Lesson 4: Groups, Teams and Organizational Design – DUE OCT 6

Read Chapters 11, Groups and Teams, and Chapter 7, Organizational Structure and Design in your textbook and complete the Chapter Quizzes 11 and 7 on Blackboard.

Summary – Groups and Teams

It is important to understand the difference between groups and teams.

  • A group is defined as a set of people, limited in number (usually from 3 to 20 or so), who have some degree of interaction and shared objectives.
  • A team is a type of group. A team  has additional characteristics beyond a “mere” group, including a higher degree of coordinated interaction and, especially, a stronger sense of members’ personal responsibility for achieving specified group outcomes.

Also, groups that become teams typically have created a high level of identification with the group on the part of each member.

After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the similarities and differences between groups and teams
  • Identify and compare different types of groups
  • Name the factors that influence group formation and development
  • Analyze the various structural and behavioral characteristics of groups
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of self-managing, cross-functional, global and virtual work groups and team
  • Explain the differences in the various types of team competencies
  • Distinguish between the two major types of group conflict, and discuss their causes and consequences
  • Explain how managers can help their work groups develop into high performing teams
There is a fair amount to learn about groups and teams. The key thing is that these are complex organisms because they have varied and varying members and changes in individuals or by individuals impact the effectiveness of the group. I recommend you review the slide set at the textbook website for Chapter 11.
Vocabulary tip:  Almost everyone is business is familiar with the stages of team development: forming, storming, norming and performing (and sometimes adjourning – people don’t team for life, just the life of the project.) You should understand these concepts and how the stage of the team impacts the team’s performance.

This Checklist for Leaders of Groups is also particularly practical.

How well do you:

  • Encourage members to learn from each other?
  • Recognize and praise members for their contributions?
  • Keep key people outside the [group] informed about its accomplishments?
  • Promptly inform members about major developments that [may] affect them?
  • Give [group] members authority to make [at least some] important decisions?
  • Openly accept and respond to feedback from [group] members?
  • Review the [group’s] performance at the end of major tasks?
  • Offer specific and concrete suggestions for how members can improve?
  • Understand what motivates members to work hard

Managers’ Responsibilities for Encouraging Group Effectiveness

  • Develop appropriate group structures
  • Develop appropriate support from the organization
  • Obtain appropriate coaching and consultation assistance

WHY: If you haven’t already, you will undoubtedly have an opportunity to work in a virtual team on a project. The purpose of this activity is to allow you to think about what being a virtual team member means.

WHAT: Make certain you have read the section about virtual teams in Chapter 11 and then head to the forum for Lesson 4 and post your reply to the questions:
Would you want to be a member of a virtual team?  Why or why not?

As always, your participation by commenting on others’ responses is encouraged.

HOW: By now you should be comfortable doing this. I will only include a HOW in the future if something new is being introduced.


Summary – Organizational Design
Organizational design is critical in aligning resources to most effectively do business. It involves organizing for the most effective or efficient organization to acquire customers and meet their needs. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
  • Explain the concepts of organizational structure and design.
  • Explain the concepts of differentiation and integration and their role in organizational structure and design.
  • Describe the concepts of formalization, informalization, centralization, and decentralization and discuss their interrelationships.
  • Identify the common structures used by organizations and describe the strengths and weaknesses of each of these structures.
  • Understand how network structures help firms manage their value chain activities and contribute to achieving a competitive advantage.
  • Describe how environmental factors and the organizations strategy influence organizational structure.
  • Explain the types of organizational structure important for firms to use when operating in international markets.

For additional information on the Effects of Organizational Structure, watch the video below.

The Boston Consulting Group has an active practice focused on organizational design. For additional information, you can visit their site and watch interviews with the practice leaders.

My final word on organizational structure and design is that companies large and small can and do adjust their structures to fit the capabilities of their key employees. If someone is capable of more responsibility, frequently their position is enlarged to allow this growth. An organization that allows high performing people a better opportunity to “fit” will be more successful than a rigid organization that expects people to conform to an inflexible design. You may have seen examples of this in your work experience. If so, please share them in the forum.


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