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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION

VOLUME 3, NUMBER 1, 2015

Developing High Performance Teams:
Long-Standing Principles That Work

Fred C. Lunenburg
Sam Houston State University

Melody R. Lunenburg
Education Consultants, Inc.

Abstract

Few trends have influenced jobs more than the movement to introduce teams in the workplace.
Building effective teams requires long-standing principles regarding stages of team development,
member roles, norms, status, size, and cohesiveness. Teams develop through the stages of
forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Members may assume task-oriented,
relationship-oriented, or self-oriented roles. Teams develop norms to regulate and guide member
behavior. Status inequities can create frustration and adversely affect productivity. The size of
the team depends on the task performed. Cohesiveness can influence a team’s productivity or
not, depending on the team’s performance-related norms. Team members and leaders need to be
mindful of the potential team dysfunctions including social loafing and groupthink.

The next time you use an Apple computer or see an ad for one of its new products, the
iPhone for example, it is important to recall the history of the original Macintosh. A team created
it. The Macintosh team, led by Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was composed of high-
achieving members who embarked on an exciting, highly challenging goal. In a separate building
removed from corporate bureaucracy flying the Jolly Roger, the team worked 90-hour work-
weeks at astonishingly low pay. After three years of labor, the result was the birth of the Mac in
1983. It represented the collective expression of a cohesive, hard-working team. The Mac sold
faster than any PC that preceded it and marked a turning point in the history of the PC
(Linzmeyer & Linzmeyer, 2004). Product innovation continues to be a hallmark of Apple
Computer, Inc. (Cruikshank, 2005). And that is what teams in schools should be all about.
Schools likewise place great value on innovation and adaptation. Schools are continually
seeking new ways of delivering subject matter to all its students. Among the many current trends
and developments in education, none is more important than the various attempts to close the
achievement gap among underachieving students. To meet the demands to educate all students,
the best schools mobilize teams in their quest to reach their full potential as high-performing
schools (Bulach & Lunenburg, 2011). Teams in this sense are an important component of the
human resources and intellectual capital of schools (Klein, 2014).

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groups can be classified as friendship groups or task groups. Groups emphasize individual leadership. Facebook. goals. The primary purpose of this article is on types of task groups. friendship groups are now being enhanced electronically. Teams emphasize shared leadership. Table 1 highlights differences between groups and teams. and individual outcomes. and continuing interaction (Homans. For example. A task group is created by leaders to accomplish certain organizational goals. On the other hand. A friendship group develops informally to satisfy members’ needs for security. . mutual accountability. which can be classified in many different ways. esteem. and collective results. Apple computer continues to revolutionize technology with its product innovation. the work and performance of Steve Jobs’s teams that launched the Macintosh computer in 1983 and the iPhone in 2007 were synergistic (Isaacson. Blogger. but not all groups are work teams. Groups do not develop positive synergy that would result in an overall level of performance greater than the sum of the inputs. A single group in a school organization may serve both friendship and task purposes. including the iPhone launched in 2007 now in its sixth iteration. All work teams are groups. A team is a group of people with complementary skills who work actively together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable (Katzenbach & Smith. 1993b). Most people belong to groups. teams over time develop synergy by combining the actions and behaviors of team members. Twitter. YouTube. and belongingness. individual accountability. Teams interact with a degree of interdependence and motivation which result in performance that is greater than the sum of the individual inputs.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 2___________________________________________________________________________________________ Groups and Teams A group is two or more people who have common interests. MySpace. 1993a. Table 1 Differences between Groups and Teams ______________________________________________________________________________ Key Dimension Groups Teams ______________________________________________________________________________ Goals Share information Collective performance Synergy Neutral (sometimes negative) Positive Accountability Accountable to leader Accountable to members Skill levels Random and varied Complementary ______________________________________________________________________________ Groups interact primarily to share information and make decisions to help each member perform his or her task. and instant messaging are all electronic means that are used to form and nurture friendship groups. such as the Macintosh team that launched the Apple computer in 1983. commonly known today as teams. A friendship group may evolve over time among coworkers. Moreover. For example. 1959).

