Importance of Teamwork
The nature of work is changing. Recent technological advances, a shift from manufacturing to service-based organizations, increased global competition, and the importance of knowledge workers all have contributed to a dynamic and complex work environment. To survive, organizations must embrace flexibility and adaptability. They must have a systems view that helps them to integrate the meaning of common everyday occurrences into overall interrelationships, interdependencies, and patterns of change to allow them to achieve this needed adaptability. Very often, organizations accomplish these goals through the implementation of teams. It is in direct response to increasingly severe time pressures, technological advancements, and other elements of highly complex environments that teamwork has become an established stronghold and a source of competitive advantage for today’s organizations. Teams are also called on when the task demands are such that the capabilities of one individual are exceeded or the consequences of error are high. Therefore, the utility of teams and teamwork has spanned industry to include aviation, nuclear power, and the military.
A team is a collective of interdependent individuals who together have shared objectives, mental models, and procedures that guide their perceptions, thinking, and behaviors toward a common goal. The process in which teams achieve this commonality is called collaboration. Similarly, cooperation has been discussed as a team skill competency that includes offering help to those team members who need it, pacing activities to fit the needs of the team, and behaving so that actions are not misinterpreted. Collective organizations immerse themselves in the virtues of collaboration and cooperation by reducing the hierarchy of social stratification on which traditional bureaucratic organizations rely. Furthermore, they encourage decisions to be made by the collective group to foster a sense of community and shared purpose. Cooperation and teamwork facilitate coordination, communication, adaptability, enhanced employee participation, and empowerment, thereby allowing individuals to achieve collective outputs that are greater than the sum of their parts. Organizations continue to depend on teams and the synergy they engender to assist in streamlining work processes that promote efficiency, increased innovation, and quality products and services.Tags: collaboration, cooperation, teamwork, work environment