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Team Effectiveness: Structural Factors Impacting Team Effectiveness

1. Overview

  • Optimum team size is approximately 4-6
  • Diversity on a team increases productivity but lengthens the process
  • Every team member should have clearly articulated roles
  • Norms help establish and control team members’ behaviors 

2. Diversity

  • Diversity among team members fortifies the team but extends the process of getting work done
  • Types of diversity to consider:

3. Team Norms

  • Norms are rules that have some amount of agreement and are enforced through social sanctions
  • Norms define appropriate behaviors
  • Norms establish mutual understanding and team identity
  • Areas to consider for establishing team norms include:
    • Attendance
    • Contribution
    • Courteous-conversations
    • Decision-making
    • Enforcement
    • Handling disagreements
    • Participation
    • Punctuality
    • Tasks-assignments

4. Team Size

  • Small teams are typically more productive than large ones
    • Teams that are too small have difficulty accomplishing tasks – not enough people to share the work
  • Large teams enable shared responsibility and accountability
    • Management problems on very large teams may outweigh the incremental resources additional people provide
  • Tasks determine the size of the team
  • Student projects teams of between 4-6 members are a good rule of thumb

Source: Hackman and Vidmar (1970), p. 48

5. Roles

  • Every team member should have a role – this keeps members committed to the work of the team
  • Roles need to be clearly defined
  • Problems can result from role ambiguity
  • Types of roles:
    • Behavioral (e.g. contributor, coordinator, critic, evaluator)
    • Social (e.g. encourager, expediter, group process observer, follower)
    • Meeting (e.g. facilitator, recorder, time keeper)

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