The Hidden Benefits of Keeping Teams Intact
Broad area of research:
Managers have the opinion that team familiarity i.e. the amount of experience individuals have working with each other can influence how a group performs. But over the past seven years when the researchers examined teams in corporate, health care, military, and consulting settings to understand team familiarity and quantify its benefits, they found that it is a much more profound phenomenon than most of the managers believe. So the idea of having a group of people who knew each other for a long time in a team should be leveraged to a far greater extent, especially in an era when teams are constantly forming, disbanding, and regrouping. In order to do this the managers and teams will have to overcome several barriers. Few organizations have integrated systems that track how frequently employees have worked together. Most of the managers these days believe too much in shuffling rosters to prevent outdatedness in the work team do and also to ensure fresh thinking in order to come up with new ideas. However in reality factors such as cost pressures, developmental needs, travel limitations, and office politics often make familiarity a hard thing to achieve. But organizations will benefit if leaders learn to overcome these barriers. Even the earlier researches which are done on flight crews, have claimed that teams, like individuals, follow a learning curve i.e. the crews generally do better as their members become familiar with each another. Business isn’t the only area in which team familiarity improves performance. Research has shown that it’s effective in other fields as well. A study of pro basketball teams found that familiarity reduced bad passes but teams with too much familiarity committed more errors, may be because their opponents could predict their moves. A study of surgeons who worked at multiple hospitals found that their performance varied from facility to facility because of their varying levels of familiarity with the operation teams at different locations.
Reason for researcher selecting this topic:
One of the researcher has met an orthopedic surgeon who has been known for the speed at which he completes the surgery. In a year he performs 2.5 times the number of surgeries done by the second most productive surgeon. The doctor said that one of the reason for his speed is, he has two dedicated teams which include nurses who have been working with him for the past 18 years. Such is the impact a team of people who have been working together for a long time can have on the team’s productivity. Also many researches have proved that the more the familiarity among team members, the more is the quality of the output. But, in current scenario the teams are often forming, deforming, and regrouping. This is done with a belief that, after some time the team becomes stale and it is better to shuffle the groups to have a fresh thinking.