Team Building: Implications, Advantages and Disadvantages

Subject: Employee Relationships
Pages: 22
Words: 6267
Reading time:
23 min
Study level: Undergraduate

Introduction

The economic realities of the post-industrial era leave very little doubt as to the fact that the commercial well-being of just about any company, aimed at expansion, cannot be discussed outside of such company’s managers possessing a comprehensive insight onto what the concept of team-building stands for. This concept is best defined as establishing objective preconditions, within an organization, for employees to go about executing their professional duties in a particularly cooperative manner.

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By endowing employees with a team spirit, managers are able to reach the following objectives: 1) Convincing workers to regard their eligibility for career advancement as something that directly relates to the overall efficiency of the company’s performance, 2) Encouraging employees to perceive the on-site working environment as an integral part of their lives – hence, increasing the strength of these people’s goal-orientedness, 3) Providing employees with psychological incentives to continuously work on improving the extent of their professional adequacy.

The best example of how the implementation of team-building within an organization can significantly enhance the effectiveness of this organization’s functioning is Microsoft Corporation. In their article, Jarvenpaa and Leidner (1999) point out the fact that it is namely due to Microsoft’s top-officials’ understanding of the sheer importance of endowing employees with team spirit that the rate of this company’s commercial profitability continues to increase exponentially. According to authors, it is not only that 64% of Microsoft’s employers simultaneously act as company’s co-owners, but that most of them are simply incapable of even considering a probability of finding job with another software-designing company – so strongly team-oriented and corporately loyal these employees are. In its turn, this can be explained by the fact that Microsoft’s owners were able to convince employees that it is only when working as the members of a goal-oriented team, that they will be able to take advantage of various ensuing benefits, such as high salaries and company’s close and personal commitment to ensuring the well-being of its workers.

As practice shows, it is namely the fact that some managers do not fully appreciate a crucial importance of instilling workers with a team-spirit, which explains why these managers often experience a hard time, while trying to ensure their organizations’ operational competitiveness, even though there is nothing particularly complicated with team-building, as the integral element of an organizational strategy. In this paper, I will aim to outline challenges and opportunities, associated with the methodology of team-building, and to present readers with rationale-based arguments as to why nurturing team spirit in employees should be seen as a particularly effective method of increasing the overall rate of organization’s operational sustainability.

The Implications of Team Building

As of today, most researchers agree with the idea that one of the most effective ways to proceed with establishing team-spirit within an organization, is encouraging workers to indulge in activities concerned with different forms of interpersonal socialization. This explains why, during the course of recent decades, many managers would go about strengthening the sense of workers’ ‘corporate belonging’ by inviting them to spend time with their co-workers in informal atmosphere (Rolinson, 2005). It is being commonly assumed that allowing employees to participate in corporate ‘get-togethers’ is particularly beneficial, within the context of managers striving to improve the performance of company’s particular branch [tactics] and to increase the overall efficiency of company’s functioning, as commercial entity [strategy] (Sveiby, 2003). However, it would be wrong to think that by inviting employees to participate in leisure-based informal activities, managers only seek to teach employees the skills of interpersonal communication.

Apparently, while socialising with each other in an informal environment, workers are able to get a better insight onto particulars of their organization’s structural functioning and to resolve certain issues between them that cannot be resolved within nominal settings of a workplace. As it was rightly noted by Souder (1977, p. 595): “The absence of socio-emotional exchange between employees may inhibit the achievement of shared values and understandings. By contrast, interacting settings involve primary relationships and open, face-to-face confrontations among organization’s members”. Thus, it is not simply by an accident that now popular concept of a ‘corporate culture’ cannot be discussed outside of methodological framework of building a team-spirit.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that team-spirit can be developed among employees by simply providing them with an opportunity to spend time together in an informal environment, regardless of whether employees are being interested in taking an advantage of such an opportunity or not. Therefore, it represents the matter of crucial importance for the managers to ensure that, before they proceed with introducing workers to the values of professional cooperation, these workers are being well informed on what accounts for such cooperation’s practical benefits.

