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An Overview of Team Effectiveness

  • Date Submitted: 10/13/2010 11:37 PM
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Cheryl L. Harris
What Is Team Effectiveness?
Hackman (as cited by Weil, 1995) cites three useful measures for team effectiveness. The
measuring standards are 1)productive output that meets or exceeds standards, 2) social processes
that maintain or enhance the capability of members to work together on team tasks, and 3) group
experience that satisfies personal needs of group members (Weil, 1995). According to Cohen,
Ledford, and Spreitzer (1996), work team effectiveness is defined as both high performance and
employee quality of work life. The idea draws from sociotechnical theory, which states that both
social and technical systems must be maximized for an optimally effective team.
Schwarz (1994) modified Hackman's work to specify three criteria necessary for effective
groups. First, an effective group delivers output that meets or exceeds the standards of the
group's stake holders. Second, the processes used to carry out the work allows members to work
together effectively on current projects and on subsequent efforts. Finally, as a whole, the group
experience must satisfy the needs of its members.
Tannenbaum, Salas and Cannon-Bowers (1996) define effectiveness as a combination of team
performance in terms of outputs and the team's ability to grow and regenerate itself.
Tannenbaum and colleagues (1996) cite some contextual prerequisites for team success. First,
there must be a logical reason for using a team. Teams are not a panacea for every situation; if a
task is better done individually, no team is needed. Second, management must demonstrate that
they support the team. Third, the team must have the necessary resources to complete the
task(s). Finally, the team's needs must be properly diagnosed. If the above assumptions are met,
then a wide range of interventions are available to facilitate a move toward team effectiveness
To better understand team effectiveness, team performance is evaluated in terms...


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