Oxytocin is a brain chemical that is released
by the brain during sexual orgasms. What is unorthodox is, the same reaction
occurs when people work together in a good team. Sathlas,
et al, (2000) defines teamwork as, when a group of individuals are “interacting adaptively, interdependently, and
dynamically towards a common … goal” in cohesion. Functional teams
make way for effective performance management to be embedded in the
organisation’s culture. This is “the continuous process of improving
performance by setting individual and team goals which are aligned to the
strategic goals of the organization” (Armstrong, 2017). The correlation
between the two would be critically examined in the following paragraphs,
acknowledging various factors such as; task conflicts, industry dynamics, the
concept of groupthink and relationship conflicts, with the issue at hand being
the nature of this link.
Initially, teamwork within an organisation
leads to the prevalence of healthy competition within and among teams.
“Cooperation supports synergy while competition fosters invention and choice.” (Christopher M.
Team members would voice their ideas without hesitation and this results in
task conflicts. This “increases group members’ tendency to scrutinize task
issues and to engage in deep and deliberate processing of task-relevant
information. This fosters learning and the development of new and sometimes
highly creative insights, leading the group to become more effective and
innovative” (De Dreu & West, 2001; Jehn, 1995). Therefore, team goals are
directly aligned with that of the organization’s as task conflicts restricts
the team from deviating from task objectives. This gives rise to better
effective performance management, supporting the claim of positive correlation.
Secondly, industry dynamic trends such as
collaborative spaces in the workplace instead of cubicle set-ups allows
employees to collaborate more and make team work more convenient. Research
conducted by the CEO of the Swedish digital innovation agency, Unicorn Titans’,
Oscar Berg, surmised, “56% pointed out collaboration-related measure as the factor that will
have the greatest impact on their organization’s overall profitability”. This
aids in the achievement of organisation’s marketing objectives of increasing
profitability as collaborative team spaces and work assists in the development
of effective team goals.
Another trend is the precedence of virtual
teams over traditional ones. The difference between the two is, “a virtual team
works across space, time and organisational boundaries with links strengthened
by webs of communication technologies” (Jessica Lipnack,
Global software companies like IBM and SAP have well rounded virtual teams, which
allows their employees to engage in flexible working practices which is a
contributing factor to their success. Research conducted by Frank Siebdrat and
his team, evaluated the performance of 80 global software companies. The
conclusion they came to was, more dispersed teams often outperformed “co-located”
teams (2009). Ergo, this validates the positive correlation between team work
and effective performance as flexible working practices enables employees to
decide on the location and hours that is of utmost convenience to them.
Therefore accommodating the accomplishment of team objectives in line with the
On the contrary, there are a number of
factors which undermines the claim made initially about the existence of a
positive correlation between teamwork and effective performance. The psychological
phenomenon of groupthink is one of these factors whereby “the characteristics
and consequences of de-individuation contain forces which provoke a negligence
of risks” (Hart, 1994). “Whether or not
group cohesion was really at the root of groupthink” (Mark Schafer, 2010) was assessed by
Irving Janis, as there is a tendency of the group members to go along
heedlessly with what the leader suggests without a difference of opinion. A
more classical reference of this would be The Pied Piper in Hamelin by Robert
Browning (1888), which is “analogous to the psychosis of groupthink” referred
to as the “Pied Piper Syndrome” where “the elders and the children committed
delusional decision making” (Wilcox, 2010). Hence, limited
scrutiny of tasks by the members lead to ineffective decision making as the
pros and cons of the decision are not analysed and weighed properly before
going forward with it. This would lead to inefficiencies and wastages within
the organisation resulting in team objectives not being met promptly.
Accordingly, leading to the un-accomplishment of organisational objectives,
which directly opposes what effective performance management warrants.
Additionally, another factor that questions
the positive correlation is relationship conflicts. Task conflicts between team
members, which was discussed above are imperative to the overall achievement of
objectives and health of the organisation. However relationship conflicts, “about
personal taste, political preferences, values, and interpersonal style” (Carsten K. W. De Dreu, 2003), is detrimental to
the harmony and unification of teams, which is a deterrent towards effective
performance. In consideration of this, conflicts within the group are “bound up
with lower productivity due to high claims of time and energy used up by the
conflict” (Pelled, 1996), (Janice
This misappropriation that could be appropriated to the task and team
objectives instead, adds on to the team ineffectiveness and the inefficiency of
the organisation as a whole. To surmise, “Relationship conflicts were shown to
have a negative impact on task performance” (Jehn, 1995), (Janice Langan-Fox, 2007). This validates the
negative correlation between team work and effective performance as task
objectives are not achieved to carry out the raison d’etre of the organisation.
The factors presented in the above paragraphs
indicate either a positive or negative correlation between the two key
variables of this research paper, team work and effective performance. The
author’s conclusion is, the correlation between the two is positive in nature.
A sound argument has been made in the fourth and fifth paragraph against this
assumption. However what weakens this resolve is, conflicts though destructive
in actuality is essential to foster a competitive nature within an
organisation. Any organisation consists of departments or teams made up of
individuals with contrasting views from one another. The concept of group think
is not expedient to this conclusion because, though the uniformity and
“we’re-all-in-it-together” atmosphere is agreeable and goes along with the
notion of “ikigai”, a low proclivity towards questioning and raising doubt,
limits innovation. Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha, the Nigerian author says, “Healthy curiosity is a great key in innovation” and
innovation is the path to victory in the ever evolving business environment.
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