In the past, popular management type was to hold total control in the hand. Manager has the authority to plan, orient, make decisions, and control a project. However, today management structure has a significant change from monopoly of power and authority of manager to the empowerment of the individual and team leadership. Additionally, team-based management approaches have widely been applied to many organizations. Under these circumstances, organizations require that there are specific researches about teamwork to ensure that their teams operate more effective. Furthermore, during the past century group dynamics term has been researched and developed as body of theoretical knowledge in order to analyze how people work in small groups or teams. In order to institute the optimum performance in the organization, one of the most popular toolkits on this concern is Belbin self-perception inventory that is also the subject of this study.
Firstly, this paper will critically reflect upon the validity of my Belbin self-perception inventory based on my own experiences while undertaking a small group/team project-related task.
Secondly, the other purpose of this study is to make a critically evaluation of my own group/team dynamics in regard to the existing body of theoretical knowledge, in specific to conflict; power and social influence.
2.0 A CRITICALLY REFLECTION OF THE VALIDITY OF MY BELBIN SELF-PERCEPTION INVENTORY
2.1 The team concept
Teams have appeared for the beginning of human existence and are the objective of numerous literatures. Originally, in the view of organizational background the team is a particular type of group whose members interact with another one in high level to make contributions to the common, specific purpose (Zainbooks, no date). According to Katzenbach and Smith (1993) set of people in small group with complementary skills, who are called a team, are confided and undertaken a common goal, set of performance tasks, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually responsible. It can be suggested that a team in the organization is required three essential characteristics which are commitment, skill and responsibility.
2.2 The Role concept
Biddle and Thomas (1966) noted that role is a sociology-origin notion. Initially, it was utilized to apprehend the individual behaviors in a social environment.
On the other hand, a longitudinal study (Johnson and Erez, 1998) undertaken in this field shows that today researchers are effectively applying the role theory in a number of areas, such as psychology, sociology, social psychology, human resources management and organizational behavior.
In addition, Belbin (2010) categorizes two roles styles including functional roles and team roles. A study by Gunduz and his colleagues in 2008, p.461 (cited in Biddle, 1979) defines that “functional role, is required functions for the survival and living of a social system”. He also identifies that team role is set of tasks which are required to be completed in order to play the pursuit.
2.2 Team Roles
One of the first researches, which relate to team role theory, belongs Benne and Sheats (1948). The study assumes that the membership roles are demanded for group improvement and production. They also categorized 27 team roles and divide into three main groups which consisted of team, individual, and mission roles.
In addition, another important literature about team roles was performed by Bales (1950). Firstly, he aimed at identifying different behaviors that individuals in small groups appeared. Next, the study also distinguished behaviors into “their being positive or negative and their being active and passive”.
Besides, Parker (1994, 1996) has made contributions to team role theory. His research focused on four team players styles that are contributor, communicator, collaborator and challenger represented the choices the individuals made for the interaction within the team context.
Finally, Belbin’s Team Roles Theory (2010) is considered as the most useful recent toolkit to measure behavioral characteristics that individuals exhibit when working in teams. At the beginning, he classified eight team roles, however then he presented the ninth. Belbin’s theory will be specifically addressed in detail below.
The Belbin Team Role Self-Perception Inventory (BTRSPI)
As mentioned above, Belbin classify two types of roles in team environment. The first one is the functional role, the other one is the team role(s). Team role demonstrates how adaptable the member is in his team, not he functions. This paper will address to his team roles type more deeply.
BTRSPI was inferred from the results of experiments which Belbin accomplished in 1970s. However, in scope of this paper, all stage of his experiments will not be expressed, just focus on variety of team roles he use to measure behaviour of participant with purpose providing the most helpful and verifiable information concerning an individual to a recruiter, manager or consultant, as well as to the individual interested in.
A journal written in 2007 by Aritzeta et al. (cited Belbin, 1981) states that Belbin introduced the eight role model and each one was described as a pattern of behaviour characteristic of the way in which one member of team has interrelation with another to assist the movement of the team as a whole. Initially, he named the team roles as; Chairman, Shaper, Plant, Resource Investigator, Monitor Evaluator, Team Worker, Company Worker and Completer Finisher. Afterward, he relabeled Chairman as Coordinator, and the Company Worker as Implementer; moreover, Specialist also was added as the ninth one (Gunduz, 2008).