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The consequential stages of a team-building strategy can be outlined as follows

  1. Conceptualization – organization’s officials, in charge of endowing employees with a team-spirit, must set up a plan for team-building activities to take place throughout the course of a particular period of time. This plan must contain spatially defined provisions for each of company’s sub-departments to contribute to the process of team-building.
  2. Preparation – managers must conduct a research on what would be the best way for every particular employee to participate in team-building activities. This research would have to include observations as to what would account for every concerned worker’s ability to actively contribute to executive decision-making on at least one of managerial levels. It is only when employees’ professional strengths and weaknesses are being well classified, that managers may proceed to the next stage of team-building.
  3. Implementation – there are two methods of implementing plans, in regards to team-building: providing workers with an opportunity to develop interpersonal skills in their off-time, and providing them with the same opportunity while they are being on the line of executing their professional duties. It is needless to mention, of course, that employees’ consent must be obtained, prior to having them gathered – this especially appears to be the case when team-building activities take place on a weekend. Therefore, managers will have to notify workers on what to anticipate from these activities, well ahead of time. The research on what constitutes employees’ potential professionally-related talents, conducted during the course of a preparatory stage, should provide managers with a clue as to participation in what kind of activity would benefit a particular employee the most.

The post-industrial realities of today’s living, concerned with the process of Globalization, point out to the fact that there can be no standard approach in how managers may proceed with the task of strengthening team-based cohesiveness within a particular company. This especially appears to be the case nowadays, when demographic fabric of Western societies continues to undergo a dramatic transformation, due to institutialization of ‘celebration of diversity’ policy. As of today, the percentage of representatives of racial minorities within the workforce of just about every commercial/governmental organization continues to increase rather dramatically. This simultaneously presents people, in charge of promoting a communal spirit within an organization, with both: challenges and additional opportunities. As it was rightly pointed out by Milliken and Martins (1996, p. 403): “On the one hand, some research suggests that more diverse groups have the potential to consider a greater range of perspectives and to generate more high-quality solutions than less diverse groups…On the other hand, the greater the amount of diversity in a group or an organizational subunit, the less integrated the group is”. What it means is that no effective strategy for team-building can be worked out, unless managers take into consideration the specifics of workers’ ethno-cultural affiliation. This is why, it is highly recommended for managers to never cease being observant of workers’ socio-cultural backgrounds, while encouraging them to indulge in experiential learning about what would account for their increased capacity to act as members of a team, while at work.

Moreover, it is also very important for managers to always keep in mind that the effective strategies for team-building must always contain provisions for the probable scope of variations, in regards to employees’ psychological traits, because it is primarily due to the inconsistency of these traits that the implementation of many policies within an organization often ends up being hampered. For example, when a particular company undergoes an organizational change, it is very common for individualistically-minded employees to resist such change with all their might, the as foremost indication of their unwillingness to associate its personal well-being with the well-being of a professional team, to which they supposedly belong. In their article, Mintzberg and Westley (1992, p. 43) state: “The force for (organizational) change… may be facilitated or embraced cooperatively by the rest of the organization or else challenged confrontationally or simply resisted passively (by individualistically minded employees), whether due to cultural blockage, bureaucratic momentum, or political reaction”. What it means is that managers, entrusted with the task of instilling workers with a collectivist spirit, need to be rather proficient with the methods of psychological manipulation. As practice shows, the most effective way to convince individualists to embrace team-spirit is proving to them that by doing it, they will be able to benefit as individuals, rather than as the members of a team. There is also another way of providing individualistically minded employees with an additional set of incentives that would prompt them to choose in favor of collectivist mode of professional behavior – allowing them to have part in executive decision-making.

It is important to understand that the functioning of every particular organization cannot be thought of as ‘thing in itself’ – that is, commercial/governmental organizations are being created to fulfill certain objectives (Rolinson, 2005). The likelihood for a particular organization to succeed with fulfilling its operational objectives relates to the extent of workforce’s endowment with team-spirit rather exponentially. The more employees are tended to act as the members of a team, the better are going to be chances for such an organization to maintain its competitive edge, especially if the purpose of its existence is being concerned with generation of a monetary profit. Therefore, employees need to be prompted to continuously think about how their personal performance reflects upon company’s performance, as a whole. (Rolinson, 2005).

As practice shows, the best way for the managers to go about ensuring employees’ compliance with company’s internal policies, designed to heighten the levels team-mindedness within the workforce, is to prompt them to relate to this policies emotionally. In consequential parts of this paper, I am going to focus on the core values of team-building and on the impact they are likely to have on a company that utilizes them practically.

