Healthcare and Medicine Reference
decision-making; employees could work together to solve problems;
the decision-making process was much more in real time rather than
being delayed by long discussion held by managers who then, when
decisions were made, told workers what to do; the team structure pro-
moted cross-training; the physical proximity between team members
increased learning since team members could observe how their collea-
gues handled problems; team members could turn to others on their
team for help and advice.
WHY TEAMS SOMETIMES DON ' T WORK
Teams that include different professions doing the same job have built-in
conflict because each profession has a different way of functioning that
might not be acceptable to everyone on the team. Teams composed of dif-
ferent professions (doctors, social workers, psychologists) often have some-
one who needs convincing or is unwilling to go the extra mile for a client.
Cynicism about group members can create conflict and a sense that some-
one is going to have to do more of the work if the client is to be helped.
Although supervisors should know about group dynamics, they often
include members who are so disparate in their personalities, competen-
cies, and attitudes that the group fails to function well. Once a group
begins, supervisors sometimes believe that their responsibility for seeing
that it works well is limited.
Rewards that benefit the group may not fully benefit the best team
members, who may believe that the group has actually held them back
from doing their best work and from being differentially and fairly
rewarded. Many workers believe that teams can be terribly time-consuming
and often unproductive. Group members may be passive-aggressive about
group attendance. When they aren't present, the group doesn't function
well, because it thinks the missing workers are manipulating the group.
High turnover rates in many agencies make teams impractical since
individual team members may be employed for such a brief amount of
time that they are never fully integrated into the group and the group
ultimately loses cohesion. Many human service workers have little actual
training in working in groups or with cooperative styles of learning
although this can easily be rectified by graduate schools that teach stu-
dents about group treatment, offer a good deal more about group dynam-
ics, and encourage field experiences
to lead and
function within both clinical and non-practice task groups.
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