– Problem Background.. 4
– Literature Review5
– Problem Analysis7
– Recommendations. 10
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The current paper consists of introduction, four main parts, and conclusion. There was a brief summary of the case study proposed for analysis described in the introductory part. The case relates small manufacturing company – Electron – that experienced difficulties in managing work of manufacturing employees. The Company needed advice of how to effectively organize work in the newly formed team with older employees exerting excessive control over the new workers.
In the first part the problem background was described. The second part of the paper is devoted to the related literature. There were methods and approaches used in contemporary leadership theories described. The contribution of the literature used was evaluated in this part of the paper.
The part related the problem analysis provides a detailed consideration of the problem with regard to the appropriate theories and concepts. The fourth part contains recommendations related improvement of the situation that occurred. The recommendations were developed based on the literature review. The evidence from the cases study is supported by appropriate conclusions.
The case proposed for analysis related leadership crisis at a small manufacturing enterprise Electron. The problem of leadership in self-managing teams is currently discussed in multiple sources. Many researchers came to a conclusion that self-managing teams require specific type of leadership based on high level of emotional intelligence. The literature examined in the current report underpins the idea that the changes in performance can be stimulated by the changes in emotional intellect of the leaders and teammates. Also, the number of approaches was used to develop the recommendations to improve the situation at Electron.
For the purposes of the current research qualitative methods of analysis will be used. Also, there were a number of secondary quantitative studies used to support the arguments developed in the paper. The choice of the academic literature is conditioned by the effectiveness of the approaches described in the studies. The usefulness of the literature is discussed in the literature review and in the recommendations part. The academic literature will be applied in terms of approaches used to develop more effective team work.
– Problem Background
As Electron started to prosper in 2000, it needed more workers to be hired. The problem the Company faced was how to successfully integrate new employees into existing team. New workers were unfamiliar with the team values posing challenge to the power relationships formed by older employees. New teams were formed as follows: Jack was responsible for placing older workers on new teams and he integrated new members of the teams into value-based social order formed in the Company. Thus, particular ethics of work and team values were implanted in the team subjugating individual work ethics of the new employees through peer pressure. Besides, the team made a decision regarding those who can and who cannot become full-time workers thus making additional pressure on the new team members. As a result, older workers received authority they could exercise at will that did not resemble team work (Team Case Study, n. d.).
It appeared that value consensus developed by the older members of the team turned into normative rules that were used to make sense of daily work experience. Danny, a new part-time worker, stated that he felt he was watched. The employees, who expected to be hired full-time, started to execute self-control aiming to conform to the rules. As a result, psychological climate in Electron worsened. The members of the team started to talk about obeying the rules instead of the importance of teamwork. There was a confrontation observe in the team. In addition, personal performance was openly discussed during the meetings (Team Case Study, n. d.).
2. Literature review
Roy (1959) particularly emphasized the necessity of informal communication as the factor of increasing performance. He stated that human interaction reduced the pressure of monotonous manufacturing work thus increasing work satisfaction. Similar ideas were expressed in the article of Carron and Brawley (2000) who concerned group cohesion. It can be argued that the methods proposed by the authors can be applied to all types of groups.
Avolio and Gardner (2005) developed a research related authentic leadership and its development. The authors succeed to explain the differences between various forms of leadership providing vast information for analysis of the Electron case. The work of Druskat and Wolff (2001) also concerns emotional intelligence and development of the right attitude in team leaders. The authors described advantages of development of emotional intelligence thus contributing to the analysis of the current case study.
It is the view of Kuhn and Poole (2000) that group develop norms with regard to the approaches of conflict management so they could manage conflicts related their activities. The study was of a particular use for analysis of the current case study.
There are several reasons why the article of George (2000) was included into this literature review. The first reason is that she expanded the research conducted by Druskat and Wolff (2001) related emotional intelligence. The second reason is that the author described four aspects of emotional intelligence. The third reason is that George (2000) described how emotional intelligence contributes effective leadership.
Furthermore, the study of Greitemeyer, Schulz-Hardt, and Frey (2009) contributed to the research in terms of reduction of escalation in group decision making and the development of de-escalation strategies. The study was of particular use when developing improvement recommendations for Electron.
Hawkins (2012) represented invaluable source of information for analysis of concertive control in self-managing teams. The most important contribution for the current analysis was made in the part of managing the process of introducing corporate values to the new employees.
