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Essay on Management Concepts

A work group or team provides the forum within which people interact, develop relationships and a common approach and goals emerge. Before a team is able to fulfil its tasks it must go through the stages of development where there tasks will be completed. There Tuckman (1965) believed in four stages of team development, forming storming, norming and performing. Although these stages are clearly defined by Tuckman(1965) and Dwyer (2001) there is no clear definition of these steps and the process can sometimes find itself being repeated. However the steps that all teams must go through in order future develop in the forming stage. If the correct management style is implemented in these stages than there can be increase in the groups overall efficiency and performance. There are many suggested managerial styles however this essay will focus on dominating, obliging, integrating and avoiding.

This stage occurs when a team is established and the team members begin to interact. While this stage is characterized by uncertainty relating to teams purpose, structure and leadership, the members of this team find themselves testing there behaviour to see what is acceptable. This can be done on a conscience or unconscious level where the team members may find themselves doing this process instinctively rather than premeditated. This will occur in a highly structured team with clear rules laid down within this team. Within a highly structured team members will also begin to establish the real purpose of the team. Often this real purpose of the team will differ from its apparent purpose. In a team that does not follow this highly structured team style, members will place great importance on attaching to the groups leader as members look for the support, guidance and direction. Although there are two types of teams, highly structured and laissez-faire, both will place a strong premium on setting out task responsibility and deadlines (Barrick & Mount, 1991). In this early stage of development, there is also a clear lack of openness or willingness to divulge or reveal emotions between team members.

This is likely to be caused by the umbrella or shield phenomenon which is positively related to the forming stage, but it may be exasperated by the cultural context or by the organisation and its support for or discouragement of certain attitudes and behaviours(Hersey & Blanchard, 1969). It is also important during this forming stage that these initial steps of a team’s development are dealt with sensitively. With this concept of the forming stage of team development, it has been widely argued that a collaborative style of management as well as an avoiding style of management style is required during the first phase. This is because neither style on their own can be appropriately adapted to the characteristics that a team would display in the forming stage and therefore does not produce the full potential of a team that is required during this very important phase(Goldberg,1992).

During the forming stage of a team there are two management style that are reflected, integrative and avoiding styles of management. The integrative style that is adopted by various managers is characterized by a high concern for both oneself and others. The integration style requires people to work together, mutually solve problems and find solutions that are satisfactory to all members. Assertiveness is a skill required in the integrative style of management because individuals need to stand up for there needs while at the same time respecting other team members.

The avoiding management style is associated with a low concern for oneself as well as for the other party involved in this early stage(Maes & Weldy 1997). The avoiding style would not be frequently preferred by those high in moral development because it serves to prolong an unsatisfactory situation however, individual at the lower stages of moral development would implement the avoiding style during the forming stage of a team development to shelter the individuals emotions and feelings from the other team members (Harris & Moran, 1996). As this management style would not be the dominant or preferred style of management to be used, it would only be needed in conjunction with parts of the forming stage where members avoid trying to divulge large extent of their personalities and emotions or where there is a lack of honesty(Ford & Ford, 1995). As a manager’s job is varied and complex during theses early stages managers need to switch between these suggested managerial styles to create a balance for team members, so that they can flourish and move into what is known as the storming stage of development.

A team experiences conflict throughout all the stages of team development but when conflict initially emerges the group has reached the storming stage(Wilke & Meertens 1994). Conflict can arise due to the style of leadership that the team has developed, the groups goals or the way they are being achieved or how individuals perform or feel in the team (Hargie & Dickenson,1999). Group characteristics, traits or personalities can also cause conflict where inclusion or exclusion of an individual can occur leading to some members being segregated from the team decision- making process. Although group rules can be laid out in a highly structured team during the forming stage, personal agendas or a lack of commitment to the groups goals can also arise during the storming stage. The storming occurs in a team because positions in the team emerge and there may be an element of conflict as vie for the leadership. This may be due partly to the resistance to the control that the team imposes on individuality (Bass, 1985).

There may be differences of opinion and difficulties may affect relationships. Interest or splinter group (Vroom & Yetton, 1973) may form and there is a great deal of micro political activity. If the team is required to complete a complex or strenuous task a greater chance of ill feeling and arguments surfacing. It is during this storming stage that teams decide how they will operate (Barrick & Mount, 1998). It is done by covert communication and the major issues that are explored are concerned with control, including questions about the way in which control is exercised and the effect it has on the team. It is a paramount that these issues are addressed, since successful resolution of the differences may determine whether the team is able to progress to a more advanced stage of development. Those team members who are skilled in micro political activities tend to be highly active during this phase. These members will develop relationships with influential people, while others develop coalitions on the basis that there is strength in numbers. Some team members will try to make themselves indispensable by choosing those activities or responsibilities that are critical to the team.

As a consequence the organisational realm or organisational underworld becomes more active in this phase, and particularly in more permanent and high profile teams due to the conflicting attitudes that surface during the storming stage(Dwyer 2001). One phase of the storming stage focuses on the leadership of the team and suggests that a dominant or assertive style of person will emerge and take charge therefore a dominant style of management is necessary to take control and to ensure that there is the appropriate level of focus and performance that will be needed in the later stages of development(Goldberg, 1992).

