Teamwork is "work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole" .
In a business setting accounting techniques may be used to provide financial measures of the benefits of teamwork which are useful for justifying the concept. Teamwork is increasingly advocated by health care policy makers as a means of assuring quality and safety in the delivery of services; a committee of the Institute of Medicine recommended in 2000 that patient safety programs "establish interdisciplinary team training programs for providers that incorporate proven methods of team training, such as simulation."
In health care, a systematic concept analysis in 2008 concluded teamwork to be "a dynamic process involving two or more healthcare professionals with complementary backgrounds and skills, sharing common health goals and exercising concerted physical and mental effort in assessing, planning, or evaluating patient care." Elsewhere teamwork is defined as "those behaviours that facilitate effective team member interaction," with "team" defined as "a group of two or more individuals who perform some work related task, interact with one another dynamically, have a shared past, have a foreseeable shared future, and share a common fate." Another definition for teamwork proposed in 2008 is "the interdependent components of performance required to effectively coordinate the performance of multiple individuals"; as such, teamwork is "nested within" the broader concept of team performance which also includes individual-level taskwork. A 2012 review of the academic literature found that the word "teamwork" has been used "as a catchall to refer to a number of behavioral processes and emergent states."
- Transition processes (between periods of action)
- Mission analysis
- Goal specification
- Strategy formulation
- Action processes (when the team attempts to accomplish its goals and objectives)
- Monitoring progress toward goals
- Systems monitoring
- Team monitoring and backup behavior
- Interpersonal processes (present in both action periods and transition periods)
- Conflict management
- Motivation and confidence building
- Affect management
Researchers have confirmed that performing teamwork generally works better when members of the team have prior experience working together due to enhanced coordination and communication. This appears partly due to a chemical called serotonin(5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) which helps an individual to communicate better and think more positively. Serotonin is produced when an individual is in a situation where he/she is in comfortable environment.
Training to improve teamwork
As in a 2008 review, "team training promotes teamwork and enhances team performance." In specific, a 2014 meta-analysis of 45 published and unpublished studies concluded that team training is "useful for improving cognitive outcomes, affective outcomes, teamwork processes, and performance outcomes." Eduardo Salas, Deborah DiazGranados, Cameron Klein, C. Shawn Burke, Kevin C. Stagl, Gerald F. Goodwin, and Stanley M. Halpin.
- Problems solving: A single brain can’t bounce different ideas off of each other. Each team member has a responsibility to contribute equally and offer their unique perspective on a problem to arrive at the best possible solution. Teamwork can lead to better decisions, products, or services. The quality of teamwork may be measured by analyzing the following six components of collaboration among team members: communication, coordination, balance of member contributions, mutual support, effort, and cohesion. In one study, teamwork quality as measured in this manner correlated with team performance in the areas of effectiveness (i.e., producing high quality work) and efficiency (i.e., meeting schedules and budgets). A 2008 meta-analysis also found a relationship between teamwork and team effectiveness.
- Healthy competition: A healthy competition in groups can be used to motivate individuals and help the team excel.
- Developing relationships: A team that continues to work together will eventually develop an increased level of bonding. This can help people avoid unnecessary conflicts since they have become well acquainted with each other through team work. Team members’ ratings of their satisfaction with a team is correlated with the level of teamwork processes present.
- Everyone has unique qualities: Every team member can offer their unique knowledge and ability to help improve other team members. Through teamwork the sharing of these qualities will allow team members to be more productive in the future.
Things to avoid
- Teamwork may have an "unintended effect of fermenting hostility toward the managerial goal of making the teams fully self-managing." In one case study of a clothing manufacturer, a switch from production line work (with bonuses given for individual performance) to teamwork (in which an individual's earnings depended on team performance) caused workers to resent having to monitor each other.
- There is a potential of "social loafing" (i.e., an individual's doing less work in a team than what he/she would normally do working individually). In order to minimize social loafing, management can make individual performance more visible while in a team setting. This can be done by forming smaller teams, specializing specific tasks to certain individuals, and measuring individual performance. Social loafing can also be reduced by increasing employee motivation, by selecting employees who have previously shown themselves to be motivated, and increasing job enrichment. In experiments conducted in the 1990s, an increase in group cohesiveness appeared to decrease social loafing.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Teamwork.|
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- Hackman, J. Richard, ed. (1990). Groups That Work (and Those That Don't): Creating Conditions for Effective Teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1555421873.
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