not suppressed. Conflict needs to be managed during this stage. One widely cited model of team development assumes that teams pass through as many as five stages of development: (a) forming. Forming Storming Norming Performing Adjourning Figure 1. Generally. LUNENBURG AND MELODY R. (b) storming. and (f) adjourning (Tuckman. as a result. team behaviors differ and. LUNENBURG ___________________________________________________________________________________________3 2011). The team cannot move into the third stage if team members do not handle conflict effectively. At each stage. and duties within the team. 1965. this stage is complete when individuals begin to view themselves as members of a team. hiring different people over time).. relative priorities of goals. FRED C. Members share personal information and start to get to know and accept one another. structure. (d) performing. Tuckman & Jensen.g. resulting in a varied mix of skills. Groups are accountable to a leader and often are randomly formed (e. It is characterized by uncertainty and confusion about the purpose. and leadership of the team. Coalitions may form to influence the team’s goals. 1977). Teams are internally accountable to one another and each member’s skills complement those of the other team members. roles of team members. and leadership of the team. Interaction. Stages of Team Development The performance of a team depends both on individual learning and on how well the members learn to work together as a unit. each stage can influence the team’s end results. (c) norming. nevertheless. is courteous and cautious. and team leadership. Identifying the stage a team is in at a specific time can be difficult. Storming The storming stage is characterized by conflicts over tasks. This stage is complete when there is mutual agreement about who will lead the team. means of attainment. among team members. it is important to understand the development process. Forming The first stage of team development is forming. Stages of team development. roles. Team members tend to focus on efforts to understand and define their objectives. . These stages are depicted in Figure 1.

Many team members may feel a compelling sense of loss after working so hard to get along with one another and accomplishing something. Romanelli & Tushman. & Blount-Lyon. Team members are ready to focus on accomplishing its key tasks. of course. Teams that are more adaptive tend to be more successful.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 4___________________________________________________________________________________________ Norming While the storming stage is characterized by conflict. 2007). The five-stage model (forming-norming-storming-performing-adjourning) is intuitively appealing. 2004). 1994). To accomplish tasks. award ceremonies. project teams. mock funerals. For example. and graduation can provide recognition for participation and achievement. research indicates that not all teams proceed through each of the stages (Mannix. The structure is stable. Adjournment can be eased by rituals celebrating termination and new beginnings. task forces. The team develops a sense of cohesion. Roles and responsibilities become clear and accepted. For temporary teams. and similar teams. such as ad hoc committees. as when teams are storming and performing simultaneously (Peterson & Behfar. Teams occasionally regress to previous stages. Further research indicates that teams with deadlines for goal accomplishment did not go through a series of developmental stages. Teams that encourage diversity on the team tend to be more able to adapt. Nor do teams always proceed sequentially from one stage to the next. Neal. Adjourning The final stage of team development is the adjourning stage. such as the development of a new faculty evaluation system within six months. and well-functioning unit. 2003. The job is completed. has a well-defined point of adjournment. Performing The performing stage of team development marks the emergence of a mature. it is now time to move on to other tasks. . however. Some teams. Research has indicated that teams that proceed through the developmental stages successfully seem to outperform and sustain higher levels of performance when compared to teams that do not (Bushe & Coetzer. organized. Members have developed common expectations about how the team’s goals should be accomplished. diversity of viewpoints rather than consensus is supported and encouraged. Parties. 1989). They have developed a feeling of team spirit. a team created to examine and report on a specific issue. 2012). The storming stage is complete when team members agree on standards to guide behavior in the team. the norming stage is marked by cooperation and collaboration. Leaders can take this opportunity to emphasize valuable lessons learned in group dynamics to prepare everyone for future team endeavors (Lunenburg & Ornstein. Instead. In fact. However. they alternated between periods of inertia in which very little was accomplished and periods of frenzied activity in which the team proceeded rapidly toward its goal (Gersick. are permanent and never reach the adjourning stage. 1988. some teams may engage in more than one stage at a time. this stage involves preparation for disbanding.

