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Team Roles

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Submitted By bruss
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The general concept of human societies that combined efforts of many exceed the output of the individual underpins the team-based structures that is prevalent in today’s public and private sector organisations (Ito and Brotheridge 2008). This is because of the benefits that teams offer in the form of wider range of information, ideas, knowledge, and other human resources and skills that lead to better performance and achievement of the goals (Robbins et al. 2008). studies found that using teams of functional experts at the initial phase of a project can help to avoid downstream performance failure, reduce cost, and ensure timely accomplishment of targets (Blenkinsop and Maddison 2007).

An interestingly common factor among most of the organisations or institutions that use work teams and groups use Belbin’s team role model for formation of teams (LoBue 2002). The popularity of the model can be judged from its being translated into 16 languages (Aritzeta, Swailes, and Senior 2007). Researchers have established that there exists a positive connection between team role balance and perceived and actual performance but it has also been criticised for the “vague and inconsistent” nature of the questions and lack of theoretical derivation (Blenkinsop and Maddison 2007). However, my opinion on using Belbin’s model for group formation and the resultant performance thereof is based on my personal experience of working in a group formed with the help of Belbin’s model and it shall be explained explicitly as well as implicitly, in some cases, in the following parts of the report. My group ROPLANT was formed by ourselves based on our complementary team roles that we discovered about ourselves after completion of Belbin’s team role questionnaire. The following are the members ROPLANT, who presented on “Leadership”, their nationality, professional background and team roles as per Belbin’s model.
|Name |Nationality |Profession |Most Dominant Belbin's Team Role |Second Most Dominant Role |
| | | | | |
|Renata |Australian |Banker |Co-ordinator |Specialist |
|Nigel |African |IT |Team worker |Specialist |
|Omar |Australian |Engineering |Specialist |Implementer |
|Andrew |Australian |Project Management |Team worker |Implementer |
|Liam |Australian |Finance |Implementer |Finisher |
|Pema |Bhutanese |Human Resources |Implementer |Team worker |
|Tshering |Bhutanese |Academia |Specialist |Implementer |

Team Performance:
Researches suggests that diversity is one of the most determining factor in team performance as it provides an environment which encourages every individual to participate, provides a higher satisfaction, and higher motivation (Higgs, Plewnia, and Ploch 2005). This is very true if I try to link it with my team performance. The level of performance is very apparent from the high distinction mark that my group scored on the presentation and the high level of satisfaction and motivation were shown in the form of no complaints all through out the semester and members’ punctuality for the group meetings and homework. A research of the literature on team performance states that a mix of creative and non-creative people leads to higher levels of creative performance which held valid in case of my group (Water, Ahaus, and Rozier 2008). For instance, out of the seven of us only two of our members thought of ending the presentation with a very debateable question that will provoke the thoughts of the audience. And this creativity was very well received.

According to Higgs, Plewnia, and Ploch (2005) diversity increases the tolerance level of the team members thereby raising the level of acceptance of different views. This can be one of the reasons contributing to my group’s excellent performance. Given the diverse professional background we come from besides the diverse nationalities, it was still easier for us to agree on common goals and processes of achieving those goals which also had a positive impact in group cohesion (Neuman and Julie 1999).

If my group’s performance is assessed as per what Water, Ahaus, and Rozier (2008) suggested – content and process, I think the performance was outstanding. content and process measures complement one another. Evaluation of ROPLANT’s performance on the content aspect can be ascertained from the timeliness of the work and the quality of completed tasks (Barrick et al. 1998). In this regard, though ROPLANT was the first group to present the quality of the work as per the remarks was excellent and despite being a fairly big group, the presentation was completed within the timeframe of thirty minutes and the group presented on their due date. With regard to process, the group ensured consistent team communications through group meetings, discussions during the class, and mails coupled with good sense of information sharing and friendly interactions between the team members (Neuman and Julie 1999).
My role:
The concept of team role can be described as a preference to behave in a particular way with other team members while working in a group (Blenkinsop and Maddison 2007). My most dominant team role as per the Belbin’s model was specialist followed by implementer. In the capacity of a “Specialist” I tended to be more focused on technical aspects and providing professional opinions. For instance, I was very particular about the sequence of the information flow and how the topics could be interlinked so that the whole work looks like it was done by one single person. As an implementer I carried out the task assigned to me in the best of my capacity and even volunteered to do additional research on the topic but sometimes I was but reluctant and slow in responding to other members’ new ideas.

