Team Building Exercise
The Effect Team Building Interventions 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.
Chaper FIVE - Discussion
4) Discussion of After the Event
"In the time since the event, how have the team been affected, what changes have been experienced?"
In the case of Group 1 who had experienced similar events in the past, the effects of the interventions, although expected, were described as 'perfect'.
With reference to Tuckman's Team Development Theory (1965) the first stage and arguably part of the second stage of development have been completed within one day, this evidence backs up the literature assessed earlier from Carron and Hausenblas (1998), who suggest that when successful, team building creates team synergy which consequently leads to improved team performance.
Precisely the effect this team building intervention has had on Group 1's team. Once the project is complete the team will encounter the, much neglected, fifth stage of Tuckman's Team Development Theory (cited Chapman 2005), the stage responsible for the splitting of the team and sensitively releasing the bonds developed within the group.
Group 2's team experienced the desired goals of the interventions for the initial stages following the event, the effects were said to have worn off within time, this is evidence that the effects of the interventions can be short lived and only temporarily fulfill the objectives.
There is limited literature on the long term effects of team building interventions.
If the study from Buller and Bell (1986) was revisited and the effects observed four months following the team building, the results would determine whether the issue experienced is a common theme.
Without this evidence no strong comparisons can be made.
The primary aim of this thesis was to identify the relationship between the managers' expectations and the actual effect of team building.
In the case of Group 3 the experienced effects were greater than those expected.
The intentions were to increase productivity and therefore profits. A luxury team building sailing weekend was the chosen intervention.
The manager wanted to stop the downturn in production and reverse it into an increase.
It was thought that to complete these objectives the team needed a reward which involved team challenges, evidence which supports views from Bateman et al. (2002) who mention that organisation and cohesion are the essence of a successful team.
The team has not only stopped the downturn in production but in the six weeks following the event have actually increased production by twelve percent of what it was prior to the intervention.
This increased competence goes on to back up the views held by Adair (1986) who describes an effective team as one that not only achieves its aims efficiently but is ready to take on more challenges if they arise.
In the case of Group 3's team they have shown evidence of striving for higher goals and are an example of these views expressed by Adair (1986).
With the evidence, albeit not followed up in other literature, from Group 2's experience of the initial increase in productivity within the first few weeks before a decline to previous levels in the following two months, the long term effects of Group 3's interventions need to be considered before conclusive evidence is reported.
The reported effects in this intervention are similar to those experienced by Buller and Bell (1986).
This intervention backs up the research hypothesis which states that team building interventions do have a significant positive effect on the effectiveness, efficiency, morale or productivity within major blue-chip companies.
Looking at broader reasons as to why the effects have been so positive, evident from Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1954 cited Weightman 1999), it could be argued that the workers have moved from levels one and two, physiological and safety needs respectively, to level three, social needs.
Maslow (1954 cited Weightman 1999) uses the description that individuals are constantly striving to reach the next level of the hierarchy.
This description is similar to that of Adair (1986) who similarly defines a successful team as one that strives to achieve more challenges.
This is a view that managers wish to install within their teams and in this case is what has evidently happened.
This is the reason that senior directors within the company are keen to provide team building to all of its departments.
Group 4 participated in a fun team building event that was intended to lift low morale and eradicate negativity within the sales team.
This type of activity is illustrated by Buller (1986, cited in Salas et al. 1999 p311), who 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.
The major problem mentioned is the disruption within the group due to new targets, before this team can focus on enhancing organizational effectiveness they have to stop the problems currently experienced, a view supported by Woodman and Sherwood (1980). The team building interventions did this.
Group 5 reported that the team building interventions have had some negative effects on their team.
The Belbin facilitated event has caused some disruption and conflict within the group.
This supports the literature from Likert (1961) and Wisner and Feist (2001) who believe that team building can do some harm in certain cases.
The event selection has a role to play in the negative effects experienced, it is stated by Belbin (2004) himself that this theory of team building is most suitable for new teams and not existing teams who will not foresee changes after the interventions.