Cooperation and Teamwork
To quote a familiar cliché . . .
"The problem with the future
is that is does not resemble the present!"
American businesses can no longer maximize productivity and
worker performance through traditional methods of work organization. Many of the work
processes that served us so well in the past are found failing in todays economic
In an effort to radically improve the quality of products
and services and to facilitate improvement in customer service, companies and
organizations have run head first into a number of ruthless enemies which undermine those
efforts. They include:
- Turf wars.
- Disputes over functional boundaries within a company.
- Irrational competition between departments.
- Appraisal focused on individual and independent
- Incentives that force dysfunctional internal competition.
Teamwork, cross-functional processes, interdepartmental
cooperation and mutual support will be characteristics of successful companies in the
future. While it might take time for organizational structures and systems to accommodate
team designs and horizontal work processes, there are many actions managers and
supervisors can take within their present systems to facilitate improved teamwork and
Managers and supervisors must learn how to cultivate more
cooperation between workers and between departments. They must learn the ramifications of
a competitive workplace and invent tactics to combat competitive practices. In order to
obtain an aggressive customer focus, they must improve the speed, reliability and quality
performance of their work groups through people who are highly interdependent upon each
Most team building approaches have focused on the
interpersonal skills and conflict resolution strategies of individuals within a team.
While these issues are important, effective teamwork fails most often, not because of
individual difficulties, but because of the conditions of the work environment that often
benefit individual performance and promote win-lose confrontations.
At the end of this module participants will better
- The characteristics of effective teamwork.
- The elements of productive team leadership.
- The relationship between teamwork and productivity.
- The outcomes of cooperative work environments versus
competitive work environments.
- The causes of dysfunctional competition in the workplace.
Participants will be able to:
- Apply specific strategies that will foster teamwork and
- Act more effectively in ways that are in the best interest
of the company, rather than individual departments or work groups.
- Provide feedback to management about obstacles fostering
dysfunctional competition within the company.