Saltz. 2009. sometimes at the expense of the team (self-oriented roles). or practicality of other members' suggestions. The relationship-oriented role of a team member involves fostering team-centered attitudes. FRED C.  seeking information to clarify suggestions and obtain key facts. . This role may include:  initiating new ideas or different ways of considering team problems or goals and suggesting solutions to difficulties. Postrel. (Hellriegel & Slocum. 2006). issue. or task. Parker. 2007. 2014). size. & Lau. 2013. effective teams have characteristics that shape members’ behavior and help explain and predict individual behavior within the team as well as the performance of the team itself. & Senior. role differentiation occurs. emotions. Swailes. LUNENBURG AND MELODY R.  giving information that is relevant to the team's problem. and coordinating members ' activities. Each team member has the potential of performing each of these roles (Bales. Coget. Lim. including questioning the logic. Klein. Chandler. and cohesiveness. & Morgeson. To accelerate their own development. 2004). and still others serve individual needs. including modification of team procedures. & Mayer. status. Characteristics of Effective Teams Well-functioning. and social interactions. and  evaluating the team’s effectiveness. Some roles can be classified as those that are focused on achieving the tasks of the team (task-oriented roles). p.  harmonizing and mediating intra-team conflicts and tension. The task-oriented role of a team member involves facilitating and coordinating work-related behaviors and decision making. 1950. Some of these characteristics are roles. However. & Pogson. norms.  coordinating and clarifying relationships among ideas and suggestions . Various roles are necessary to coordinate the team’s task and maintain the team’s functioning. other roles build and maintain favorable relationships among team members (relationship-oriented roles). behaviors. This role may include:  encouraging members through praise and acceptance of their ideas as well as indicating warmth and solidarity. facts. LUNENBURG ___________________________________________________________________________________________5 In sum. 367) Relationship-oriented role. that is. Team Roles There is no universally agreed-upon framework of team roles (Aritzeta. Manning. whenever members of a team come together to work on a common task. pulling ideas and suggestions together. team members may find it useful to know what characteristics help create successful teams. 2009). patterns of behavior for each member develop that tend to become repeated as team activities ensue (Shani. Task-oriented role. the five-stage model should be used as a general framework but not as a perfectly accurate depiction of how teams develop. Manor. This classification forms the foundation of most other models of team member roles (Humphrey.

Other norms remain informal. and  avoiding involvement by maintaining distance from others and remaining insulated from interactions. The self-oriented role of a team member involves the person’s self- centered attitudes. and assessing team progress in light of these goals. reporting on personal achievements. 1984). Norms may be defined as the informal rules and shared expectations that teams develop to regulate the behavior of their members (Ehrhart & Naumann. (Hellriegel & Slocum. including boasting. 1992). and interrupting the contributions of others. and unreasoningly resistant—for example the person may repeatedly try to bring back an issue that the team had considered carefully and rejected. behaviors. pp. and decisions that are at the expense of the team or group. Some norms become written rules. such as a student attendance policy in a public school or a code of ethics for school administrators. and  following by going along passively or constructively and serving as a friendly member. An adept person who manifests behaviors valued by the team likely will have high status—rank of a member in a team. This role may include:  blocking progress by being negative. 2004. Team Norms Did you ever notice that teachers in one school practically race the students to the exit door the instant the dismissal bell rings.  seeking recognition by calling attention to oneself.  expressing standards for the team to achieve or apply in evaluating the quality of team processes.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 6___________________________________________________________________________________________  encouraging participation of others by saying. Effective teams are composed of members who display both task-oriented and relationship- oriented roles. 367-368) A role may be defined as the behavior a person is expected to display in a given context. do you agree?”. stubborn. “Let’s hear from Susan” or “Why not limit the length of contributions so all can react to the problem?” or “Juan. manipulating the team or "certain individuals” using flattery or proclaiming superiority to gain attention. A team dominated by individuals who exhibit self- oriented behaviors probably will be ineffective. norms exist only for behaviors that are important to the team (Fehr & Fischbacher. raising questions about team goals. Feldman. 367) Self-oriented role. and in various ways avoiding being placed in a presumed inferior position. because they fail to address team goals and the need to collaborate. 2004. . Hackman. p. 2013. whereas their counterparts in another school seem to be competing to see who can work the latest? These differences are due partly to norms.  dominating by asserting authority. Furthermore. (Hellriegel & Slocum. but somehow are known by team members. 2013.

