project. At New Beginnings Academy, a government-funded Texas preschool, the director has brought together a group of teachers that are responsible for educating the students. In order to receive funding from the government, each year the school must pass at least 70% of the pupils on to kindergarten. When one teacher fails to execute all objectives in the syllabus for their class, the school suffers as a whole. Without the total commitment of each teacher to the primary goal, the school will not receive the necessary funding. Skills refer to the aptitude to learn new things and the capacity to apply them appropriately and proficiently. Groups should be comprised of members with a variety of skills, including the ability to think analytically and critically and the ability to interact or communicate effectively in a group setting (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p.

294). For instance, at fast food restaurants, each job description requires a certain set of skills. Cashiers must be able to manage the cash drawer, receive customer’s orders, and accurately process monetary transactions. Cooks must be able to read quickly, contend with several incoming orders, and understand the procedures for handling food properly. Both positions are required to interact with each other to fulfill customers’ orders.While these jobs require different skill sets and abilities, each job is dependent upon the other to accomplish the goal of serving the customer in a timely, satisfactory manner.

Creativity can simply be described as the ability to create. It is one of the most important assets of any group and a key means of conveying fresh ideas and viewpoints (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p. 295).

In a group lacking creativity, the exchange of ideas is often stale and repetitive, with concepts that are mostly salvaged and recycled. Evolving into a high-performance team requires a group to demonstrate values, commitment, skills, and creativity.Group behavior is considerably impacted by demographic characteristics and cultural diversity.

Gender, race, age, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, and sexual orientation comprise workplace diversity and demographics (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p. 25-26). The ability to collaborate on a project, despite their differences, is an important aspect for an effective team. Once members have the opportunity to recognize and understand their differences, along with their strengths and weaknesses, they will be able to capitalize on the diversity within the team (Tata and Prasad, 2004). When employees feel their demographic is properly represented throughout the group and organization, they will express this through their attitudes, behavior, and productivity.

Conversely, diversity is not always a welcomed factor in a team. Some individuals carry their personal stereotypes and prejudices with them into the workplace. Team members may be disrespected or treated unfairly based on the color of their skin, physical disability, or sexual orientation. Moreover, team members may form cliques based on the same rationale. This dysfunctionality within the group results in poor performance and low productivity.

Undoubtedly, lacking mutual respect for each other will result in minimal effort in accomplishing the team’s goal. Thus, demographic characteristics and cultural diversity are major influences on a group’s behavior.Demographic characteristics and cultural diversity contribute and detract from team dynamics. It is imperative for organizations to diversify the groups in their workforce. A homogeneous team consists of individuals with similar demographics and culturally diverse backgrounds (Biech, 2001). Interaction is generally facilitated by these similarities, which results in members forming relationships rather effortlessly.

In a group, being able to relate to each other on a cultural or demographic level is a definite advantage. Consequently, because the members have similar backgrounds or demographics, there is generally a shortfall in regards to the group being able to offer various perspectives and inventiveness as a whole (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p. 297). A heterogeneous team is the opposite of a homogeneous team. It is made up of individuals with dissimilar demographics and cultural backgrounds.

With a diverse group working as a team, individuals are able to contribute varied opinions, skills, and methods of resolution. They may not always agree with each other, but this typically leads to innovative ideas and productive discussions. At the same time, this can also result in numerous delays and decreased productivity in the initial phases of a team’s development. However, once these variances are worked through, the team is able to establish itself as a working organism, dedicated to working together towards a common objective (Schermerhorn et al.

, 2005, p. 297). Successful teams are capable of making the most of the diversity and demographics in their group structure.Groups and teams are more important than ever to the success of many organizations.

When members work toward the attainment of shared goals and objectives, it is beneficial for both the employees and the organization. The process of a group becoming a high-performance team, along with its behavior and interaction are significantly impacted by teamwork, demographics, and cultural diversity.ReferencesBiech, Elaine. (2001).

The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Team-Building Tools: Best of the Annuals. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001.Schermerhorn, J.

R., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R.

N. (2005). Organizational behavior (9th ed.).

New Jersey: Wiley.Tata, Jasmine and Prasad, Sameer. (2004).

Team Self-Management, Organizational Structure, and Judgments of Team Effectiveness. Journal of Managerial Issues, 16.


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