Team Cohesiveness

The solidarity or cohesiveness of a team is an important indicator of how much influence the group has over its individual members. The more cohesive the group – the more strongly members feel about belonging to it – the greater its influence. If the members of a group feel strongly attached to it, they are not likely to violate its norms.

Team cohesiveness also plays a role in small companies. Team cohesiveness is critical in helping the individual feel good about his or her contribution to the effort. When TQM was introduced at Kane, teams of between five and eight employees were set up to deal with specific problems and demonstrate the impact that teams could make. They also made sure that all employees understood that no improvement is too small. Over a period of time, they can make a major difference. The first team the Job Information Team, worked on improving the clarity of forms used to process orders. Once the project was completed the team’s recommendations were accepted and immediately implemented. Kane continue to emphasize the importance of every team and very employee to TQM.

Highly cohesive teams often have less tension and hostility and fewer misunderstandings than less cohesive groups do. Additionally studies have found that cohesive groups tend to produce more uniform output than less cohesive groups, which often have problems with communication and cooperation.

The Software Reusability Department of ARINC Research Corporation discovered that trust is the key to cohesiveness in teams. What this means is that cohesive teams cannot tolerate extremists, positive or negative. One of our most difficult realizations, recalled Risa B Hyman director of the department, was that some talented individuals cannot flourish in a team oriented environment. If team cohesion is not to be eroded, management must recognize such a mismatch and address the problem before team goals are jeopardized.
When cooperation is especially vital for instance, to meeting strategic goals – managers have four ways to improve cohesiveness, introduce competition, increase interpersonal attraction, increase interaction and create common goals and common fates for employees.

Introduce Competition:

Conflict with outside individuals or other teams increases group cohesiveness. With this factor in mind, GE has developed a new program to train managers in creating and leading competitive work teams. Competition is also used at Nintendo, the company that brought us Super Mario Brothers where creative director Shiegeru Miyamoto often encourages creativity by dividing his 200 designers into opposing teams.

Increase interpersonal attraction:

People tend to join teams whose members they identify with or admire. Thus, an organization may want to begin by trying to attract employees who share certain key values. Managers at Rosenbluth Travel winner of a Tom Peters award as Service Company of 1990, use carefully worded advertisements and unique interviewing techniques (such as an impromptu baseball game) to discover associates who share a concern for consideration and service. More importantly, Rosenbluth follows through with training, seminars and policies that foster pride in meeting the common organizational goal for providing outstanding service.

Increase Interaction:

Although it is not often possible for people to like everyone they work with increased interaction can improve camaraderie and communication. Corporations such as Tandem Computers and Genentech, a biotechnology firm, hold regular beer parties to which all employees are invited. At Merle Norman Cosmetics, managers sponsor Saturday night movies and serve ice cream at a 1920s-style movie emporium. In Huntsville, Alabama, Goldstar of America, Inc., occasionally closes down its plant early for volleyball games in which employees can meet one another in a spirit of camaraderie as well as good natured competition. This subsidiary of the South Korean firm Lucky Goldstar is a noted for its success in encouraging parallel production teams to compete against one another. Here we see the interaction of two techniques for increasing cohesiveness (Competition and interaction).