Unit 6 Written Assignment, University of the People
In The myths and realities of teamwork, Wright discussed the six myths and realities of teamwork. Briefly, explain each myth and provide a short personal thought on the myth bounced against reality. Select one (1) of the myths to investigate and research further. Why do people buy into this myth? Is it difficult to influence others to see the reality against the myth? Explain your thoughts.
Grade: 90/90 (849 words)
During teamwork, we experience numerous conflicts. Dealing with harmful conflicts is one of the essential keys to make our business or activity succeed. To understand and solve the conflicts in teamwork, we need to know the myths and realities of teamwork.
I will shortly describe six myths regarding teamwork and share my thoughts on each myth with reality. After that, I will choose one myth from the six myths and present them in detail. Finally, I will explain why people tend to believe the myth, and whether it is difficult to see the reality against the myth.
Myth 1: "Teams are harmonious people who compromise their needs for the sake of the team" (Wright,2013). Teams are not always composed of harmonious people. On the other hand, good teams are formed of diverse people, and when diversity is utilized in a team appropriately, the team can be powerful. (Wright,2013)
I partly agree with the idea that diversity makes the team strong. However, considering Japan's cultural background, harmoniousness is one of the essential elements to work as a team member, so I think Myth 1 is not a myth.
Myth 2: "Team conflict is unhealthy" (Wright,2013). Conflict doesn't always have a negative effect. If group members are passionate about a common goal, the group is a good team. Also, passionate team members can have different opinions, and it can invoke some conflicts. (Wright,2013)
I experienced conflicts that turned into positive results in my workplace. First, we noticed our opinions are different, and I felt the tension between us. However, we can find a new method after many discussions. It is a combination of our ideas, and it is better than the previous one.
Myth 3: "Most people like teamwork" (Wright,2013). As research revealed, "one-third of the working population enjoy teamwork, one third is neutral, and one third prefers to work solo "(Wright,2013).
I don't think all people like teamwork. Some colleagues avoid teamwork, and their productivity decreases when we work as a team.
Myth 4: "Teamwork is essential to business success" (Wright,2013). When the task or goal is too complex to handle alone, teamwork is needed; however, it comes to simple work, teamwork is not necessary. Some work is better to do alone than working as a team. (Wright,2013)
Myth 5: "Teams are easy to influence and manage" (Wright,2013). Team leaders need to provide courage and high levels of personal awareness for teams. (Wright,2013)
In my opinion, teams are not easy to influence and manage. My colleagues or seniors tend to think teamwork is just a collective of members. They don't take a lot of time to care for team members, so they failed to manage them.
Myth 6: "Senior Managers encourage teamwork" (Wright,2013). There is a tendency for senior managers not to support and encourage teamwork. One European study turned out that senior managers felt uncomfortable with the process and the potential for exposing their weaknesses and loss of control. (Wright,2013)
Based on my experience, I think this is a myth. I was a leader of a team, and I found obvious problems occurred in a team. I reported the issue specifically to the manager and asked him to talk with the team member to remedy this problem. However, the manager refused to speak with the team, and the manager said he couldn't find any issues with the team. The problem was not solved, and team productivity was not increased.
Select one of the myths to investigate and research further. Why do people buy into this myth? Is it difficult to influence others to see the reality against the myth? Explain your thoughts.
I selected Myth 2, "Team conflict is unhealthy," to research further. As Hunt et al., the conflict has both a practical or constructive side and a dysfunctional or destructive side. (Hunt et al., 2010) From the research and the logical perspective, we can easily understand that some conflicts are beneficial to teams and organizations. Then why people believe the myth? I think there are reasonable reasons.
As Rahim & Bonoma, there are five types of approaches/responses to conflict: forcing response, accommodating system, avoiding response, compromising response, and collaborating. (Rahim, 2010)
From these conflict styles, avoiding response is the easiest way to handle the conflict because facing the struggles is uncomfortable, so it isn't easy to influence others to see the reality against the myth. Also, I think Myth2 is related to Myth 6: "Senior Managers encourage teamwork" (Wright,2013). Senior Managers have many subordinates, so, naturally, the managers recognized too many conflicts reported by a subordinate to handle it. From these two reasons, people choose to avoid conflicts, and it seems a reasonable reason.
We need to handle conflicts to succeed in our business and our activities. However, it is not easy. Even knowing how to approach the conflicts and myths related to conflicts, learning and doing are very different.
Hunt, J., Osborn, R., Schermerhorn, J. & Uhl-Bien, M (2010) Organizational Behavior, 11th Edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Rahim, M. A. (2010). Managing conflict in organizations. ProQuest Ebook Central, Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/univ-people-ebooks/reader.action?docID=4926100&ppg=95
Whetten, D. A., & Cameron, K. S. (2011). Developing management skills Eighth Edition. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall/Pearson.
Wright, D. (2013). The myths and realities of teamwork, 1st ed. Retrieved from http://bookboon.com/en/the-myths-and-realities-of-teamwork-ebook