The Belbin’s model places a greater emphasis on the link between a team’s developmental stage and the need for different team roles to dominate at different stages (Aritzeta, Swailes, and Senior 2007). A reflection of my role in the team and its linkage to this theory brings me to realise why my contribution was more towards the later stage of the group’s development. As an implementer and specialist I contributed more in setting up team organisation and following through to the achievement of the task rather than initial stages of identifying needs or formulating plans (Barrick et al. 1998). But besides these two dominant roles, I did take other roles like completer-finisher ensuring that the group does not miss out any important issues that needs to be covered. At one stage of time, I also took the role of a team worker where by I supported the view points put forward by my group mates.

Studies suggest that higher level of communication between the members of the team is important for team process as personality qualities can project the group task performance (Neuman and Julie 1999). My introvert nature and low on openness to experience could have affected the group in its process of development and hence the outcomes (Barrick et al. 1998). On my reflection I think that I could have contributed more by being more outspoken and be more involved in the group discussion because this would have heightened the synergy in achieving our goal as well as increasing the already existing good level of group cohesion (Robbins et al. 2008).

Lessons learnt and experiences:
One of the most outstanding features of the group ROPLANT was the size of the group; while majority of the groups a maximum of five members, ROPLANT had seven. Thus I expected a certain level of conflict, but my experience of working in that group turned out to be totally different. The group was characterised by high group cohesiveness, mutual agreement on issues, and set a very conducive environment. This shows that ROPLANT did not experience the storming stage usually present in the process of group development (Robbins et al. 2008). In the same line literature on team development states that teams usually follow a predictable pattern of growth with one stage at a time and not necessarily from one stage to another like from forming to storming etc. in a linear fashion (Ito and Brotheridge 2008).

Studies show that people working cooperatively in teams will react to one another in certain ways depending on their natural role and their hierarchical position to one another (Water, Ahaus, and Rozier 2008). I being the least experienced person in the group took the comments and ideas of my group mates very seriously and assumed the role of a follower most of the time who have an important role to play in the achievement of the team goals (Baker and Daniel 2007). This made me realise that I am a good listener and also a good implementer who tried to improve on others’ suggestions. In fact I realised that I had a very good adaptability attitude; tuning my behaviour as per the needs of the situation and nature of the people I was dealing with. I also realised that people try to look for a leader in their group member when they first come together in a group which was an area I felt that I was not well equipped with (Wheelan 2009). Thus, I felt that I should try to improve my leadership role by facilitating discussions and also improve my confidence level to speak out my opinion irrespective of my audience’s level of knowledge and experience.

Strengths and weaknesses of the group:
ROPLANT was a very diverse group in every aspect like gender, professional background, Belbin’s team roles, and also nationality to a certain extent. This diversity brought along more creative ideas as well as other skills needless to mention the cohesiveness despite diversity being mostly known to pose challenges with regard to communication, time consumption in decision making, and conflicts (Dahlin, Laurie, and Pamela 2005). Researches assert that in heterogeneous groups there is a higher prevalence of “Plant” and “Resource Investigator” roles which was apparently absent in the case of ROPLANT (Davies and Eleftheria 2006). However, the positive aspects of diversity led to successful and timely completion of the task in the form of an excellent presentation.

Identifying and understanding team roles in advance is critical to success of any kind of group works (LoBue 2002). In a group of seven we just had four dominant Belbin’s roles which implied that we lacked in many other roles like that of resource investigator or a shaper but still we did very well in our accomplishment of the task. This is support by literature which found that quite unbalanced teams can be successful as the members become aware of their shortcomings as a team and act in a way that will compensate for the lack of certain roles (Wheelan 2009). Thus the high level of profile awareness amongst the team members contributed to the success of the team (Water, Ahaus, and Rozier 2008). The only coordinator in the group was very efficient in leading the group towards its goal.

One of the main drawbacks of the group was its lack of a time keeper for the presentation. Though the group rehearsed well before the actual presentation there was still a need for someone to remind the members of the time limit during the presentation. Another area which could have been a source of possible disruption in the process of working in the group was an incident where confusion amongst some members that led to duplication of work which could have been due to the lesser Belbin’s team roles the group consisted of as mentioned above (Davies and Eleftheria 2006). This, in my opinion, resulted in loss of time and resources in the form of human capital.