Enhancing Team Building in an Organisation:

Team building activities

The concept of ‘team-building activity’ is best defined as the process of managers designing the set of objective preconditions at the workplace, which would prompt employees to increasingly rely upon each other, while executing their professional duties. There are a number of activities, the indulgence in which may help employees to attain a better understanding as to the role of their professional output in defining the qualitative subtleties of organization’s overall commercial performance. For example, managers can organize a little ‘get-to-know’ session, during the course of which newly hired employees would introduce themselves to the ones considered seniors. While spending time with senior-workers, the ‘newbies’ will necessarily familiarize themselves with the way workers are expected to act, while at the workplace, and with both: official and unofficial codes of corporate ethics. Alternatively, managers can also set up a fully formal seminar for the employees to participate in, during the course of which employees will be provided with an opportunity to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the representatives of organization’s different departments and subdivisions.

It goes without saying, that even while lecturing new employees onto a sheer importance for them to be able to adopt work-related collective mindedness, managers would have to strive ridding their speech of authoritative overtones. In order for the managers to get through to the employees, in psychological sense of this word, they would have to ensure that employees do not perceive the notion of a ‘team-building’ as one of those sophistically sounding but utterly meaningless concepts, such as ‘transition-decision making’, ‘workplace empowerment’, ‘participative positiveness’ etc., widely utilized by today’s educators as the ultimate mean of emphasizing their progressiveness.
Given the realities of post-industrial era, there can be very little doubt as to the fact that, while deciding upon the appropriateness of a particular team-building activity, managers must think of it as also the instrument of revealing employees’ psychological qualities. This especially appears to be the case in organizations with a small number of employees, where the extent of organization’s operational effectiveness depends on these employees’ ability to improvise, in professional sense of this word. Ideally, in order for employees to be able to adopt team-spirit as the integral element of their professional functioning, they must be willing to act as ‘job crafters’, rather than individuals who address their job-related tasks mechanistically. In their article, Wrzesniewski and Dutton (2001, p. 180) state: “Job crafters are individuals who actively compose both what their job is physically, by changing a job’s task boundaries… and what their job is relationally, by changing the interactions and relationships they have with others at work”. And, the most effective way of boosting workers’ willingness to practice ‘job-crafting’ is providing them with a certain degree of self-autonomy.

This; however, may result in bringing about counter-productive effects if the employees that are being given an opportunity to contribute to executive decision-making do no profess the values of corporate responsibliness. Therefore, it represents another matter of crucial importance for the managers who aim at increasing the levels of team-cohesiveness within an organization, to organize team-building activities in such a manner so that, in the aftermath of these activities, they would be left with a little doubt as to whether concerned workers could be defined as highly responsible individuals or not. As practice indicates, it is namely by assigning employees with seemingly unimportant semi-professional tasks and observing whether they were able to take care of these tasks on time, which should provide managers with the insight onto degree of workers’ capacity to act as the members of a team (Williams, 2005).

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Establishing collectivist spirit within the organisation

The successful team-building activity cannot be conceived unless all of the employees are being involved in the process. Despite the fact that some staff’s members may not be inclined towards participating in team-building activities, managers can utilize many incentives, in order to prompt individualistically minded employees to choose in favour of adopting a communal outlook onto their place within an organization. It is important to understand that team-building activities should take place within an organization on a continuous loop. The reason for this is simple – it is namely by setting up a systemic methodological framework for these activities, that managers might succeed with encouraging employees to associate the notion of team-spirit with the concept of culture, rather than with the concept of policy. Once employees adopt the philosophy of communal functioning as their own, there will be no need for the managers to use any enforcing measures, to ensure workers’ compliance with the policy of team building.

Providing an opportunity for employees to share the values of corporate culture

Team building can only bring about positive results if managers and employees enjoy a particularly close relationship (Harrison, 2000). Therefore, managers in charge of fostering team-spirit within an organization must be capable of practicing a participative managerial style, because it is specifically the utilization of this style, which makes bonding between managers and workers possible. In its turn, this managerial style implies that its practitioners would be willing to take into consideration just about all work-related concerns, raised by employees (Harrison, 2000). At the same time, it would be wrong to suggest that, within the procedural framework of team-building, the concept of professional responsibliness applies solely to managers. Whereas, company’s officials should never cease being concerned about employees’ welfare, on one hand, employees should act in a similar manner, in regards to company’s corporate interests, on another (Harrison, 2000). In other words, the effective functioning of a particular organization is only possible if the concept of a team-spirit is being interwoven into the very existential matrix of such an organization.

