HBR Articles Reaction Paper
The article concerns the topic of working in a team and defines conditions that determine whether the team succeeds or fails. The author points that the teams have become extremely important over the last few decades. People tend to believe that when working in a team, workers become more creative, productive and motivated. It is interesting that not every group of people working together can be called a team. What is more, if people work on something together, uniting their efforts, it does not obligatory mean that they will finish their task more successfully, easily or within a shorter period of time. There are cases when a team underperforms because it is not united, motivated or balanced enough.
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The author of the article names five conditions, under which effective teams can emerge and function. Teams should be distinct; their direction should be convincing; the structure of the team should be strict; there should be at least one organization facilitating teamwork, and there should be an expert coach to guide every team. If a manager takes into consideration each of the above-mentioned conditions and checks their team that underperforms, they will surely discover that at least one of the conditions is not fulfilled. That is why it is a must to remember them and understand that even though teams can work wonders sometimes, no one should expect them to perform them all the time and count on the fact that if a team is successful at a given moment, it will remain the same forever.
There is a question of virtual teams and their effectiveness. Although it may seem that virtual teams should be more motivated and gather wise people from all over the world, in reality, a virtual team does not differ much from a team that works in the office. The conditions that determine success and failure of a team are the same irrespectively of the fact whether it is real or not.
The information provided by the author of the article is gathered from an interview with J.R. Hackman, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University. J.R. Hackman is a leading expert on teams; he devoted most of his time to studying the functioning of teams, exploring their potential challenges and overcoming them. It is surprising to discover how low the outcomes of a teamwork can be. It is devastating how soon people within a team can lose their motivation and how often it happens that when one gathers best professionals together, they do not work properly.
The most extraordinary idea of the article is that the teams underperform not because they lack some knowledge, skills or resources, but because they become flattered by former good results, let themselves relax too much and consider that being experts, they do not have to put much effort in order to succeed. This can be a problem in any workplace, especially nowadays as the market becomes more challenging every day. When there are two teams, one of which is a team of experts proud of their constant success and high efficiency, and the other one is a team of young people who are eager to learn and fight for success, work hard and fail many times before they can accomplish something, the second team is more likely to succeed.
The questions raised in the article are rather topical and should be remembered by everyone. One definitely will have to work in a team sooner or later during his or her life because a team is the most popular and wide-spread form of organization of work activity of people. Even though every team needs a leader to channel its work, a group of professionals, an innovator and a competitor to challenge its work, it mostly needs at least one person who will understand how the team works and how to overcome the obstacles it meets along the way, both personal and task-related. Understanding this and being able to grant the conditions vital for the functioning of the team is crucial for any person in any sphere of his or her life.