Belbin Associates (2009, p.9)
Furthermore, Belbin Associates (2009) notes that behaviour of team member is influenced by a number of factors, namely, personality, current values and motivations, mental abilities, experience, role learning, and the external working environment which define a role in the model. The nine Team Roles also were classified into three categories as Action, Social and Thinking roles:
Action: Completer Finisher (CF); Implementer (IMP); Shaper (SH)
Social: Co-ordinator (CO); Resource Investigator (RI); Teamworker (TW)
Thinking: Monitor Evaluator (ME); Plant (PL); Specialist (SP)
Belbin Associates (2009, p.10)
Finally, the BTRSPI was designed as a questionnaire test including seven sections, in each section there are a heading and ten statements, which candidates give mark(s) to. A work-based circumstance, which may happen in team context, is presented by each heading, whereas ten statements illustrate nine team roles, and the last one represents Dropped Points. Candidates complete through distributing ten marks to ten statements, allocated mark(s) for each statement base on degree of relevance with regard to the situation in which they are. After finishing all sections, candidate will receive a individual report from Belbin e-interplace®, normally consist of Self-Perception Team Role Profile, Counseling Report, Character Profile, Personal Work Style (Belbin Associates, 2009). In the Self-Perception Team Role Profile, an individual’s Team Roles are evaluated in three groups:
Preferred Roles – those roles which the individual is comfortable playing and which come in nature.
Manageable Roles – those roles which an individual can play if required for the benefit of the team. These may be cultivated to broaden the individual’s teamworking experience.
Least Preferred Roles – those roles which the individual does not naturally or comfortably assume. It is generally suggested that the individual avoids contributing in these areas, lest the pitfalls of the behaviour outweigh the strengths.
A critical reflection of the validity of my Belbin self perception inventory.
In my self-perception team role profile, there are three least preferred roles (Co-ordinator, Shaper and Implementer), five manageable roles (Plant, Resource Investigator, Monitor Evaluator, Completer Finisher and Specialist), at last just one preferred role which is Teamworker.
Firstly, I will examine a team role which I have the lowest mark is Shaper with about 8 marks. That is quite interesting to me. According to Aritzeta (2007, p.108) “Shaper (SH): Innovative cognitive style; Attempts to control; In con¬‚icts tries to dominate; Shows Machiavellian behaviour; Achievement orientation; Low emotional intelligence; Con¬‚ict”. Belbin Associates (2009,p.9) stresses that a team member with low mark in SH is inclined to aggravation and likely to upset others.
Generally, I recognize that I interacted with my partners in my team at my workplace exactly the report reflect. Last year, I worked in Design Department in a construction company. My team consisted of four people with degree of bachelor of engineering. We undertook to design completely twenty-storey apartment building with new technologies in time pressure. There were a enormous number of things need to do, such as designing and calculating structure based on new technologies. Overloading tasks made me tired and offended. Additionally, I was worried about being behind our schedule, therefore I unintentional put a high pressure on my partners and myself; not surprisingly, I sometimes offended others in my team. Consequently, I was in conflict with them, it leaded to negative effects, for example reducing team’s performance, creating strong negative emotion. Overall, it can be suggested that this feedback coming from my report is valid to measure my behavioural characteristics while working in a small team project-related task.
Secondly, Teamworker (TW) is the most preferred role with 95 marks. As emphasized by Belbin (2010), the TW was found to have the sociability scores normally linked with extroverts, conversely receive a low score for the dominance of the introverts. The TW is known as a trusting and responsive characteristic with exhibiting a significant concern in people, especially in listening, building expectations of partner; preventing friction in workplace.
As can be expected, there was a strong experience to reveal Teamworker term when my group implemented to making a strategy for bank acquisition simulation at Strategic Project Management class. I was nominated as team leader to lead my group to complete a 3000-word assignment and a simulation effectively. Unfortunately, I have no experience as leader before, also have just been familiar with English education approach as we all are an international student. Naturally, we was beset with a recognizable issues: making mistake in identifying main mission, barrier of language and being difficult to communicate with other in the team at the beginning.
