Name Instructor Class 25 July 2013 Team Communication and Problem Solving: “We Agree to Disagree and Better Because of It” Some organizations see teams as a means for improving efficiency and flexibility in producing new products, evaluating and improving existing ones, or starting and spreading organizational changes…
Effective teams do not disregard problems that emerge from their jobs and interactions. In identifying, analyzing, and solving problems, teams cannot avoid conflict, but practicing open and regular discussion that avoids groupthink can lead to higher team performance output. Problem solving presents conflicts because of differences in various areas, and so teams cannot and should not avoid and overlook them and instead, they should openly and regularly communicate to properly identify, analyze, and resolve these problems. Conflicts have three kinds- relationship, task, and process. Relationship conflict pertains to the knowledge that there are interpersonal differences with affective dimensions that can lead to friction (Jehn and Mannix 238). It tends to be called as a personal kind of conflict because it can arise from not “liking” a team member because he is annoying or frustrating. Task conflict refers to differences in understanding the task (Jehn and Mannix 238). Process conflict focuses on disagreements that occur because of differences on how tasks should be done (Jehn and Mannix 238). Team members differ on the process of how and when they should finish tasks. Karen A. Jehn and Elizabeth A. Mannix assert that conflicts are dynamic and change throughout time. They conducted a cross-sectional research where they wanted to learn differences in conflicts and their antecedents for high-performing and poor-performing teams. Their sampling included 51 groups with three members each. Respondents were MBA students who are also full-time employees. Their findings showed that conflict is a dynamic, not a static, process. Moreover, for high-performing teams, task conflict was engaged more at the midpoint of their deadlines and that communication through consensus and implementation of tasks resolved the task conflict (Jehn and Mannix 247). Low-performing teams experienced a lower level of task conflict at the middle, but it escalated near the deadline. In addition, their relationship conflict increased at the end of the project, while highly-performing teams did not experience high relationship conflict level at all (Jehn and Mannix 247). The study indicates that teams should not avoid conflict. They should embrace it as part of their dynamics. The key is not letting task and process conflicts become relationship conflicts, so that people can remain objective and patient with one another. High-performing teams know how to communicate to resolve conflicts and to use them to make the right decisions. Through open and regular communication, teams can form the right level of team cognition that allows them to discuss and to resolve problems. Jun He, Brian S. Butler, and William R. King assert that team cognition is important to attaining high-quality team performance. Team cognition refers to the ability of members to tap knowledge that can help them in choosing actions and behaviors that are aligned with team members (He et al. 262). He et al. argue that team cognition is important for the team to predict task and teamwork goals and to collaborate with one another. He et al. hypothesized that team cognition is formed through consistent open discussion and composed of awareness of each other’s expertise and shared understanding of tasks. They examined the formation of team cognition for 51 database development groups. Their findings showed that regular meetings and phone calls were associated with team ...
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