25 Years Professional Event Management

Team Building Exercise

The Effect Team Building Exercises Have on the Corporate Sector

A dissertation submitted by Ian Harnett in partial completion of the award for BSC (HONS) Sport Development and Coaching Sciences.

Definitions of Team Building

Smith's (1985, cited in Adair, 1986) metaphoric description of a team suggests that people or employees are like jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together without distortion and which, once completed, produce an overall pattern.

Trent (2003) explains the need for a cohesive team as companies have a significant reliance upon them. He goes on to say that teams are a cohesive, organised number of employees co-ordinated to conduct tasks.

This view is not dissimilar to those posed by Bateman et al. (2002) who mention organisation and cohesion when describing teams.

Adair (1986) describes an effective team as one that not only achieves its aims efficiently but is ready to take on more challenges if they arise.

These descriptions of teams vary as they would in industry. Some employees would see a team as a functioning group of employees working together, similarly to Smith (1985). However, Adair (1986) has the ideology that teams should achieve aims and strive for more challenges.

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) dispute these views and state that teams have a set of goals and should be accountable for their actions. This definition assumes teams should hold responsibility for their actions, a view that none of the other authors mention within their definitions.

Brooks (2005) recognises team building exercises as an ongoing process which, when completed successfully, are an effective and relatively unexplored training tool.

Once teams have been identified, the assessment of the team building exercise as a tool to fulfil Smith's ideology must be explored.

Buller (1986, cited in Salas et al. 1999 p311) simply describes team building as

  • 'a means of intervention facilitated by a third party consultant who develops the problem solving capacity and solves major problems of an intact work group'.

Woodman and Sherwood (1980) focus their definition on enhancing organisational effectiveness and increasing role clarity.

A lack of statistical and quantitative data available may result in inconsistent perceptions of team building.

Wisner and Feist (2001) add to the debate between teams and effectiveness stating that few studies have established a clear connection between team building and higher performance, and even fewer have quantitatively assessed the impact on corporate performance.

This lack of data may deter businesses from participating in team building exercises.

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