Roy (1959) and Carron and Brawley (2000) emphasized on better organization of team work, however, Watson and Kevin Gallagher (2005) argued that personal development of employees is equally important. Watson and Kevin Gallagher (2005) also contributed to the organization of the work in task-oriented teams.
One advantage of the approach used by Gibson and Vermeulen (2003) is that it can stimulate learning behavior inside a group. This study was very helpful when developing improvement recommendations related relationships between the leader of the group and the new employees.
According to the work of Medina, Munduate, and Dorado (2005), there are two types of conflicts that arise between the teammates. The findings of this research were very helpful in analysis of the conflict that arose in Electron. The authors argued that relationship conflict contributes to the propensity of leaving a job while task conflicts can be resolves without firing someone.
A further argument in support of development of emotional intelligence was raised by West and Lyubovnikova (2012) who emphasized reconsideration of the concept of team work according to changing landscapes of teams. The authors represented valuable ideas regarding psychological changes that are necessary for reconsideration of team work in organizations.
3. Problem Analysis
According to Forsyth (2013), transformation of an individual to a group member is connected with three processes as follows: inclusion, collectivism, and identity. The changes from outsider to insider occur as a result of inclusion. Collectivism helps develop thinking related the good of the group. Through identity transformation group members acquire group qualities and combine them with individual qualities (Forsyth, 2013).
Incorporating new members gave the opportunity for the insider group to exercise more power disguised as training. The older group had their established value-based system they were not willing to change with presence of new employees. Thus, the team was on the verge of the conflict. There is no direct evidence of the changes in performance statistics in the case, but the way the team members communicate with each other had changed. The meetings had confrontational tone and the performance of the new teammates was mainly discussed.
Medina, Munduate and Dorado (2005) identified two types of conflicts – relationship and task conflict. They stated that on the contrary to task conflict relationship conflict does not influence the decision to leave a job. At Electron, task conflict arose. The “ supervisors” assigned to guide the new teams of workers aim to improve performance of the group by executing concertive control (Watson and Gallagher, 2005). Concertive control is more severe than manager driven control because manager driven control is exercised by one person while concertive control is exercised by the group that encourages maximum exclusion or even ostracism towards those who refuse to conform (Forthys, 2013). In addition, concertive control results in self-control making additional psychological pressure on the new workers.
One of the multiple challenges Electron faced was connected with assigning insider group to guide new workers. A self-managing team of older workers was responsible for choosing and integrating new teammates. Avolio and Gardner (2005) stated that the role of an external leader in a self-managing team is more complex than the role of a traditional manager because it requires a different sort of leadership. The leaders of self-managing teams are balancing between exerting excessive control and ability to achieve performance objectives (Druskat and Wolff, 2001). On the one hand, they cannot make much pressure on the workers to make the team perform well. On the other hand, they are accountable to the higher management. At Electron, Ronald used authoritarian and Ryan used coercive leadership style. Authoritarian leaders, unlike coercive leaders, are firm, but fair. Under this style of leadership the new employees are unable to suggest alternative approaches to work or provide feedback. Coercive leaders are referred to as dictators. Ryan belongs to the type of coercive leader because he required subordinates to obey the rules developed by them not accepting any dissent. Coercive leadership lowers team morale and harms motivation of the employees causing high employee turnover. Authoritarian and coercive leadership styles caused conflicts between new and old team members. The work in a team suggests using abilities and skills of the teammates, who are often average performers, drawing maximum possible benefit, but not exerting pressure (George, 2000).
The styles of leadership used by Ronald and Ryan contribute to the development of alienated and conformist followers. Alienated followers are independent and critical, but they are not willing to act. Danny is an example of alienated follower in the studied case. The conformist is active, but uncritical aiming to avoid conflicts. Stephi is the conformist type at Electron. (Team Case Study, n. d.).
It is obvious that concertive control theory can be applied for the analysis of the case of Electron. According concertive control theory, concertive control consists of three elements, namely: control, identification, and discipline (Hawkins, 2012). Analysis of concertive control elements allows making conclusion regarding the current situation in Electron. First, managers execute control over workers. The older members of the team are not called “ managers”, but they execute control over new workers. For example, Ryan, a member of the silver team stood above the new worker of his team who was working on four boards simultaneously instead of one, and reminded him to obey the rules. The team recognized that it was difficult not to make errors performing four functions instead of one (Team Case Study, n. d.). Also, it was impossible to obey rules while aiming to do work as a teammate.
