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The Work Team in Contemporary Business: Definition & Analysis

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  • 0:02 Work Team
  • 0:40 Team Types
  • 2:02 Benefits of Teams
  • 2:54 Analysis of Work Teams
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Contemporary business has thrived with the use of work teams in creating products, solving problems and developing alternatives. There are many ways that work teams add to the productivity and success of a company.

Work Teams

Matt, Fred, and Jim are all Halloween decoration designers for a company called Scare Them Silly. The three employees create cool animatronic decorations for consumers to buy for their homes. All three men work as part of a work team to bring their ideas to the retail stores.

Work teams are groups of employees that work together on a task. Work teams are most efficient when job content changes and expert advice are needed to complete a set of work with different skills. Functional, cross-functional, and self-managing teams are the three different types of teams that can be found within a company. Each has its own specific goals and objectives.

Team Types

Companies can decide to establish work teams in different business forms.

Functional teams are groups of employees from the same department that meet to solve problems, analyze needs, and share information. Matt, Fred, and Jim are part of a functional design team at Scare Them Silly. They meet once a week to discuss new product ideas, issues within the department, and work in progress.

Cross-functional teams are groups of employees who come from different departments or have different job functions and are used for a specific issue related to a product, process, or customer. Matt, Fred, and Jim are part of a cross-functional team as well that contains employees from production, marketing, and sales. These teams are tasked with working together to get all of the business processes functioning.

Self-managing teams are groups of employees who take on work responsibility independently and develop teams to handle all aspects of a task. Self-managing teams differ from functional teams in that they choose their own members, need little management, and have minimal conflict. This is all due to the fact that since they create their own teams, they tend to choose members who think the same and get along. Within departments, some employees can create their own teams to handle work independently. Scare Them Silly has numerous teams that have popped up to handle everything from planning product launch parties to organizing a better way to disperse supplies.

Benefits of Teams

Scare Them Silly has benefited from all three types of teams due to the positive outcomes they have provided. There are many benefits to utilizing a team framework in business, such as:

  1. Accomplish projects - Many workplace tasks are too complicated for one employee to complete. The work team allows larger, more complicated projects to be completed, such as the Flying Witch at Scare Them Silly.
  2. Brainstorm more solutions - Teams allow many different viewpoints, which correlate to many different options in solutions. Matt, Fred, and Jim meet every week to brainstorm solutions for product problems.
  3. Detect problems quicker - Individual workers can't always see the big picture, which can lead to not seeing problems. Teams can provide greater analysis of issues and uncover problems from the beginning. It was a team analysis that uncovered a problem with the Scary Slime product.

Analysis of Work Teams

There are three variables (the three Cs) that can affect the success of a work team in business. Conflict, conformity, and consensus are all needed to create a fruitful work environment.

Conflict is to differ or disagree in regards to a business issue. Conflict is usually helpful within a work team because it drives discussion. It is usually where different viewpoints are presented and a final solution is developed. Conflict in business refers to debate about issues and not arguments on a personal level. Scare Them Silly likes to use meetings to debate about new product ideas.

The second variable of work teams is conformity, which is the agreement of rules or ideas. It provides agreed-upon basic rules and structures of the group and how it operates. Matt, Jim, and Fred have a list of rules for their meetings, such as no interrupting.

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