It is understood, of course, that in order for a particular company to gain reputation of a communally functioning enterprise, its top officials should understand what accounts for their value as leaders (Northouse, 2001). Nevertheless, the realities of today’s living point out to the fact that nowadays, the traditional concept of leadership might no longer be applicable in organizations where employees do contribute to the process of executive decision-making. In its turn, this results in managers being faced with previously unknown organizational challenges. As it was rightly pointed out by Senge (1990, p. 139): “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs”. In its turn, this results in creation of a situation when many team-building initiatives, passed down for implementation by organization’s top managers, are being met with much skepticism by those to whom these initiatives apply. Within the context of this paper’s discussed subject matter, the earlier suggestion raises a question: how do qualitative subtleties of a communication between managers and employees affect the process of a team-building in a particular organization?

The main challenge here appears to be the fact that, while the methodology of a team building implies non-authoritative essence of a communication that occurs between decision-makers and their subordinates, the actual realities of such a communication taking place often point out to something entirely different. It is often the case that, when even supposedly progressive managers engage in communication with their subordinates, they do it for the sole purpose of giving employees orders (Tourish & Hargie, 2000). This often happens during the time of organizational change, on the account of managerial failure to clearly communicate the purpose of this change to the workers.

Nevertheless, for as long as ensuring the effectiveness of team-building policies if being concerned, managers’ ability to indulge in meaningful communication with employees is not enough. As Labianca et al. (2000, p. 250) had put it in their study: “Management’s expectations-no matter how clearly communicated-must correspond to those of employees about their respective roles in the empowerment efforts before employees can wholly adopt the new schema”. Thus, it is not only that managers must be capable of informing employees about the specifics of organization’s functioning and on how employees can personally benefit from it by becoming team-minded, but they also must be capable to instilling workers with desire to work as a part of a team in such a way that would address workers’ innermost anxieties.

Setting up managerial style

The ideas that were expressed earlier in this paper imply interchangeability between team-related responsibilities, on the part of both: managers and employees. In other words, employees should not be thinking of their company solely as such that offers them moneymaking opportunities, but also as the family of mind-likes, who share corporate values and adjust their lives to correlate with these values. As it was rightly pointed out by Fey and Denison (2003, p. 688): “Effective organizations tend to have “strong” cultures that are well coordinated, and well integrated. Behavioral norms are rooted in core values, and leaders and followers are able to reach agreement even with diverse points of view”. In order to gain a better understanding as to how employees can be endowed with corporate values, hence embracing team-spirit, managers should be prompted to consider corporate practices of their Japanese counterparts. Upon getting hired by a privately owned company, Japanese workers are not only being given a guarantee of a speedy career-advancement, but they are also being told that the company will remain loyal to them for the rest of their lives. In return, workers are being asked to remain quite as loyal to the company.
In recent decades, it became a customary practice in many American companies to have a staff of psychologists that provide employees with counseling on full time basis. One of the purposes for this to be done is fostering team-spirit within the organization – once workers are being ensured that managers do pay close attention to the state of their emotional well-being, they will be more likely to pay with the same token of respect (Wolfe, 2010). This shows that, while establishing team-spirit within an organization, managers should never cease observing even slightest details, related to how employees perceive the degree of their organization’s corporate commitment.

Providing framework for an effective dealing with interpersonal issues

It is often the case that, while indulging in socialization with each other, employees experience the sensation of an emotional incompatibility. And, if such their sensation is being left unattended for prolonged period of time, it will become only the matter of time, before the quality of employees performance would take a plunge (Midura & Glover, 2005). Therefore, managers should always remain on a lookout for the signs of an emerging animosity between workers. Once the validity of these signs is being confirmed, managers should take quick action, in order not to allow interpersonal tensions to begin undermining the effectiveness of organization’s overall performance. However, it is highly unlikely that by simply singling out guilty party managers would be able resolve the problem once and for all. This is why, instead of addressing the issue from punitive perspective, managers should strive convincing the originators of interpersonal tensions at the workplace that the reason why their behaviour cannot be considered appropriate in not because it is being ‘wrong’, but because it undermines the effectiveness of employees’ collective work-effort.