As a leader, I organize a number of meetings in order to address variety of problem of each. In the meetings, I encouraged every member presented their problems and found the best solutions together. Thus, team members knew each other better. As a result, all people became opener and more self-confident to share their ideas and study-effectively method. Over the meetings, all members expressed a number of logical strategies for bank acquisition. In partners’ feedback I am seem as a well-communicable leader.
A CRITICALLY EVALUATION OF MY OWN GROUP/TEAM DYNAMICS IN RELATION TO THE EXISTING BODY OF THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE
A critical evaluation of my own team dynamics in relation to the social conflict theory.
Definitions of social conflict:
“Conflicts of various types are a natural part of the team process” (Levi, 2007, p.111). Osborne (2011) shows that social conflict arises between or within people, groups, organizations and nations. With social conflict, it is possible to achieve a solution to a problem. According to Osborne (2011), there are a number of definitions of social conflict. One of the first ones cited Deutsh (1967, p.7) by Osborne (2011) is “A conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur.” One of the widely known definitions of social conflict belongs Bisno (1988, pp. 13-4) and Coser (1968, p. 232) “A process of social interaction involving a struggle over claims to:
Power and status,
Other preferences and desires.”
On the other hand, Rahim (1992) defines that “Conflict is an interactive process manifested in incompatibility, disagreement, or dissonance within or between social entities (individuals, groups, organizations and nations).”
Impact of social conflict management on team dynamics
To many people, it is considered that social conflict is a negative factor to influence on team environment. However, Levi (2007) argues that conflict not only have negative influences but also positive ones. Accordingly, this paper will evaluate two aspects of social conflict in order to find out how to manage conflict in team environment beneficially.
As Levi mentioned in 2007 (cited in Cosier & Dalton, 1990), the positive sides of conflict are that team decision-making may be enhanced over bringing out team issues into the open discussions. Moreover, Robbins (1974) also supports that it encourages the team to discover new approaches, motivates team members to recognize problems deeper, as well as lead to new ideas. As a result, team performance considerably increases, and its members are more creative, productive.
After all, I have a strong evident to demonstrate above statements. Once seminar class of Project Team Dynamics module, we were organized into three teams undertaking separately the same task. Mission was to design symbols in order to represent nine terms (Plant, Resource Investigator, Co-ordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Teamworker, Implementer, Completer Finisher and Specialist) that were defined and explain on task paper. This example is quite exciting because all members in my team had a diverse imagination so that we had difference ideas. Thus, we had a conflict in choosing which symbol is the best. This resulted in analyzing minutely the term definition together, and then combining creative ideas. Consequently, we drew all symbols rapidly and correctly. It can be recommended that conflict may stimulate creativity, innovation, performance.
On the other hand, last semester I experienced an unsuccessful work when I studied at Pre-sessional English class. My group was assigned to carry out a report about shopping habit in England. Conflict came from team leader who is very good at English because he always asked others to do exactly what he want, moreover he did not pay attention to the other ideas. He also came lately when we had a meeting. Because of that, the others and I felt upset him and did not want to contribute to complete our report. Therefore, our report submitted later than deadline and was awarded a penalty because of this. According to Levi (2007) source of conflict is from faulty attributions, or faulty communication. Disagreement on task issues can produce hostile reaction; also, performance of team may be decreased.
A critical evaluation of my own team dynamics concerning power and social influence.
Power and social influence at teamwork and organization background
Levi (2007, p.128) defines social influence as “an attempt to affect or change other people”. He also states, “Power is the capacity or ability to change the beliefs, attitudes or behaviours of others”. At workplace, members of team utilize diverse types of power to influence others and the team as well. Studies (French & Raven, 1959; Raven et al., 1998) undertaken in this area indicate that individual may have two power types within group and organization. The first one is personal (or soft power) that derives from an individual’s characteristics or personality, including expert, referent, and information power. Positional (or harsh power) is a second one that based on formal position of individual within an organization, it consists of legitimate, reward, and coercive power.
A thesis (Kipnis et al., 1984) states that utilizing soft powers brings more efficiency than the use of positional sources. As experience said above, I leaded my team to successful simulation. I use the personal source of power because I had expertise and information in this area. When I give strategies or decisions, the others often believe in them. All people felt comfortable and unpressured; hence, they promoted their ability most. In this case, it may be the best key to manage my team. Yet, the fact that no one is a specialist in all fields so that it does not make team member expert at all. Therefore, using soft power is limited (Levi, 2007)