or a friendly personality. For example. Norms are frequently evident in the everyday conversations of people in the workplace. “There is no point in trying harder on our team. and consistent with. 2001. norms are required.g. LUNENBURG ___________________________________________________________________________________________7 A key norm in any team is the performance norm that conveys productivity expectations of team members. “Don’t worry about padding your expense account. 2011). and any other attribute valued by the team such as personal appearance. dress codes). money. everyone does it here” (negative). and promotions should be allocated). resource allocation norms (e. administrators and supervisors really care about people they supervise” (positive). “On this committee it’s dog-eat-dog and save your own skin” (negative). grade-level team. (Schermerhorn. Feldman. A culture evolves concerning performance (Bulach & Lunenburg. & Osborn. FRED C. 1984. Other norms are important. and students. 2014. Teams commonly have loyalty norms (e. people are always looking for better ways of doing things” (positive). people hang on to the old ways even after they have outlived their usefulness” (negative). members always try to work hard (positive). a high-performing school sets productivity standards above organizational expectations. how status symbols. Teams also commonly have norms concerning how to deal with colleagues. “In our school. interpersonal skills.  High-achievement norms—“On our team.  Support and assistance norms—“People on this committee are good listeners and actively seek out the ideas and opinions of others” (positive). organizational expectations.g. pay. assist other members). appearance norms (e. “In our school.  Organization and person pride norms—“It’s a tradition around here for people to defend the school when others criticize it unfairly” (positive). team. 200- 201) Team Status Status is the relative social position or rank given to an individual. experience.g.  Improvement and change norms—“In our department. Low productivity schools may set productivity standards below organizational expectations. or organization by others (Greenberg. professional knowledge. it’s best to hide your problems and avoid your supervisor” (negative). In order for a department. they are always trying to take advantage of us” (negative). The following examples indicate the types of norms that operate with positive and negative implications for teams and organizations (Allen & Pilnick. Lawler. Average schools set productivity standards based on. pp. Hunt. .  Ethics norms—“We try to make ethical decisions and we expect others to do the same” (positive). Zander. parents. also. including ability to judge the capabilities of others. Status functions in team settings.  Supervisory norms—“Around here. or task force to function effectively. work late. and team members acquire common perceptions for respecting other members on several dimensions. LUNENBURG AND MELODY R. committee. nobody else does” (negative). 1973. 2014). 2014). 1984). as well as norms establishing guidelines for ethical behaviors expected of school administrators (Irby & Lunenburg. “Around here.

private office that is lavishly furnished). 2006). Does the size of a team affect the way team members behave? The answer is: It depends on what dependent variables you examine. Another dimension is acceptability (How acceptable am I in this team?) Within most organizations. dean). reserved parking space). When individuals focus on particular tasks. larger teams have the benefits of division of labor—dividing up assignments to individual team members. pp. large. Team Size The effective size of a team can range from 3 members to more than 20 (Thompson. and luxurious physical space (e..INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 8___________________________________________________________________________________________ An overall status that includes a combination of these dimensions is accorded to team members (Shani et al.g.g. larger groups should be more effective but smaller groups are more effective at doing something productive with that input (Stewart. intelligence. In addition. 3. serving on prestigious committees). content knowledge. general manager. experience. One of the primary reasons teams (as well as total organizations) exist is the benefit of division of labor (George & Jones. the higher the team’s status in the organization. 2003). the opportunity to do significant work (e.. Larger groups have a greater number of resources to accomplish their goals. According Robert Feldman (as cited in Robbins & Judge. A person’s ability to contribute to a team’s goals. Members who have special skills (such as advanced technology skills) also may be regarded as having higher status than other members. An individual’s personal characteristics. Another way of thinking about status is that of credibility (What is my credibility in this team?)... One whose personal characteristics are positively valued by the team (physical attractiveness.g. The status of a top management team is likely to be very high. people who control the team’s outcomes tend to be perceived as high status. These include symbols accorded to persons with certain characteristics not formally recognized by organizations. Examples include employees who are older and have more seniority in the team or organization may be perceived as having higher status by coworkers. Informal status symbols also exist within teams and organizations. These resources include the skills.g. perquisites (e. if a team’s primary task is fact-finding. 2014). money. status is conferred upon members through the use of status symbols—objects reflecting the position one holds in the hierarchy. they generally become skilled at performing these tasks. abilities. The more important the task performed by a team or a team’s function is. Because they likely control team resources. According to the results of one meta-analysis. Common examples of symbols include job titles (e. Many believe that LeBron James has more say concerning player acquisitions than the coach. 2000). status tends to derive from one of three sources: 1. The aforementioned are examples of formal status symbols. because it sets the organization’s goals and determines how the goals will be achieved. The power a person has over others. or a friendly personality) typically has higher status than someone with fewer valued attributes. 2. or team owner. 2014). 2014. . and knowledge of their members (Kozlowski & Bell. 290-291).

