Healthcare and Medicine Reference
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CHAPTER 3
Teamwork and Cooperative Work
Assignments Sometimes Lead to
Job Dissatisfaction
INTRODUCTION
Cooperative work and working in teams are currently much in vogue as
ways of getting the job done. The impact of Japanese management tech-
niques, so successful in assuring quality and high productivity, has strongly
influenced the way we think about work. However, as many of us know
from long and unproductive meetings, committee work, team teaching,
and other cooperative ventures, workers often do rather badly when it
comes to teamwork. This chapter will discuss why many workers, both
professional and non-professional, have problems with cooperative work
and what we can do to improve the functioning of teams.
DEFINITIONS AND DISCUSSION
Mason (1998) describes a team as a “group of people coming together to
share their expertise to accomplish a specific outcome” (p. 30). Although
not everything is best done in teams and some functions are better given to
individuals, many workers share similar assignments and can learn from one
another through support, direct feedback, and help in problem-solving.
Even though teamwork is often a better way for organizational goals and
objectives to be met, many problems exist that often interfere with coopera-
tive work. Mason suggests that those impediments include confused work
objectives, unclear roles for members of the team, poor decision-making on
the part of supervisors and workers, and personality differences. A good deal
of what makes or breaks a team is appropriate feedback from supervisors to
workers and back. Although some people lack the ability to work coopera-
tively and are better when working alone, “People skills can be taught, then
practiced, with feedback. Team members can give each other daily feedback
on what a person's doing right and wrong” ( Mason, 1998, p. 31 ).
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