Most work today is done in teams.
While teamwork can lead to innovative ideas and strong performance, it can also be stressful. I analyzed data from structured face-to-face interviews with managers from different British workplaces where all employees worked in formally designated teams. The managers talked about how teamwork operates at their workplace, from how much team members depend on each other to do their jobs, to whether team members make joint decisions about how work is done.
The managers also reported how their workplaces fared on key aspects of performance — including labor productivity, financial performance, and quality of product or service — compared to other workplaces in the same industry.
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Next, I analyzed survey data from a random selection of five to 20 employees in each workplace where the management interviews were conducted, which amounted to reports from 4, workers. The survey asked employees to report on their levels of commitment to the organization, the amount of pressure they experienced at work, and how often they felt tense, worried or anxious due to work.
In workplaces where employees had to share responsibility for specific products and services, managers reported increased productivity levels and better quality of products and services. In workplaces where employees relied on each other to do their work, managers reported financial performance had improved, while employees expressed an increased sense of organizational commitment.
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On the other hand, I found that more teamwork increased the level of work demands on employees, which made them more anxious about their job. The more employees felt that their teammates relied upon them, the more they felt that they had insufficient time to do their work, which resulted in a major source of anxiety.
When employees were faced with the shared responsibility for specific products and services, they were more likely to feel tense and compelled to put in very long hours at work. But I also found that a greater sense of commitment toward the organization can help stem the experience of anxiety. It would appear that higher levels of commitment improved engagement and helped some employees cope with the demands of working in teams.
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Upon looking further into the data, I saw certain patterns among workplaces where teams fared better in key performance areas. One was that managers were more likely to recognize the benefits of providing the right skills and resources to employees. They reported how employees were given time away from work to attend training and improve their skills in team working, communication, leadership, and problem-solving methods.
Employees reported feeling that the organization cared about employee well-being and helped them cope better with stress. The data revealed a slightly different story for workplaces where teams did not perform very well. In these cases, managers did not afford employees enough opportunities to develop their skills through training, nor did they give employees the freedom to influence their work responsibilities.
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Close navigation. Popular Terms. The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. Use 'teamwork' in a Sentence I was talking to my business partner and we collaborated so brilliantly that we concluded that teamwork makes the dream work. It is always good to use teamwork when working on a project to get as many ideas bounced around as possible.
After the coach saw his players work together to score five goals and win the game, he bought them pizza as a reward for their teamwork. Show More Examples.
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