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Since ancient times, when the Egyptians built the Pyramids, to the vast armies of Rome, the conquests of Alexander the Great to the modern armies, hospitals, and the Industries, the importance of people in turning a dream into reality has always been emphasized. Without people, all plans and strategies come to nothing, and the grandest dreams, remain just that. The power of like-minded groups with similar goals and objectives or teams as such groups are called is very vital to changing a dream or a vision to reality. The process gives rise to the concept of teamwork and team play. The paper discusses the statement from a wide range of perspectives and also examines the role of people in teams engaged in different activities such as the defense, healthcare, IT industry, and quality teams in automobile engineering. The concept of people and teams needs to be understood clearly. In a disaster, there would be hundreds of passive onlookers but only a handful of firefighters who risk their lives to help others. In this scenario, by people, we mean the team of firefighters and not the general public and it is such a team that helps to realize the goals, dreams, and aspirations of organizations and leaders.
Ethics for Life
Boss (2003) has discussed the role of ethics and leadership from the ancient philosophers to modern times. The author has discussed the roles, works, and views of great philosophers such as Aristotle, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Aquinas and presented the various theories and concepts the philosophers had about people and their concepts of ethics from a philosophical view. He has discussed at the length the philosophical framework of ethical dogma and subjectivism and all the related concepts of ethical skeptics and emotivism and has arguments that went contrary to these concepts. Presenting a discussion that is multicultural and interdisciplinary, she has discussed at length the works and lives of philosophers such as Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha, Carol Gilligan, Ayan Rand, and even Black Eli. Boss has displayed her orientation towards the eastern philosophies when she promotes fell good eastern philosophies and puts all the blames on capitalism, western philosophy, and white males. She as said “genuine praxis demands a shift away from how an individual routinely sees the world, to a viewing of the world through the eyes of the collective ‘we’ and this suggests that deep bias she had for people who functioned as a group and team (p. 44). Again Boss suggests that the role of men when it comes to the care for women has always been misguided. She has suggested “Men may have kept women out of the dog-eat-dog job market out of consideration for their well-being, but the effect has been harmful to women” (p. 51). In another instance she has suggested “the neglect of both philosophers and psychologists to take the women’s perspective into account has created the false impression that women are morally deficient compared to men”. Boss has spoken at length about how people reacted against capitalism and it was in effect the voice and power of the people that made communist China and Russia into strongly Communist countries “Some people are so emotionally invested in certain opinions on moral issues that they may, unknowingly, manipulate their arguments to ‘prove’ a conclusion that does not logically follow the premise”.
Army in Ancient Rome
Hadas (1960) has written extensively about the voice of the people of Rome and their armies that made possible the great vision and dream that the Roman conquerors had. The author has argued that but for the power and the brawn of the common people, the soldiers, and the slaves, the might of Rome had little value and the dreams of Julius Caesar and others would have remained unfilled. The author has suggested that at its peak, the Roman empire may have had up to 120 million Citizens spread across its vast borders that ranged up to Iran in the east, Tunisia in the south, and Britain in the West. The Roman emperors had a dream and vision to make Rome the greatest power in the world and they drew up elaborate long-term plans of wars and campaigns. But again the author suggests that all the plans centered around the Roman people and the slaves who had to work in building and maintaining the city and helping the army. The importance of people in achieving the dreams and goals of the emperors would have remained unfulfilled if it were due to the massive people’s power and the support they lent, whether voluntary or through coercion.
Hadas (1960) again has written about the strenuous efforts that the common soldier put in. In the earlier period when Rome was just coming up, the soldiers were free unsalaried citizens who donned arms to carry out the vision of the senate and the senate leader who ultimately became the emperor. The author has suggested that the Roman army was formidable and about 3,75,000 at its peak and the empire looked at the army to protect the borders, collect taxes, and maintain law and order in the city. The author has emphasized that by itself a large group of citizens would be called a mob and has suggested that the strong and harsh training that was given to the soldiers turned them into highly cohesive fighting units. The team spirit that was given included caring for their fellow soldiers, using the shield effectively, and fighting with skill rather than muscle power and wild swinging blows. From the above arguments, it is evident that the Roman emperor and leadership relied on people to realize their dreams and they also took care of the soldiers, provided them with the required training, and made them into a cohesive fighting and highly disciplined team.
