Department

Organization Development

Date of Paper/Work

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organization Development (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Alla Heorhiadi, John Conbere, Eleni Roulis

Abstract

In today's organizations, most of the productivity and innovation occur in teams (also called "groups"). Organizations possess a critical advantage when they are able to leverage the collective talents and contributions of employees working in teams. By nature, performance of the organization's teams equals performance of the organization.

While the need for teams has grown dramatically, research and knowledge about teams have increased. A wide array of resources, training, and consultants are available to help organizations with their teams. Yet, most organizations report they struggle with maintaining effective teams.

The purpose of the grounded theory study was to understand the disconnect between available team resources and the challenges organizations face with their teams. There were 18 interviews conducted with individuals who have experience in organizations with teams or experience helping organizations with their teams.

The data indicated teams are impacted by the leadership and environment in the larger organization. Individual teams may achieve a satisfying level of performance for a period of time. Eventually, however, the organization's leadership and culture must support teams, or obstacles will surface beyond the scope and influence of its teams.

Organizations that reported success with their teams had focused on developing the organization as a whole, i.e., the organization is the team. This included developing a functioning top leadership team, designing processes to maximize input and communication throughout the organization, and utilizing facilitation support through external consultants skilled in whole-scale organizational change methods. In those instances, the groups in the organizations were able to function effectively in an environment that supported teams.

The examples of organizational success also demonstrated other benefits derived from developing the organization as a whole, including effectively leading and managing change, building healthier relationships, and increasing productivity. Most organizations commit significant resources and planning toward similar goals, and the organizations reported in this study accomplished those desired outcomes and more.

Keywords

teams, groups, organizational effectiveness, effective teams, effective groups, whole organization development

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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