Innovation within the Team

Team management has become a multifaceted issue in most organizations given the fact that research abide in the fact that teams translate to better results than individual efforts. In fact, the level of effectiveness of team or individuals in work environments has always been a hot topic in management circles. While it has been demonstrated that individuals work best in the delivery of a specific goal, working in teams in today's environment is unavoidable. This is because almost all types of work environments require the input of different types of departments that calls for the role of different people.  To achieve best outcomes in teams, strategies must be put in place to ensure that there is group cohesion and managers fully understand the specific psychology of each group. 

The segment dominating this paper focuses on the creation of opportunities to maximize innovation within the team. This is based on the understanding that all organizations aim at continuously improving their levels of effectiveness, efficiency and customer service. The increase in levels of innovation has been pointed as a pivotal strategy in which organizations adopt in the search for opportunities to make small and notable changes in their operations.

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The creation of opportunities to maximize innovations in teams therefore revolves around the ability to manage teams. The understanding team dynamics in businesses has other demonstrated benefits to an organization. According to Moshe and Tsipora (1998), "a team shares a common purpose and recognizes each individual as belonging to the same unit, the strength of a team is reliant on the interconnectivity between individual members and a fully functioning team is capable of reaching agreements on norms and values that regulate behavior." These have been pointed out as the hallmark for continuous incremental improvements that congregate to define team innovation. It can therefore be confidently stated the ability of an origination to create opportunities for innovation rests on the ability to develop a dynamic team capable of delivering the objectives of the organization. In addition to the above, the understanding of team dynamics assists managers and supervisors in selecting teams that complement each other for the reduction in inter-personal conflicts that hinder team progress.

The cohesive forces of a group affect group process, development and innovation in a number of ways. Available literatures and research works on the psychological processes in group development point out that these factors are social while others are environmental. The fundamental factor is that they all combine to determine whether the broad objectives of an organization are achieved or not. According to Schmuck and Schmuck (2002), "some of the factors in group cohesion are social; there are a number of things which can occur within a group and its members which encourage people to stay in the group and to stay focused on group goals while others are environmental, caused by external factors."  The capacity to deal with both external and environmental factors provide the framework for the evaluation of teams' needs and wants and align their priorities within these needs and wants.

The process of building team cohesiveness demands more from business supervisors and managers in businesses.  The first step in enhancing team cohesiveness is taking keen consideration of preliminary perceptions of individuals that make up a team and instituting strategies in empowering the group to shed these preliminary perceptions. This is the first step in enabling true bonding and staying along the correct path to achieving high levels of cohesiveness and creating opportunities for innovation. Manages can increase opportunities for team innovation by acknowledging, respecting,  and discussing various ways that team members can make notable contributions to building and enhancing teams. According to Schmuck and Schmuck (2002),  "with increased self-esteem, efficacy, and concept, the long term affects that an outdoor experience can have on each individual member of the team can help to increase individual desires to build team cohesion." This must involve individual buy in and take into consideration the confidence of individuals because confident individuals have the capacity to foster team cohesion.

The impact of social interaction and influence in decision making is an area of interest to social psychologists. This is because of knowledge on the effects of social influence, interpersonal relationships, group behavior and self and social identity. Active social interactions have been demonstrated to involve "feedback loops that create interdependencies between the choices individuals make" (Schmuck and Schmuck, 2002),  This affects the way in which decision making process takes place in that both passive active interactions have impact on policy in the sense that they magnify the effect of urgency on policies. These define the opportunities that proper team building has on the window for innovations.

In addition to the above, an individual is affected by the thoughts and ideas of others. This is correlated to the speed, ease and urgency by which decisions within organizations are made. The effect of social influence on decision making has thus been noted to give rise to social multiplier that directly impacts on decision making processes. This is buttressed by Vecchio (2006) in stating that "a social multiplier arises in a dyadic relationship when both agents' actions (and outcomes) are affected by the actions of the other agent and the agents recognize this, and internalize these effects, when selecting their actions." 

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However, despite the above assertions, the process of team development remains a pivotal determinant on whether the team will stick together and thus create opportunities for innovations. First stage is the forming stage where serious issues and intense feelings are often not expressed but always remain avoided. The second stage is the storming stage". The adjustment process continues into this stage but minor differences are as a result of conflicting roles and responsibilities. The ability to suppress the conflict will depend largely on the culture of the organizations. Individuals will have a feeling of either winning or losing and will search for adjustment mechanisms to do away with the conflict or minimize its effects.  The last two stages are norming and performing respectively. The norming stage involves the establishing of the rules of engagement. The performing that is rarely reached my many groups. It is "characterized by a state of interdependence and flexibility in that everyone knows each other well enough to be able to work together (Basu, 2004).

In conclusion, the ability to the creation of opportunities to maximize innovation within the team depends on interplay of a number that factors that include team management, organizational culture and the ability to let teams reach their performing stages.

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