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Drawing on your previous experience working in a tight group, assess Belbin's (1993) team function inventory and how you experienced it in your own experiences.
Dr. Meredith Belbin developed this model after intensive analysis and observation of how coordination works. According to his team role model, for a team to work exemplarily well to perfection, each member of the team is assigned tasks that suit their character and enthusiasm. Each participant is required to have their obligations that are jointly set up to accomplish a common objective. Most often than not, in the case of group work most team members fall short of expectations and therefore derailing the teams full potential (Jane S. Prichard). However, at such times, some team members with action-oriented and people-oriented roles rise to fill the gaps by coordinating an effective strategy to overcome the inadequacies faced. Failure to complete the given tasks may be due to their inflexibilities and other arising commitments out of their group roles. However, the structuring of a team is only but one factor to ensure the best performance of a team. Other factors come in when the team is working towards its roles (Simona Lupuleac).
My small team was composed of three members. These were Jermaine, Max and I, Lorenzo. Initially, the workload was subdivided relatively between the three of us according to our preferences. Work was also given specific expectations and timelines concerning the expected presentation. The topic given to me was on the economic impacts of Brexit and how the government will respond to it concerning its effects socially and economically. As expected of any group work, there was confidence associated with the belief that all members of the group were of equal measure and would deliver on their expected roles. Unfortunately, one member failed to rise to the occasion. That withstanding, this issue forced the remaining two of us to provide him the necessary support (Beblin). This psychologically overstretched our limits trying to complete his tasks, but eventually, we managed. During presentations, it was noticeable by our confidence levels while articulating the points of our assignment. Jermaine who did not complete his tasks was nervous and shaky all through his presentation unlike the two of us who were buzzing with confidence and joy. Other than that, our team performed well according to our expectations, and all went to fruition despite the initial challenge.
In the model according to Belbin’s theory, nine unique team roles can be used to describe the characters of team members. These tasks can be grouped according to three significant subgroups; the action-oriented roles, people-oriented roles and thought oriented roles. Action-oriented roles such as shapers, implementers, and complete finishers are the easiest to find in a group. These types of roles are shaped onto ensuring the tasks are done to completion depending on team member strengths and weaknesses (Stewart R. Clegg). People-oriented roles are focused on building the cooperation of team members to achieve the roles of a team cohesively. These members include coordinators, team workers, and resource investigators. The last members are the thought oriented members. These roles are focused on strategies to ensure the team goals are achieved. The ideas and skills put in place are focused when assigning member roles. The team members in this group include specialists, monitor evaluators, and plant role types (Chong).
My role in the group came out as clearly defined by the model as a coordinator. Right from the start, I was significantly involved in calling for the group meeting where we were engaged in the distribution of work. In the model, Belbin describes a coordinator as one who has an internal urge to coordinate the group’s activities and to plan for the expected events of the team. Belbin defines the character and behaviors of coordinators as those with a broad mind, tolerant and confident towards success. In our group, despite Jermaine failure to live up to expectations, my attitude towards group goal delivery made me push for an extra pulling of resources from Max and me to enable the goal delivery of the group. Group coordinators are also advocates of cooperation and togetherness which is evident in our team since we did not negatively criticize Jermaine’s inadequacies but rather stretched our roles to deliver on our assignment collectively.
According to the model, teamwork is executed by understanding the roles, strengths, and weakness of the team members. Most teams will always be unbalanced due to or personal behavioral differences. However, for organizations with different weaknesses and strengths, they tend to cooperate rather than compete. Ideally, our group formed with different characters pulled two similar guys against one with an unusual behavior. We managed to work due to our focus on team goals rather than our individual performance (Dulewicz).
Other actions oriented characters such as shapers who challenge the team to improve its destiny and encourage members to fruition were not present in our groups. However, a shaper is one integral member in the performance of a team. Shapers shake the more profound reflection of possibilities that would have derailed our handling of our tasks. If our group had a shaper, we would have formally prepared for such instances by providing back up plans in case one of us doesn’t complete their jobs in time or a quality manner. Max seemed to be a complete finisher, he virtually achieved his roles in the group without failure. From my perspective, I the team implementer made our team ideas work.
Due to my Coordinator personality, I had to call on Max to help in together with Jermaine and me to handle the remaining tasks of the group. This made an excellent reflection on the success of our team.
In our group, we did not have members who portrayed the thought oriented roles such as creative innovators, monitor and evaluators and the specialist who have specific skills needed to complete particular tasks. The assignment given to our small group could not call for such type of team members as described by the model.
Beblin, M. Team role at work. Oxford : Elseiver, 2010.
Chong, Eric. "Role balance and team development: A study of team role characteristics underlying high and low performing teams." Working Paper Series 1.4 (2005): 1-17.
Dulewicz, V. "A validation of Belbin's team roles from 16PF and OPQ using bosses’ ratings of competence." Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 68.2 (1995): 81-99.
Jane S. Prichard, Neville A. Stanton. "Testing Belbin’s team role theory of effective groups." Journal of Management Development 18.8 (1999): 652-665.
Simona Lupuleac, Zenica-Livia Lupuleac, Costache Rusu. "Problems of Assessing Team Roles Balance -Team Design." Procedia Economics and Finance 3 (2012): 935-940.
Stewart R. Clegg, Martin Kornberger, Tyrone S. Pitsis. Managing and Organizations. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2015.
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