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Apparently, a well-known medicinal proverb that ‘prevention is the best type of treatment’ also applies to the strategy of fostering team-spirit, simply because, as practice indicates, managers themselves often act in such a way that intensifies negative sentiment among workers. For example, the discussion of what represents a fully objective method for measuring the extent of employees’ eligibility for promotions is more than capable of sparking up strong tensions between workers, if they are being asked to participate in it (Michels, 2001). Therefore, it is very important to ensure that progressively-minded managers do not think of the concept of ‘participative decision-making’ in literal terms – even though employees do need to be prompted to believe that their work-related opinions are being taken by organization’s officials into consideration, it appears that too much ‘democracy’ at the workplace is equally counter-productive as it is the case with too much ‘authoritarianism’. For as long as managers do not practice clearly defined favoritism, and for as long as they are being able to substantiate their executive decisions to employees rationally, there should not be many reasons for them to be overly preoccupied with trying to lessen tensions between workers.

The Beneficial Effects of Team-Building

If properly organized, team-building activities will automatically result in increasing the efficiency of organization’s performance. The following is the outline of associative effects that are believed to account for the beneficence of a team-building.

Employees get to understand more about each other

As we have pointed out earlier, a successful functioning of an organization depends on whether managers were able to provide a set of objective preconditions for the employees to think of their personal professionally related agenda within a context of what defines organization’s overall agenda. However, in order for them to be able to do this, they would have to teach workers how to rely upon each other, when it comes to dealing with work-related non-executive issues. This is where team-building activities come in handy – by allowing employees to familiarize themselves with each other’s strengths and weaknesses in an informal environment, managers will be able to automatically enhance the levels of interpersonal cohesiveness within a particular organization (Tizzard, 2006). What is means is that, after having been coached about what should account for their ability to act as the members of a team; employees would be naturally more tended to seek personal contact with each other, as one of the ultimate means of increasing their professional value in managers’ eyes. It is needless to mention, of course, that employees’ innate understanding of the full scope of possible benefits, associated with their willingness to overlook personal insecurities, while embracing team-spirit, would serve as the foremost indication of the fact that these people indeed share the corporate values, and as such – are eligible for promotion.

Employees are provided with an opportunity to relieve work-related stress

It is a well-known fact that employees who execute their professional duties in self-autonomous mode are more likely to suffer from work-related stress, as compared to those who perform as highly integrated members of a team. In their article, Crouter and Manke (1994, p. 119) state: “Work stress is a fixed occupational characteristic. Job characteristics that have been shown to be associated with work stress include high work demand, computerization, and the high degree of employees’ self-autonomy”. Therefore, there can be very little doubt as to the fact that participation in team-building activities does make employees less prone to work-related stress. The reason for this is simple – by adopting collectivist values, workers naturally become less anxious as to the possible effects of their hypothetical failure to effectively address a full scope of professional challenges (Parcon, 2006). While learning to work as the members of a team, employees grow to realize that their personal well-being does not depend solely on the qualitative subtleties of their education and on their ability to exercise quick-mindedness on full-time basis, but also on whether they have colleagues who would be willing to ‘cover’ for them, if necessary.

Managers gain an insight onto employees’ psychological makeup

As practice shows, many managers take personal interest in trying to find out about the particulars of potential employee’s psychological constitution. However, they do not do it out of common curiosity but because, by observing the way in which an individual reacts to challenges and opportunities, managers are being able to gain a preliminary insight on what would be such individual’s worth, as an employee (Whitney, et al. 2004). It is often being the case when, instead of being given originally sought-for position with the company, a candidate for the job gets to be offered another position with the same company, simply because managers in charge of hiring find this individual being more psychologically predisposed towards performing certain professional duties that might not even have anything to do with the essence of his or her formal education. Nevertheless, it is namely during the course of team-building activities that the full extent of workers’ professional adequacy/inadequacy becomes apparent to the managers.