2009. when additional members are added to a team beyond what is necessary to accomplish the task. 2004. . Latane et al. 1980) to explain the social loafing effect. Liden. According to the theory. The guidelines regarding team size that Amazon. however. 1927. LUNENBURG AND MELODY R. 1993. In groups of three. Social loafing is most likely to occur in large teams where individual output is difficult to identify (Beyer. Team performance increases with team size. One of the most important findings concerning the size of a team is the risk of productivity loss due to social loafing. & Erdogan. 1985. 1993. each team member feels less responsible for producing maximum effort. social loafing occurs less often among members with strong collectivist values. Karau & Williams. The social loafing effect was first noted by German psychologist Maximilien Ringleman. Wayne. who measured individual and team effort on a rope-pulling task (Moede. and eight people pulling together on the rope should exert eight times as much as one person. Liden. That is. & Bennett. because they value team membership and believe in working toward team goals (Earley. The larger the size of the group. Moreover. As a result. Sheppard. it fell to merely 31 kilograms per person. 1995. Jaworski. Kravitz & Martin. Erez & Somech. 1982). Karau & Williams. Social science researchers have used social impact theory (Kerr & Bruum. the impact of any social force acting on a team is dispersed among its members. LUNENBURG ___________________________________________________________________________________________9 However. 1979. the per-person force dropped to 53 kilograms. Latane. 2006). And in groups of eight. more members in a team may be better. however. 1993. did not confirm his hypothesis. Replications of Ringleman’s research generally have supported his findings (Jassawalla. when working collectively than working alone (Comer. the responsibility for doing the task is divided among more people. 2003). He hypothesized that three people pulling together should exert three times as much pull on the rope as one person. 1981. Team members may become less productive because of wasted time and their feeling less accountable for the team’s outcomes (Gooding & Wagner. Markham. he found that one person pulling on the rope alone exerted an average of 63 kilograms of force. the less pressure each individual feels to perform well—that is. Murphy. & Trice. Social loafing occurs when team members exert less effort. coordination and communication problems may result. because people have a higher motivation to perform the task. & Malshe. Team size and social loafing. Social loafing is less common when the task is interesting. and usually perform at a lower level. Latane & Nida.com’s co-founder and CEO Jeff Bezos developed for his firm’s product development teams is that no team should be larger than two pizzas can feed (Yank. the lower the impact of its force on any one member. 1979. social loafing is less likely to occur when the team’s goal is important. and social loafing occurs.. FRED C. but the individual productivity of each member declines. 1993). Williams. Sashittal. 1986). Specifically. Finally. 1986. Latane. Ringleman’s findings. because team members feel more pressure from other members to perform well. & Harkins. & Alutto. Dansereau. the addition of new team members results in diminishing returns on productivity. As a result. Another way of understanding the social loafing phenomenon is by recognizing that social loafing occurs because people are more interested in themselves than their fellow team members. the more individuals who contribute to a group’s output. 1996). 1979). Wayne.

