Industrial organizational psychology learning module work teams
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Industrial-Organizational Psychology Learning Module Work Teams. Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP. Lesson Objectives. At the end of this lecture, you should:. Know what constitutes a work team, and be familiar with different types of work teams.

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Industrial-Organizational Psychology Learning Module Work Teams

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Industrial organizational psychology learning module work teams

Industrial-Organizational Psychology Learning ModuleWork Teams

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Lesson objectives

Lesson Objectives

At the end of this lecture, you should:

  • Know what constitutes a work team, and be familiar with different types of work teams.

  • Know why the use of work teams in organizations is on the rise.

  • Understand the most common reasons for work team failure.

  • Understand how I/O psychologists are helping to make work teamsmore effective.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Psychologists groups

Psychologists & Groups

  • There is a long history of psychologists studying groups.

  • For example, topics studied include:

    • Intimacy among group members.

    • Group composition.

    • Group compatibility.

    • Group motives & goals.

    • Group process & productivity.


What is a work team

What is a Work Team?

  • Many different definitions, but most have three elements:

    1) An interdependent, intact social system.

    2) One or more tasks to perform.

    3) Operating within an organizational context.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Examples of work teams

Examples of Work Teams

  • Work teams are pervasive in industry, across all organizational levels.

    • Quality control circles.

    • Task forces.

    • Safety committees.

    • Sales teams.

    • R&D groups.


Work team or not

Work Team or Not?

  • Which of the following are work teams?

    • Students living on the same dorm floor.

    • Students taking the same psychology class.

    • Students working on a team research paper.

    • Students on a committee charged with making recommendations to curb binge drinking.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Why are work teams on the rise

Why are Work Teams on the Rise?

  • During the past decade, the use of teams in organizations has increased dramatically.

    • In today’s hyper-competitive environment, “old” organizational structures can be too slow, too unresponsive and too expensive to be competitive.

    • Work teams can yield quality, productivity and cost improvements.

    • Workers can benefit from increased autonomy and empowerment.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Are work teams always the answer

Are Work Teams Always the Answer?

  • The short answer - no!

  • Many organizations are jumping on the “teams bandwagon.”

  • Organizations should ask themselves:

    • Do people need to work together to get the task done effectively?

    • Is expertise limited to a few people?

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


What is a successful work team

What is a Successful Work Team?

  • A three-dimensional conception of work team effectiveness:

    1) Quality/Quantity/Timeliness

    2) The ability to work together again.

    3) Personal growth & well-being.

  • The relative weights that should be applied to these dimensions will vary according to the team’s circumstances.

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Why do work teams fail

Why Do Work Teams Fail?

  • Anecdotal evidence indicates that teams “work” only about half the time. Why?

    • Inappropriate use of teams.

    • Lack of support from organizational leaders.

    • Lack of good information.

    • Lack of team member skills.

  • Work team effectiveness study.

  • A work team’s success can be impacted as much by what is happening “outside” the team as it is by what is happening “inside.”

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


How do i o psychologists help organizations to use work teams

How do I/O psychologists help organizations to use work teams?

  • Personnel Selection

  • Training

  • Performance Appraisal

  • Compensation

  • Organizational Development

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


The future of teams less physical more virtual

The Future of Teams: Less Physical, More Virtual

  • In the wired, knowledge-based economy, we’ll see less “neighborhood teams” and more “virtual teams.”

  • Virtual teams can provide the organization with the same benefits (as well as some unique ones) as neighborhood teams, but the challenges that they face are magnified.


Team decision making exercise

Team Decision-Making Exercise

  • The importance of team decision-making.

  • Four team decision-making techniques:

    • Majority Vote

    • Multivoting

    • Unanimous Vote

    • Consensus

  • Where should we go for Spring Break?

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Team decision making exercise debrief

Team Decision-Making Exercise - Debrief

  • Which decision-making method did you use, and why?

  • What were some of the benefits of the method that you chose?

  • What challenges did your team encounter, and how did you overcome them?

  • How effective was the decision that you reached? (and how did your team define effectiveness?)

Prepared by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - SIOP


Instructor resources

Instructor Resources

The following books, book chapters and articles were used in preparation of the Work Teams module - you may find them useful for your own preparation.

1) Fisher, K. (1994) Diagnostic issues for work teams. In A. Howard (Ed.), Diagnosis for organizational change: Methods and models. (pp. 239-264). New York: Guilford Press.

2) Mohrman, S.A, Cohen, S.G. & Mohrman, Jr., A.M. (1995) Designing team-based organizations: New forms for knowledge work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

3) Hackman, J.R. (Ed.) (1990) Groups that work (and those that don’t): Creating effective conditions for teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

4) Shaw, M.E. & Costanzo, P.R. (1982) Theories of Social Psychology (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. (Note: Chapter 13 on theories of group processes is especially helpful)

5) Campion, M.A., Medsker, G.J. & Higgs, A.C. (1993). Relations between work group characteristics and effectiveness: Implications for designing effective work groups. Personnel Psychology, 46, 823-850.


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