Relevant OB theory and successful teams:
Though there are many factors that are detrimental to the success of a team, diversity of the members and the roles they play has been in the spot light in the literature of teams and their performance (Higgs, Plewnia, and Ploch 2005). But for a team to take advantage of the diversity and be successful, members need to be emotionally intelligent to reduce the adverse effects of diversity (Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee 2002). A successful team has members who are aware of one’s own feelings as well as that of others and acknowledge the differences of each other thereby drawing the positive aspects of the difference and converting it into success of the group (Lillis and Robert 2009). Increased awareness and sensitivity as a result of emotional intelligence has been found to have a positive impact on the group performance (Lillis and Robert 2009).

Studies strongly suggest that work group size is a critical factor in increasing or decreasing both group development and productivity (Wheelan 2009). Groups with three to four members were found to be significantly more productive and more developmentally advanced on a number of measures like lesser time consumption in decision making, lower level of conflict, and greater member satisfaction through involvement (Wheelan 2009). Besides group size successful teams also tend to strike a proper balance between task-orientation and people orientation so that neither the work at hand is forgotten nor the people who contribute to it (Aritzeta, Swailes, and Senior 2007). Unlike the linear fashion of group development model where a group goes through different stages of development, successful groups feel the need to move back and forth between stages as a way of balancing their task and emotional requirements (Ito and Brotheridge 2008).

Like today’s organisations OB had a unit requirement of working in teams of which ROPLANT was one. On an overall scale, ROPLANT as a group, formed at the beginning of the semester based on Belbin’s team roles to give a presentation to the class in the later part of the semester, have been very effective and successful. This can be deduced from the timely completion of the task as well as excellent performance in the form of high distinction marks scored. Despite the fairly big size of the group, the members took advantage of the diversity and their emotional intelligence helped in keeping the level of conflicts at the base. The experiences and insights gained from this teamwork will be a source of guidance in the future while working in groups.


Aritzeta, A., S. Swailes, and B. Senior. 2007. Belbin's Team Role Model: Development, Validity and Applications for Team Building*. The Journal of Management Studies 44 (1): 96. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Baker, D. s., and A. G. Daniel. 2007. Team Effectiveness and Leader-Follower Agreement: An Empirical Study. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge 12 (1): 15. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Barrick, R. M., J. S. Greg, J. N. Mitchell, and K. M. Michael. 1998. Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology 83 (3): 377. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Blenkinsop, N., and A. Maddison. 2007. Team roles and team performance in defence acquisition. The Journal of Management Development 26 (7): 667. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Dahlin, B. K., R. W. Laurie, and J. H. Pamela. 2005. Team Diversity and Information Use. Academy of Management Journal 48 (6): 1107. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Davies, F., Martin, and K. Eleftheria. 2006. Interpersonal characteristics associated with different team roles in work groups. Journal of Managerial Psychology 21 (7): 638. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Goleman, D., R. Boyatzis, and A. McKee. 2002. The emotional reality of teams. Journal of Organizational Excellence 21 (2): 55-65. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Higgs, M., U. Plewnia, and J. Ploch. 2005. Influence of team composition and task complexity on team performance. Team Performance Management 11 (7/8): 227. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Ito, J. K., and C. M. Brotheridge. 2008. Do teams grow up one stage at a time? Team Performance Management 14 (5/6): 214. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

Lillis, P. M., and G. T. Robert. 2009. Cross-cultural communication and emotional intelligence. Marketing Intelligence & Planning 27 (3): 428. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

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Neuman, A. G., and W. Julie. 1999. Team effectiveness: Beyond skills and cognitive ability. Journal of Applied Psychology 84 (3): 376. ProQuest. (accessed 2nd November, 2009).

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Team Members Role

...responsibilities on teams for which they are not qualified. The involvement of team members’ doing tasks they are incapable of handling will always lead to unproductivity. Selecting the right people and placing them in the roles to achieve maximum results on the team will demonstrate an effective leadership. When there are inadequacies such as unclear instructions and ineffective delegation you will begin to see barriers. Create educational opportunities and an innovated environment to expand on new ideas. Let team members know you appreciate them and give recognition to all no matter how big or small of the tasks. Team Members’ roles Lack of clear vision leads to confusion and frustration. Many teams fail to realize what skills each one has. To lead a competent and effective team it is imperative that teams are properly motivated and placed to be successful. Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with no clear vision or what skills teammates brought to the table? I am sure that task was not completed and there was so much frustration & confusion in the process. Barriers can impede the progress because people are thrown into situations that lead to roadblocks for which they are not adequately skilled. Teamwork is first discovering what skills and attributes you bring to the group and how they align with the vision or task at hand. The purpose of the leader is to influence, inspire and place them where they will be most effective. So, before assigning roles to......

Words: 859 - Pages: 4