sociologists have identified two types of team cohesiveness: socio-emotional cohesiveness and instrumental cohesiveness (Tziner. and (g) by encouraging the development of norms that encourage all members to contribute optimal effort to team goals (Gammage. leaders can identify ways to reduce the problem. 1982). 2002. . Leaders can attempt to reduce or eliminate social loafing (a) by making each team member’s individual contribution to team performance identifiable (Gammage. 1998. 1972). George & Bettenhausen. Spears. Members of highly cohesive teams tend to participate more fully in their team’s activities. Gunnthorsdottir & Rapoport. 1987. Price. Teams tend to be more cohesive when entry to the team is rigorous. Cohesiveness increases with the team’s level of success. 2002. (c) by emphasizing the importance of the task (Bricker. Team members feel cohesiveness when they believe their team will help them achieve not only their need for affiliation or status but also to accomplish a common goal. but large enough to accomplish the tasks. Carron. 1979. Nordstrom. Thus far. & Tonnessen. & Hall. Team cohesiveness tends to foster high levels of motivation and commitment to the team. & Latane. 1981). and external competition and challenges (McShane & Von Glinow. It can be. Several factors influence team cohesiveness: member interaction. rigorous entry requirements. 2004. (f) by selecting members who have high motivation and prefer to work in teams (Stark. and are sometimes exceptionally productive than members of less cohesive teams (Ellemers. 1985). Wayne. Socio-emotional cohesiveness is a feeling of togetherness that evolves when individuals derive emotional satisfaction from team participation. satisfy a broad range of individual needs including emotional and social identity needs.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 10___________________________________________________________________________________________ How to reduce social loafing. team success. 1994. Instrumental cohesiveness is a feeling of togetherness that evolves when team members are mutually dependent on one another because they believe they could not achieve the team’s goals by acting independently. Accordingly. Jones. Team Cohesiveness Teams differ in their cohesiveness. & Estabrooke. 2001. 1990. & Ahearne. George. Mulvey & Klein. 2001. & Duffy. 2007). 1986. (d) by rewarding individuals for contributing to their team’s performance (Albanese & Van Fleet. (b) by holding each member personally accountable for results (Karakowsky & McBey. 2006. Steiner. & Doosie. 1986. are absent less often. MacKenzie. & Estabrooke. 2006). Harkins. 1992). Carron. they may or may not be good for the organization. cohesiveness tends to promote higher levels of team performance (Beal. cohesive teams are good for their members. & McLendon. Jaworski. Team cohesiveness tends to increase when members face external competition or a valued goal that is challenging. 2002). and as a result. Shaw. Williams. Cohen.. (e) by controlling the size of teams (Latane. Lorenzi. By understanding the causes of social loafing. Burke. The cohesiveness of a team is the degree to which members are attracted to the team and motivated to remain part of it. Bowes-Sperry. Sheldon & Bettencourt. 2014). we have implied that cohesiveness is a positive attribute. Cohesiveness tends to be greater the more time team members have spent together. Latane et al. Hoigaard. Mulvey. team size. 1990. Podsakoff. Safvenbom. Whereas. & Ostrom. Mullen & Copper. & Bennett. Harkins. 1984. Team cohesiveness is greatest when teams are kept as small as possible. have low turnover. 2003. & Klein. 1998). Liden.

