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Organisation Behaviour

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BELBIN'S TEAM ROLE THEORY

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract 3

1. Introduction 3

2. Groups & Teams 5

3. Belbin's SPI and 9 Team Roles 7

4. Critical Analysis 9

5. Application Value 13

6. Supporting Studies 14

7. Conclusion 15

8. Bibliography 16

Abstract

Acumen Software Ltd., a leading software company has been constantly facing problems with some of its project teams. Although these teams comprise of very skilled and experienced solution architects and developers, yet they are failing to achieve deadlines for delivering the business critical solutions to their clients. The team members are embroiled in the blame game for lack of contribution from their team mates. Acumen Software has sought help from Accenture Consulting to advise them on why their project teams are failing to meet the deadlines despite considerable experience and what can be done to improve the situation.

This study reports attempts to study the poor performance of the Acumen team using Belbin's team role theory as a base and also suggests measures that can be taken by the company to improve the performance of their teams.

1. Introduction

The situation prevailing in the Acumen project teams is familiar to the following interesting "Team problem" quotation in Buchanan & Huczynski (pg.318).

There were four team members named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it.

Everybody was sure Somebody would do it

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Everybody was angry about that, because it was Somebody's job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised it that Everybody wouldn't

In the end, Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

The study carried out by Accenture Consulting revealed that albeit the team had experienced and skilled members, their performance was limited to the formal role assigned to them. Some team members had the perception that they did not have the kind of work they would have liked to do in the team. Some members who were good at Analysis and resolving issues were involved in the coding and development instead of writing design specifications. Some members were indecisive about what technology to implement, while some team members who were good coders and had the ability to implement the design and development were given documentation tasks which were remotely of any interest to them. The team lacked motivation and drive. Some members were complacent in their shell doing the piece of work assigned to them, implementing high tech logic for the piece of work which was not very critical and they were completely oblivious to the overall project status. Above all, the commitment to deliver the solution to the client was based on the estimation of a member who was overly optimistic about the completion of the project.

This study introduces the concept of Teamwork and the Belbin's 9 team roles, their strengths and their weaknesses and maps each of these roles to the above mentioned problems which the project team faced and how the lack of understanding of these roles has been resulting in delayed deliveries of the solutions to Acumen's clients.

This study proposes certain personality tests for the project team members which would help Acumen Management to define better roles and also help them to identify which combination of roles to be avoided or are favourable for the successful completion of projects within the agreed schedule.

2. Groups & Teams

Although, Acumen would call these project teams as Teams, but they were nothing more than a loosely bound formal group of co-workers, where there was lack of co-ordination between the members to execute the task in hand and also they were not focussed upon the common goal they all had to achieve.

According to Tuckman & Jensen, a group has to pass through certain stages of development in order to develop into an effective structure where it is concerned with actually getting on with the task they have in hand and accomplish them. This stage they termed it as Performing.

Figure 2.1 - Stages of Group Development

Based on B.C. Tuckman, 'Development sequences in small groups', Psychological bulletin, vol.3, no.6, 1965, pp. 384-99.

Following is a brief description of these stages.

Forming Group inception phase, members getting familiar with each other and assessing each others behaviour & background, forming opinions about each other.

Storming Conflict phase, disagreement between members, striving for leadership roles, hostility and tension between few members of the group.

Norming Cohesion phase, members start developing closer relationship, consensus on leadership roles, trust is established, sense of team spirit and enthusiasm to address the task at hand.

Performing Task Execution phase, each member senses the importance of contribution to achieve the common goal set by group. Higher interdependence and collaboration between the group members. Members working as a single unit. This is the stage where the group can be termed as an effective team.

Adjourning Group disbands, anxiety about separation, mutual regard and positive feeling, sadness over disbanding of team, self-evaluation and planning for next step.

From the above model, it is evident that the Acumen project teams were stuck in the Storming phase where there was no collaboration between the team members and the sense of achieving the common goal was absent. Today, Teamwork is a key driving factor for achieving success and gaining the competitive edge in the competitive environments both locally and globally. Teamwork contributes to greater

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