The purpose of this paper is to examine the team dynamics and structure of the learning team composed of Kisha Merrell, Jennifer Pace and Parrish Monk. This paper will look at the team’s stages development, management, structure and its dynamics. Stages of Team Development In accordance with Bruce Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model (Tuckman cited on http://www.businessballs.com) our team is at the performing stage. During this stage a team is more strategically aware of what its mission is and how to adequately accomplish their mission. Moreover the team has a shared vision and is generally self-sufficient and works autonomously with little to no supervision. This definition of the performing stage characterizes our team; especially in light of our team’s recently changed dynamics.
During the first few months our team has changed in its structure and dynamics with the loss of two members and the addition of a new member. However, with the respective workload and accompanying deadlines our team has not had the luxury of an intricate or extensive period of time to consciously proceed through each process or stage of team development. Incorporating a new member (Jennifer Pace) our existing team (Kisha Merrell and Parrish Monk) sought to get to know Jennifer better in a brief, non-formal setting during one of our regularly scheduled group meetings. During this meeting and in light of the context of this assignment our team set out to formally examine our team dynamics, structure and team processes. This examination served two functions. The first function was getting to know each other better whereas the second function was to complete the assignment by conducting a full team analysis.
In respect to Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model (Tuckman cited on http://www.businessballs.com) our team concluded that we were at the performing stage of team development because we were directed and working toward accomplishing our tasks. Secondly, our team concluded that Tuckman’s development model was not “set in stone” and that our team, because of the nature of our class structure, would traverse each stage in a random order consequently surpassing the traditional step-by-step development. Our team concluded that we would always seek to get to know each other better as characterized by the forming stage but did not have to accept the idea that there would be a high level of disagreement and conflict to accompany the process.
Furthermore, our team discussed the fact that our team charter, the conditions of our work assignments and the nature of our team would help avoid interpersonal conflict that is characteristic of the storming stage. Likewise, our team did not agree with the assessment that a clique or group would or could form in a team of three people. We did acknowledge the fact that through the process of familiarization and working together on a team that certain team members may have more in common or be bond more closely however, this “grouping” behavior would not interfere with our team since we were mission oriented.
This concept of “team building” is highlighted in many team building exercises; especially those more closely related to corporate and sports type team. Our team predicted that each future meeting, although directed and purposeful, would probably be spent getting to know each other and that interpersonal conflict may arise in the future but were not at the moment a foreseeable reality.
Team Process Management Team management strategies are the lifeblood of the team. They impact development, establish norms, identify roles, and support cohesiveness. These processes are paramount to a teams’ success or decline. As such, the University of Phoenix MBA team comprised of Parrish Monk, Jennifer Pace, and Kisha Merrell has implemented specific management strategies for each process.
Development Management The development of this group spurs from successful team augmentation and performance in a prior class for two of its members. An invitation was made to incorporate the other member, which included an orientation on the rationale of the existing teams’ formation; the need for sensitivity to family obligations with a drive for best results MBA program commitment and completion. The shared value each member places on family and the MBA program is a direct correlation to the team composition. Due to the immediate requirement to produce, the team developed a respectful open communication policy. This openness and candor enabled the team to traverse the various stages of the team development cycle in efforts to quickly progress to the performing stage.
Norm Management The establishment of acceptable behavior in the group, norms, was achieved through open communication regarding expectations of each group member and inaugurated during the team formation stage. The established norms support the foundational team construction rationale by requiring members to address areas of disagreement in a respectful manner within the team and to respect the best results program initiative by informing team members of issues regarding task completion assignments. The norms were incorporated into the team charter as representation of agreement amongst all team members.
Role Management In recognition of the need for leadership and the growth and development goals of each team member, two specific roles were identified and listed in the team charter: Project Leader and Secretary. Each team member will be given the opportunity to perform each role and its associated responsibilities, as the positions will be alternated for each team assignment. Cohesiveness Management The high level of cohesiveness of this team is resultant from its capitalization on member similarity, team size, member interaction and team success. Our member similarity is value based in regards to family and MBA program commitment. Our team size facilitates quick agreeable goals and work implementation strategies. Routine meetings and checkpoints enhance our member interaction. And finally, our collaboration and individual contribution makes the team very productive.
Team Dynamics and Role Execution Individual personality traits become more apparent overtime through participation in group activities. The recent formation of this team has not permitted a full assessment of the traits each individual has and how that affects the roles a person assumes. Nonetheless, each member has acted in various task-oriented capacities in accordance with alternating the roles of Project Leader and Secretary as defined in the team charter. The Project Leader role often incorporates the activities of initiator (identifies goals), information giver (provides information about tasks and goals), information seeker (solicits for more or clarity of information), and orienter (e.g.: maintains focus on goals). The Secretary role fulfills the activity of the summarizer (e.g.: captures essence of events and meetings).
Relationship oriented roles are not assigned as they depend on interpersonal skills aimed at resolving conflict, encouraging participation, and complimenting the contributions of others (McShane-Von Glinow, 2002). Such roles are fulfilled through the innate or learned behavior of the members on the team. Kisha has performed the team functions of Project Leader and Secretary. She demonstrated strength as an initiator, information giver, information seeker and orienter.
Parrish also has executed the Project Manger and Secretary roles proving exemplary skills as the information seeker, information giver, harmonizer, gatekeeper, and encourager. And the evidential testament of Jennifer’s endowment of talent in the areas of information seeker, information giver, summarizer, and encourager were witnessed in her fulfilling the Secretary role and participation in group task dialogue. The varied skill sets of each member is complimentary and instrumental in best results assignment completion.
Team Personality Profile based on Jung’s Psychological Types After taking the Jung’s Psychological Types assessment, our team was overall an ENTP, (Extraversion, Intuitive Perception, Thinking Judgment, and Perception). We came to this conclusion by taking an average of each person’s personality type and compiling the majority. Our individual personality types are as follows: Parrish’s assessment showed him as an INTP (“I” standing for Introversion), who brings to the team ingenuity, invention, and intellectual quickness (Lawrence, Ph.D., 1993).
Kisha’s ESTJ type personality (“S” standing for Sensing Perception, and “J” standing for Judgment) brings to the team a greater sense of order and practicality. Kisha is an assertive thinker, and pushes to get things done and working smoothly and efficiently (Lawrence, Ph.D., 1993). Jennifer’s assessment showed her as being an ENFP (“F” standing for Feeling Judgment). The strengths that Jennifer brings to the team are creativity, flexibility, openness and a belief that any obstacle can be overcome.
As a team we see strengths as an ENTP unit. Fair treatment of member is important, as well as flexibility and adaptability. Our learning team meetings are made light by inspiration. We are all individuals and feel the importance of giving each person “elbow room,” autonomy. Finally we as a group find ourselves enthusiastic of new projects and promoting their benefits (Lawrence, Ph.D., 1993). Our weaknesses are demonstrated in the personality traits that we least comprise (ISFJ). We tend to exhibit weakness by getting distracted and having the propensity to get off task when trying to get to know each other.
Sometimes it is evident that we are lacking procedures and consistency in meeting times and days, which could cause problems. A member who is more rigid with a desire for control over situations could balance out our team. (Lawrence, Ph.D., 1993). Overall, to take advantage of strengths and overcome challenges member should be willing to go through personality typing exercises and share results with each other in order to take advantage of resources on how to deal effectively with each other and deal with differences in a respectful manner (Huszczo, 1999).