This striving for conformity at the expense of other team perspectives is called groupthink and is thought to afflict highly cohesive teams with strong leadership and feelings of overconfidence about the team’s capabilities (Janis. LUNENBURG ___________________________________________________________________________________________11 1997). However. For example.. 1982). different group decision-making techniques can be used to limit the effects of groupthink and other problems inherent in shared decision making. Janis hopes to reduce cohesiveness and open up decision activity in various ways. in this way. the members do not already belong to a cohesive group. 2001). LUNENBURG AND MELODY R. killing all seven crew members). Janis observed that sometimes groups of highly qualified and experienced people make poor decisions (1982). 1998). Members who have a strong desire to remain in a team and personally conform to the team’s norms form a highly cohesive team (West. and (3) the leader promotes his own favored solution (Janis. Cohesive teams will likely have lower performance when team norms are incongruent with organizational goals. FRED C. 1982). The likelihood that groupthink will emerge is greatest when: (1) the group is cohesive. 2011. It tends to occur in highly cohesive groups in which the group members’ desire for consensus becomes more important than evaluating problems and solutions realistically. Nixon and his advisers to cover up the Watergate break-in in 1972. Another approach is to have higher-level administrators set up the parameters of the decision. And. killing all seven crew members). the decision made by NASA in 2003 to launch the space shuttle Columbia (which exploded over Texas upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere. team cohesiveness tends to foster high levels of motivation and commitment to the team. but the potential for groupthink in school organizations is likely as well. the decision made by President Richard M. the decision made by NASA in 1986 to launch the Challenger space shuttle (which exploded after takeoff. 2009). Still another method is to assign different groups to work on the same problem (Isaksen. team cohesiveness is a double-edged sword: Its effects can be both helpful and harmful to the organization (Langfred. which happens when in- group pressures lead to deterioration in mental efficiency. finally. high-cohesive teams perform better than low-cohesive teams. Groupthink. The decision made by President John F. the relationship between team norms and performance is a little more complex. One way is to select ad hoc groups to solve problems. Johnson and his advisers between 1964 and 1967 to escalate the war in Vietnam. and lax moral judgment. when a group of teachers collectively decides to go on strike. The effect of cohesiveness on team performance depends on the extent to which team norms are congruent with organizational goals. the decision by President Lyndon B. Nine suggestions for avoiding groupthink follow: . because cohesiveness motivates members to perform at a level more consistent with team norms (Gammage et al. Jonassen. & Carsten. 2011). (2) the group becomes insulated from qualified outsiders. poor testing of reality. – all these decisions were influenced by groupthink. Irving Janis (1982) coined the term groupthink. the decision may be a product of groupthink. With more conformity to norms. as mentioned previously. Patera. Kennedy and his advisers to launch the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1960. In suggesting ways of avoiding groupthink. What causes the incongruence between team norms and organizational goals? In highly cohesive teams. But when it comes to organizational performance. members may try to maintain harmony by striving toward consensus on issues without considering alternative viewpoints. Janis’s (1982) analyses of groupthink focused primarily on political and military decisions.

each carrying out its deliberations under a different leader. norming. Teams develop norms to regulate and guide member behavior. a sizable block of time should be spent surveying all warning signals from the rivals and constructing alternative scenarios of the rivals’ intentions. 7. at least one member should be assigned the role of devil’s advocate. After reaching a preliminary consensus about what seems to be the best policy alternative. The organization should routinely follow the administrative practice of setting up several independent policy-planning and evaluation groups to work on the same policy question. 5. Building effective teams requires long-standing principles regarding stages of team development. depending on the team’s performance- . One or more outside experts or qualified colleagues within the organization who are not core members of the policy-making group should be invited to each meeting on a staggered basis and should be encouraged to challenge the views of the core members. expressing as many objections to each policy alternative as possible. pp. should be impartial instead of stating their preferences and expectations at the outset. The leaders in an organization’s hierarchy. At each meeting devoted to evaluating policy alternatives. The size of the team depends on the task performed. under different chairpersons. Status inequities can create frustration and adversely affect productivity. 4. storming. norms. member roles. the policy-making group should hold a second-chance meeting at which the members are expected to express as vividly as they can all their residual doubts and to rethink the entire issue before making a definitive choice. 8.INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR IN EDUCATION 12___________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. performing. the policy-making group should from time to time divide into two or more subgroups to meet separately. Teams develop through the stages of forming. Member diversity often enhances the effectiveness of teams by bringing more perspectives into the causes and solutions of problems. relationship-oriented. Each member of the policy-making group should periodically discuss the group’s deliberations with trusted associates in her own unit of the organization and report their transaction back to the group. 9. 3. The leader of a policy-forming group should assign the role of critical evaluator to each member. when assigning a policy-planning mission to a group. 22- 23) Conclusion Few trends have influenced jobs more than the movement to introduce teams in the workplace. Cohesiveness can influence a team’s productivity or not. and cohesiveness. Members may assume task-oriented. and adjourning. Research indicates that teams that proceed through developmental stages successfully seem to outperform and sustain a higher level of performance when compared to others. and then come together to reconcile their differences. Through the period when the feasibility and effectiveness of policy alternatives are being surveyed. encouraging the group to give high priority to airing objections and doubts. Whenever the policy issue involves relations with a rival organization. 6. 2. or self-oriented roles. 1982. size. status. (Janis.

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