Employees familiarize themselves with organization’s operational objectives

The utilization of common-sense logic invariably points out to the fact that employees’ participation in team-building activities would help them to become acquainted with company’s operational objectives quickly and efficiently. This is because, while engaging in different forms of verbal and non-verbal communication with their co-workers, employees will learn to assess organization’s commercial and public stances from three-dimensional perspective. In its turn, this will allow them to realize what would account for career-related quality of their professional choices in the future (Parker, 2008). Given highly dynamic realities of today’s living, it would only be natural to expect organization’s operational objectives to remain in the state of constant transition – without this; it would only be the matter of very short time, before such an organization would be deprived of its competitive edge. Therefore, it would prove a particular challenge for the managers to continuously keep employees updated on that represents company’s operational objectives at every particular moment. Yet, there is another way to ensure that workers fully realize what the company is requiring of them, as they go along with executing their professional duties – encouraging employees to grow ever more intellectually flexible. And, team-building is an activity that automatically results in its participants attaining intellectual flexibility, often despite their conscious will.

Organization’s structural integrity is being enhanced

The data, obtained during the course of numerous research-studies on the subject of organizational planning, supports a hypothesis that organization’s effective functioning cannot be ensured, without its workforce being united around clearly defined corporate cause (Diamond & Diamond, 2007). The same studies also point out to the fact that it is namely the employees that profess team-related values, who are being particularly capable of recognizing the true essence of such a cause. Therefore, by prompting employees to participate in team-building activities, managers aim to shot two rabbits with one shot: to provide workers with better understanding as to how they may proceed with seeking self-actualization and to enhance organization’s inner integrity.

Disadvantages of Team Building

Along with various benefits of team-building, outlined earlier, there are also a few drawbacks. The most obvious of these drawbacks are best defined as follows:

Employees become overly familiarized with each other

While learning how to act as members of a team, employees will invariably come to realize that the concept of work-related seniority, upon which organization’s executive hierarchy is being based, does not exactly correlate with the concept of team-work, which often implies an artificialness of many terms that people are now being encouraged to associate with authoritarian managerial style, such as ‘discipline’, ‘respect’, ‘industriousness’ and ‘existential idealism’ (Guillot, 2002).To complicate matters even further, these terms are now often being regarded as euro-centric and therefore ‘evil’. Therefore, it does not come as a particular surprise that employees that had actively participated in team-building effort often grow too informal in how they regard their coworkers, as a result (Mears & Voehl, 1994). The potential dangers that derive out of such state of affairs are obvious: 1) Junior-workers lose their respect towards senior-workers, as they wrongly conclude that the concept of team-work somehow relates to the concept of equality, 2) The probability for the informational leaks to occur increases significantly, as overly liberal code of corporate ethics creates objective preconditions for the workers to be willing to discuss work-related sensitive information in public.

The absence of quantitative methodology for measuring the effectiveness of team-building strategies

Despite the fact that employees are believed to benefit substantially from indulging in team-building activities, there is no methodological framework in existence to measure the quantitative subtleties of these benefits (Midura & Glover, 2005). Moreover, there is also a good reason to think that the process of workers adopting team-related corporate values is not something that can be controlled, throughout its entirety. As practice shows, every time a particular individual is being required to adjust its behavior to the behavioral norms, imposed upon him or her by a collective, there is always a probability for such person’s adjusted behavior to cease being observant of independently existing code of social ethics. In their article, Robinson and O’Leary-Kelly (1998, p. 659) came up with essentially the same observation: “There is often a positive relationship between given individual’s level of antisocial behavior and the level of antisocial behavior of his or her coworkers”. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to refer to the process of a particular employee being instilled with respect towards the ideals of team-work as always beneficial, regardless of what the associated circumstances might be.

The questionable effectiveness of non-material incentives, within the context of designing team-building strategies