Another feature of exercising control is creating rules and norms. It was mentioned that the older workers of Electron succeeded to develop strong value-based system. The rules developed by the team are proscriptive norms. Thus, they are not supposed to be observed. However, compliance with standards related team performance is mandatory because they represent prescriptive norms.
The value-based system was communicated with the help of older members of the team. The new members were to obey the rules or to be punished in case of breaking them. Those who did not obey the rules were punished through peer pressure that was seen as a means of ensuring effectiveness of the teamwork. Existence of value-based corporate vision that members of the team must be guided in their daily work presents another evidence of control. Stephi, a part-time worker, mentioned that she tried to conform to the norms and values of the team aiming to prove she was worth to be a full-time worker at Electron. She pointed out that she tried to conform to the rules not to be excluded from the team. A concept of the pain of exclusion was described by Forsyth (2013) can be applied in this case. Besides, the behavior of the team members who performed poorly was discussed during regular team meetings forcing workers justify their actions. Thus, concertive control revolved around human dignity making pressure on teammates who had bad attitudes. Thus, the teammates who readily conformed to the rules and norms developed by the older team members were accepted as team players and contributors to the team success. Developing reward or punishment techniques for those who deviate from the norms and values is also an element of concertive control related discipline. At Electron, those who came late for more than three times not trying to correct anything were to be fired. One more element of concertive control is identification that is associated with perception of oneness and feeling of belonging to the team. Definitely, the value-based system developed at Electron did not contribute to the perception of oneness in the team. The new members were defined as teammates if they conformed to the norms (Team Case Study, n. d.).
Borkowski (2011) stated that team performance can be evaluated with the help of team performance curve developed by Katzenbach. The curve links team effectiveness and impact on performance. If applied to Electron, team performance curve will help identify the effectiveness of the team. Identification of the current state of the team will help determine further direction for the team. Team performance curve can be seen in the Appendix 1.
An interesting concept was proposed by Avolio and Gardner (2005) regarding authentic leadership development. This approach suggests self-perfection and psychological changes of leader’s personality. The shift from outdated types of leadership, such authoritarian and coercive, can be painful. Thus, it is important to develop emotional intelligence described in the work of Druskat and Wolff (2001). Building emotional intelligence in the team will help develop trust between the members of the team and group identity thus increasing group efficacy.
As the team is new, the workers need to be more emotionally engaged. The employees should be encouraged to increase their informal communication, such as serious conversations, horseplay, and sharing food and drink to reduce the pressure of monotonous manufacturing work (Roy, 1959). One cannot diminish significance of informal communication because it is a basement of the interpersonal relationships at work.
Kunzle, Zala-Mezo, Kolbe, Wacker and Grote (2010) proposed alternative to leadership that could help cope with varying levels of standardization, different level of team members’ experience, and occurrence of non-routine events. However, this approach should be carefully used because this study relates healthcare area while Electron is the manufacturing company.
The leadership styles used by the current group leaders contributed to the emergence of alienated and conformist followers that influences decision making process in the team. Greitemeyer, Schulz-Hardt, and Frey (2009) proposed de-escalation strategies to reduce conformist behaviors in the team. They stated that authentic and contrived dissent can reduce escalation tendencies and reduce conformity pressure through divergent information processing.
Fisher, Hunter, and Macrosson (1998) concerned resolving task and relationship conflicts that arise in the organizations. The Belbin’s team model used by the authors can be applied to the Electron team in terms of team size as this model was developed for the teams of small size.
The current paper related analysis of the case study of Electron manufacturing company that faced hardships during integration of the new employees into the existing team. The problem was discussed with regard to the concertive control theory and leadership styles used by the leaders of the teams at Electron. Katzenbach team performance curve was used to evaluate the team work at the enterprise.
The analysis of the situation that occurred at Electron had shown that morale of the employees was low and performance of the new teams was negatively impacted. The leadership styles employed by the leaders of the teams contributed to the development of poor psychological climate in the team. There was a need in immediate intervention to improve the performance of the teams. For the purposes of performance improvement several recommendations were developed.
There were several concepts and methods used to develop recommendations for the improvement of the team work at Electron, namely: authentic leadership concept, development of emotional intelligence approach, increase of informal communication, de-escalation strategies, and Belbin’s team model. The current recommendations are supposed to help boost the team members morale that would positively influence the team performance.
Appendix 1 Team Performance Curve (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)
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