The dominant style involves a high concern for oneself and low concern for the other party involved during this conflicting stage of the team development it has been identified with a win or lose orientation or with forcing behaviour to wins ones position.. When the power relationships within the group is asymmetrical, a more powerful party may impose its will regardless of what is right. (Harris & Moran 1996). Regardless of this power balance, the dominating-style behaviours such as intimidation, the use of power or force are associated with this storming stage. Dominating may resolve a matter sooner rather than later but it is more likely to be a one-sided, short-sighted, and short-lived solution. However this one stage of management would not be the one suitable style during the storming stage as it is widely argued and viewed that if there is going to be a dominating style of management then a compromising managerial style is also required to create a balance and keep performance levels up.

As performance will suffer if ill-feelings occur amongst group members as a result of the storming stage and dominate style a second style is required. A compromising style of management, which is characterized by moderate concern for oneself and for other team members, is sometimes ethically appropriate. A team member who is correct in his/her decisions but happens to be the weaker Party to a conflict may have little choice in the final decision (Bass, 1985.). Ideally, disputants would eschew compromise in favour of integration (Maes & Weldy, 1997). However an integrative solution cannot always be found.

When there is a strong sense of group identity and camaraderie and the group demonstrates cohesiveness the team has reached the norming stage. As the group members interact with one another, similarities and differences arise and members begin to match their capabilities with aspects of the tasks at hand. In this stage relationships between group members emerge as group norms or acceptable behavior, attitudes, work patterns and related behaviors arise. This is what is known as norms, which are acceptable standards that are shared by the team members. Norms generally relate to levels of effort and performance. This is because the group must develop a common approach to tasks and the idea of shared goals is present at the development of working goals.

Members are often supportive of other members and the group becomes cohesive and even tolerant of one another’s differences. This is in order to deal with problem solving and decision making, and to verify any goals that were put in place, as members need to express themselves through this stage. The norming stage is also used to develop and identify the necessary actions and activities needed to achieve the goals. There is also a development or extension of the skills of the necessary tasks involved in obtaining the goals and to help with the later stage of performing and therefore an obliging management style is most appropriate in enhancing group process. The norming stage is complete when the group’s structure solidifies and the group has assimilated a common set of expectations of what defines correct members behavior

With this concept of the norming stage, it is considered that an obliging style of management is the most appropriate to enhance the group as the norming stage is a crucial stage, as groups become cohesive and begin to work on common goals. A management style that does not hinder or damage the cohesiveness of the group is required. An obliging managerial style involves low concern of self and high concern for other members and is most suitable in the norming stage as it is able to improve the efficiency and performance levels of the team. Wilke (Group Communication, 1994) believes that there can be an increase in overall group productivity and group potential if the correct management style is put into place in early phases of group development and when there is a strong sense of group identity. He believes that when manager present their consideration and decisions and invite their subordinate to pose question and to consider all members in this stage that the group can become superior. Barrick & Mount (1991) suggest that there is a positive relationship between participative decision making and outcomes concerning performance among managers and subordinates.

When the group’s structure is fully functional and accepted and is actually achieving or completing the task at hand, then the team has moved into what is known as the performing stage (Ford & Ford, 1995). In this stage the team can be characterized as focusing on its productivity, as the efforts of the group are directed towards goal attainment and performance. Interdependence of team members occurs in this stage as team member’s focus on problem solving and tasking to achieve the goal of the team, as the members enact the roles they have accepted. Cooperation is the word of the day at this level of team performance as there is an acceptance of delegated tasks by the team members. At this advanced stage of team development, there is consideration for both individual and team performance, this creates an involvement in decision making by members(Byrd, 1997). This heightened sense of both individual and team contribution does not occur at the other three levels of team development, as individuals can be seen as anti-team development by members of the team. This advanced stage of development, fosters the understanding and awareness that team orientated(Vroom & Yetton, 1973). As the team performs the task, whilst still maintaining a balance between working and maintaining interpersonal relationships within the group. The basic structure of the group or team is no longer an issue by this stage but has become a mechanism for accomplishing the purpose of the group.

In the performing stage there is an acceptance of tasks and effective interpersonal relationship which all contribute to the integrative style of management. Hersey ( Hersey, P & Blachard, K.H) argue that the integrative management style is concerned with the idea of reaching a solution acceptable to both parties and is most useful when there is openness among group members and when there is exchanging of information. This managerial style enhances team performance as it is able to harness the phases of performing without hindering the process. Wilke (Group Communication, 1994) argues that “integrating management style enhances group performance when there is an increase in cooperation and acceptance among group members and when the group is achieving at its maximum. Managers are able to influence other members to implement high performance among the group.”

Tuckmans model simply helps us to understand that teams are dynamic, and it draws attention to some of the complications that might occur during the team’s life. Robbins notes that teams do not always proceed clearly from one stage to the next. In fact several stages may be going on simultaneously. Evidence suggest that if teams implement management styles that correlate to the teams stage of development, there can be a positive increase in the teams overall efficiency and performance.

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