In recent decades, there has been a clear tendency among employers to regard team-building activities as essentially the tool of workers’ psychological manipulation. That is, by insisting that employees should embrace the values of team-mindedness, managers often imply that workers must be willing to perform their professional duties without being paid, if circumstances require. The analysis of team-building policies, utilized by Wal-Mart and McDonalds, substantiate the validity of such our suggestion. These companies’ top officials never cease justifying their willingness to exploit workers by making references to the ‘culture of team-orientedness’, which supposedly defines the essence of both companies’ operational strategy. Yet, the closer glimpse at this ‘culture’ reveals it as being essentially non-existent. Apparently, it is not uncommon in both companies for the employees to be periodically ordered to work for free, as the ultimate indication of their willingness to become members of a corporate team. In order to convince employees to follow corporate orders, managers provide them with a number of purely psychological incentives, while withholding the ones that represent a concrete money-worth. Nevertheless, the fact Wal-Mart and McDonalds’ employees are being often subjected to psychological manipulation, does not result in them becoming any more team-oriented. In its turn, this explains why the annual rates of employees’ turnover in both companies reach as high as 50%. Given the fact that as of today, more and more corporate employers choose in favor of non-material incentives, when it comes to motivating workforce to adopt communal mindedness, it appears to be only the matter of time before the very concept of team-building will become delegitimized in the eyes of concerned employees.

Financial burdens

In order for a particular team-building activity to be successful, its organizers would have to be willing to chip in a considerable amount of money (Dyer & Dyer, 2007). Depending on what are the objectives of every particular activity, managers will inevitably come to realization of a simple fact that, in this world nothing comes for free. The implications of this realization are not too hard to define – it is only if the objectives of team-building activities are being fulfilled, that managers would be able to justify expenses, associated with providing these activities with a financial backup – otherwise, managers’ initiatives, in this respect, will be defined as the misuse of funds (Sugars, 2005). Yet, prior to team-building activities taking place, there can be no guarantee that they will result in increasing the effectiveness of organization’s functioning, simply because the qualitative aspects of employees’ reaction to being taught to embrace team spirit, cannot be predicted reliantly.

The discrepancy within methodological approaches to team-building

Individuals in charge of organizing team-building activities, often end up having a particularly hard time, while deciding on exactly what kind of activity should be utilized in every particular case. As it appears from reading relevant literature, it is not utterly uncommon for the employees to begin confronting each other rather actively, after being offered to choose in favour of one out of few available team-building activities (Quick, 1992). The irony of a situation, in this respect, is self-evident. What it means is that the successfulness of every particular team-building activity is being largely dependent of whether managers, in charge of setting it up, have undergone basic psychological training or not. Unfortunately, only few managers can boast on possessing strong skills in practical psychology.

Conclusion

The observations, suggestions and recommendations, contained in earlier parts of this paper, contextually imply that, while organizing team-building activities, managers must never cease paying utmost attention to what represents these activities’ actual objective. This; however, might be particularly challengeable, due to the sheer vagueness of methodological approaches to the subject matter. The additional challenge for the managers represents the fact that the realities of post-industrial living often imply out-datedness of communally related notions, because nowadays, it is specifically an educated individual’s ability to proceed with highly individualistic mode of existence, which defines his or her chances to attain social prominence. The subtle proof as to validity of earlier suggestion can be considered the ongoing economic Globalization, which is being concerned with the process of Western industrial manufacturers moving their production lines to the countries of Third World, where local people’s endowment with collectivist mentality allows them to act as particularly efficient employees.

Yet, as it appears, these people’s high value as employees is not being correlative with the amount of personal income they generate, while on the line of executing their professional duties. This observation, however, does not imply that the utilization of team-building activities within organizations may no longer be necessary, but rather that these activities should not be concerned with the process of employees being forced to memorize sophistically sounding but semantically hollow terms, as having value in itself (as it is often the case nowadays). Instead, employees should be encouraged to rely on their own judgements, when it comes to teaching them about the benefits of one’s endowment with team-mindedness. Given the rapid pace of a progress in the fields of informational technology, bioengineering and economics, it would only be natural to expect the very concept of team-building to undergo a drastic transformation in near future. We can only hypothesise that in the future, the process of coaching employees on how to act as members of a team would be completely deprived of any moralistic undertones, whatsoever. Whereas; today, employees are being often told that one of the reasons why they have to learn how to profess the values of a team-work is because their co-workers would also be able to benefit from it – in the future, employees will simply be told that there is only one reason for them to consider embracing team-mindedness – by doing it, they would be able to increase the extent of their competitiveness on job-market. Therefore, it will only be logical for managers and for employees to begin assessing the concept of team-building from utilitarian perspective even today – that is, they would have to look at it as absolutely practical tool of increasing organization’s efficiency, rather than one among many means of establishing their reputation as particularly progressive individuals.

References

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