People power in it industries and knowled management
Kadapa (2006) speaks of the Knowledge Management (KM) practices that have come into force in leading IT industries such as Microsoft, Infosys, IBM, Patni, and others. The author has explained that modern companies have a vision statement which is a synthesis of the dreams, goals, and ambitions of the organization. The key tool in ensuring that these dreams are met is through people and there is great importance in managing human resources, that are regarded as very valuable. The author has suggested that these KM practices are an attempt by the organizations to capture work-related that the employees have accrued during their work. The captured learnings are then archived and made available to future generations of employees so that the learning curve is considerably reduced and the recruits have a ready information base that they can use to master the responsibilities of their role quickly.
Earley (2000) speaks of how organizations depend on people and teams to achieve their goals. According to the author, after considering the complex demands of the work, organizations have adopted a cross-cultural team force that is made of members who belong to different departments. So typically, a team for new product development would have members from maintenance, production, engineering, development, purchase, and marketing. The author has argued that the true power of collective intelligence is used by organizations to achieve their visions and goals. In the context of the paper, people can be regarded as members who have come together to achieve the organization’s goals. The team has a good level of interdependence among the individual members and needs to be lead by a good team member who can infuse motivation and the will to succeed. The author again argues that the organization’s dreams and goals cannot be achieved just by bringing together people with a wide difference in interests and that there should be an active will to contribute, communicate with each other, and a feeling of mutual trust.
Team in Sports
Carmichael (et all, 1995) speaks of the importance of team play in sports such as rugby, soccer baseball, and others. In these games, it is the team that wins or loses and helps the managers and fans to achieve their dreams of winning a cup. Such games can be won only through active, cooperative team play. While it is true that a few players in crucial positions become more popular, these players would not go very far if others did not support them. So the concept of only people helping to achieve the goals and ambitions needs to be revised as it is only when these people work in close cooperation and have that the hopes, dreams, and aspirations can be realized.
Teams in Manufacturing Industries
Womack (Womack et all, 1990) first coined the term lean production in the book ‘The Machine that Changed the world’. He defined lean production “as a method that uses less of everything when compared with mass production. The basic and the most underlying factors for implementing the work improvement process techniques were always people and the Japanese firmly believed that instead of bringing in new technology, it was mainly the right people who could help the organization to achieve their dreams, goals, and ambition. The author believed that half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the time are required when people are motivated and work in teams. The western world was fascinated by the way the Toyota manufacturing company had increased its profits by managing its production and optimized the internal efficiency. The advent of technology was not very high among the Japanese in the 1950s but still, they managed to become world-beaters by harnessing the power of the people. Taiichi (Taiichi Ohno, 1995) described the Japanese system of production that emphasized eliminating waste and this was the basis of the lean management principles. His principles of work improvement heavily depended on people and not just technology.
Teams in Retail Chains
Wang (2005) has written about the supply chain management practices at retail giants such as Tesco and Walmart. The author has suggested that the success of the supply chain does not depend only on the high technology software application but on the people who manage the stores, administer the supply chain, and on the front-line staff. While technology does act as a great enabler it is only people who have helped the companies to achieve the dreams and ambitions of their organizations.
The paper has examined the impact of people and organized teams in different eras, right from ancient Rome to modern IT organizations and large retailers. People working as alert and closely-knit teams play a decisive role in helping an organization or a leader to achieve their dreams, goals, and ambitions. All planning and other strategic decisions have to be executed by people and without the right kind of people, success is not possible.
Carmichael F. Thomas, D. (1995). Production and efficiency in team sports: an investigation of rugby league football. Journal of Applied Economics. Volume 27. Issue 9. pp: 859-869
Boss Judith. (2003). Ethics for Life: A Text with Readings, 3 edition. McGraw-Hill. ISBN-10: 0072831332
Earley P. Christopher. Elaine Mosakowski. (2000). Creating Hybrid Team Cultures: An Empirical Test of Transnational Team Functioning. The Academy of Management Journal. Volume 43. Issue 1. pp: 26-49
Hadas, M. (1960). Imperial Rome, in Great Ages of man: A History of the World’s Cultures. New York, Time-Life Books
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Kadapa Shashi. (2006). Building KM @ Patni. (Ed) Kazi, A.S., and Wolf, P. (2006) Real Life Knowledge Management: Lessons from the Field. KnowledgeBoard. ISBN: 9525004724.
Taiichi Ohno, 1995, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-scale Production, pp. 47 – 65; Productivity Press Inc., ISBN 0-915299-14-3
Wang Jianfeng (2006), ‘Economies Of It Systems At Tesco & Wal-Mart – an Historical Perspective’, Academy of Information and Management Sciences Journal, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp: 45-67
Womack James, Jones Daniel, Roos Daniel, 1990. The Machine that Changed the World. New York: Scribner Book Company. ISBN:9780892563500.