Even though teams are usually used at all levels of the organization, they may fail to deliver the hoped result. In fact, failure has become the norm for teams, yet its cost is breathtakingly large (Froeb, McCann, Shor, & Ward, 2015). Perhaps the major reason why many teams perform at a poor level is the lack of a clearly stated measurable goal and a compelling vision. The lack of performance thus stems from people not knowing what to accomplish and why it is important. In contrast, a clear direction enables the team to make a d etailed plan of action and follow it.
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The lack of clear boundaries is another critical issue that leads most teams to failure. The duties of team members should not be amorphous in order for people to know their tasks and ensure that efforts are not overlapping. It is considered that a team should be formed in order to assemble the knowledge that only some individuals possess (Brickley, Smith, & Zimmerman, 2016). Simply putting smart people together in one room would not be effective. When the team consists of employees who have the same qualification, they may be unsure of what is required of them. The problem with task distribution may lead to unclear decision-making and poor performance of the team. It may be assumed that some tasks are better accomplished by individuals or a group of individuals with different qualifications. In some cases, the creation of a team may be unfeasible for the achievement of a specific result.
Poor team performance may be explained by the lack of accountability which is often difficult to establish due to it being indefinite. If established, performance measurement problems may occur even when the team is able to use the different specialized knowledge of its members, so the output of the team is larger than the output of working independently. The chosen performance-evaluation strategy may cause free-rider problems, as some workers may hope that others will work more diligently so as to make a profit for the company. As a result, this will lead to the employees shrinking on effort. The larger the size of the team, the more likely it that there will be free-riders. Sometimes, the costs of controlling free-rider problems within teams exceed the benefits that come from team production. Also, one could note that peer pressure can sometimes be brutal and disruptive. The teams thus work better when jobs are functional rather than multitask.
Teams are generally formed because of their beneficial production effects. This, however, complicates the evaluation of the performance of individual team members due to the impossibility of measuring the individual output. Consequently, team members are evaluated based on team output and peer evaluations. However, there are many problems that may stem from such an internal organizational structure of a team. When decision rights are partitioned among the team members who decide on how to evaluate their teammates, grades may be unfair. Even though such a strategy can lead to the reduction of the number of free-riders and an increase in team production, employee morale may be reduced (Brickley et al., 2016). It is possible that some team members will downgrade their colleagues just to raise their own grades. Finally, the lack of a leader to distribute tasks and ensure team cohesion may also lead teams to failure.
Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2016). Managerial economics and organizational architecture (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Froeb, L. M., McCann, B. T., Shor, M., & Ward, M. R. (2015). Managerial economics: A problem solving approach (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.