Team Building Exercise - Theories
By Ian Harnett
Literature Review & Team Building Theory
Meredith Belbin is arguably the most recognised psychologist in the field of team building exercises.
By picking out 'typical features' of employees it is possible to gain understanding of a whole work force using Belbin's model, allowing managers to clearly see the strengths and potential weaknesses of their teams.
Belbin's model can be used for forming groups or to identify teams that are likely to work well together. This process will maximise potential performance as the team has all of the correct ingredients for success.
Tuckman's Team Development Theory
This is a widely recognised theory segmenting the four stages of development a team will go through before reaching synergy.
Timescales are not illustrated within the theory as they will fluctuate depending on team numbers, tasks and personalities.
Before being able to move on to the next stage of development, teams must overcome issues within their respective stages.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow (1954 cited Weightman, 1999) is another well documented theorist responsible for the recognised hierarchy of human needs.
He describes the stages through which an individual must progress before reaching the 'self actualisation' stage of development.
As with Tuckman (1965) before there is any progression to further stages the current stage must be satisfied. This theory documents natural human drive, constantly striving to achieve until reaching the pinnacle of one's fulfilment.
The first two levels (in ascending order) account for primary needs consisting of basic physical requirements with the physiological level being the most basic essentials of food, water, shelter and rest.
The following three stages are known as secondary needs and will only be reached once the primary needs have been satisfied.
Once all of the levels of needs are satisfied, self actualisation will be achieved. Spenser and Pruss (1992) identify that this stage is reached when a person becomes everything they have the potential to become.
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