Organizational behavior is concern with the study of the behavior of the people with in an organizational setting. It helps to understand predict and to control human behavior. In a working environment, we meet people with different ideas and characters. Therefore it is essential to understand how to cooperate with individual personalities to develop team working skills in different environments. Organizational behavior analyzes how people behave as individuals and as members of a group.
With regard to the module Organizational Behavior, our module tutor divided our entire class into various groups of five and I found myself entitled with four other tremendously enthusiastic classmates of mine, namely Gayani, Jayan, Tharuka and Maheshi who I was very eager to work with. Our challenge was to imagine ourselves as external consultants and analyze the issues about a large planning consultancy named as Alpha Planning. The requirements were to relate the issues to specific organizational behavioral theories that we have discussed in class and as a group, we had to recommend solutions for the relevant issues as to how they could improve further in order to succeed. This reflective essay analyzes the individual basis theoretical areas covered by the module and integrates with my experience on team working with regard to the group course work. I have chosen to elaborate on the way Motivation interacts with Team Working.
Team work is the key to a successful organization or a project. The notion of united we stand and divided we fall applies very well. Today there are many organizations employing hundreds of thousands of people all working together to build and keep the brand of companies. Having a team may be one issue and building cohesion within a team is another. It is not always easy to achieve unity but can be diligently sought through various levels of motivation.
Motivation is stimulation or triggering of behavior and directing to achieve certain end goals. Many sociologists and psychologists have studied motivation and developed certain theories to explain the concept of motivation. F. Herzberg was famous for his two factor theory while Abraham Maslow developed the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Different people are stimulated differently and will need a different trigger for action. In other words, there is no dearth of opportunities to learn on how to motivate a team. Individual differences and perceptions are common in team work as there will be people from all walks of life. Each of them comes from different backgrounds so they will have various characters, personalities, abilities, attitudes, perceptions and experiences. Therefore as a team, it is the responsibility of the team members to make sure that these personalities do not clash, but push other team members to forget about their differences and achieve their goal.
The first and foremost question that appeared in my mind when I was asked to participate on a team to complete the course work was that, ‘why should I be a part of a team?’ Immediately the decision-making process began as follows. What is the purpose of the team? Is it a topic that interests me? Who will be on the team with me? What kind of authority will I have? What is the reward for participating? and What is the risk for not participating? These were the typical questions which related to my motivation to participate in the team. There are times when individuals are not given the opportunity to refuse participation on a team. For example, as in this scenario when it is a group course work for the partial fulfillment of a particular module, by default, I was a part of the team. The purpose of this team was the successfully completion of the module course work. The question, ‘who will be on the team with me’ didn’t create much of a concern as I had the opportunity to work with all of my team members a few times earlier.
As soon as we were divided into group, we decided to appoint Maheshi as the Group Leader as we felt she was the best person to be in-charge of the team and decided to work under her guidance. We all realized that the reward for participating in the team is the successfully completion of the module course work and risk for not participating is the failure of the module course work. Therefore, I determined to contribute to the course work at my level best and assist my fellow team members in every way I can. Team motivation can rise or fall depending on a myriad of factors. For long-term motivation, there must be a purpose or mission that the team members find aligns with their personal
wants and needs. Our purpose was to complete the course work successfully and all of us had one single motive in our mind with regard to the course work.
That was to achieve an overall good grade for the Organizational Behavior module. A team member can be asked to participate on a temporary task force. If the mission is clear, he or she might be able to sustain motivation for the duration if he or she feels it is important. However, if it is a topic that is not in line with their needs, their motivation may to continue diminish. This didn’t create much of a concern as all of had the chance to clarify our doubts about our mission from the first group meeting. Throughout my life, I have heard many people say that their most rewarding team experiences resulted from some sort of challenge. When presented with a challenge, our defenses are alerted to move us to action or to run away from danger or address it directly. The challenge itself was the motivator. An additional criterion for a challenge is the level of difficulty.
If a challenge is too difficult, perhaps perceived as impossible, then team members may give up before they start. However, the same result may occur if the members perceive the challenge as too easy. Little energy is required to accomplish something so easily obtained. Our course work was indeed a challenge, but it is safer to state that it was achievable as we were provided the theoretical knowledge throughout the whole semester during the module lectures. Yet it wasn’t a bed of roses as we had to do quite a lot of research to apply our theoretical knowledge on a practical working environment. We had to face some difficulties as not only we were informed to identify the organizational issues of the case study, but also to suggest recommendations and methods of implementations. Accordingly for our team, periodic stimulation in the form of a worthy challenge was another factor to maintain the team motivation.
In general, people and teams are stimulated by being given responsibility. Having ownership of an identifiable block of work is a long-held principle of motivation in groups. However, responsibility can be tricky. It is important to understand that the responsibility comes along with authority to make the necessary changes. Teams that have both the responsibility and authority tend to maintain motivation over longer periods of time. Responsibility can be demotivating if the consequences of error or failure are too great. The short-term performance may be good, but long-term motivation will suffer. It is difficult to sustain high performance when energy is being sapped by fear. We initialized the course work by reading the case study as a group.
The discussion was informal and friendly and everyone had an idea to contribute and did not hold back thoughts as plenty of suggestions were being thrown. At the end of the discussion we came up with a list of possible issues and each of us were given two Organizational Behavior topics to research on, where we had to focus on finding theories, recommendations and implementations that we could relate to the issues. Therefore according to the task allocation which was conducted by our team leader, the responsibility was divided among the team fairly and each and every one of us was responsible for the total outcome of the course work. Another factor that motivates successful teams is camaraderie, meaning comradeship, fellowship, and loyalty.
It’s a lot easier to perform as a team when the team members have a good relationship with each other. The outcome of this kind of relationship building is open and direct communication, frequent praising of each others’ contributions, and mutual support. Much of the time we like or dislike someone, it relates more towards how well we understand them. And since our formal training has not addressed this, most of us enter adulthood ill-equipped to deal with the myriad of personalities, temperaments, cultures, values, beliefs, ideologies, religions, and eccentric behaviors of those we meet. One way to break down these barriers is to expand our understanding on our own species.
During the course work, the most important fact which I was able to realize was that the team members in our team as individuals had different talents and capabilities. Some of us were good in understanding the theoretical aspects when the others had a hard time understanding the theory and some of us had a wider knowledge in dealing with practical situations and were able to help others. Therefore we were able to use these various capabilities for different types of tasks. Each of us completed separate parts of the course work and this assisted us a great deal to finish the entire course work before the deadline.
During the brainstorming session, I was able to help my team mates who were unable to grasp the organizational theories by explaining the case study thoroughly in much simpler terms. This act led towards building camaraderie within the team. At the beginning, there were issues with regard to the fact that our team leader tended to take the entire burden and some of the team members weren’t aware of the work that has been done. However, after the submission of the Report Plan we were able to solve that issue by communicating directly with the Team Leader and expressing our ideas to her. Thereafter, there were no conflicts with regard to dissatisfaction in members’ work and there was no depression or tension even at the last minute. Therefore we all were motivated to work as a team and were able to finish the relevant tasks much easily.
Personal and team growth can provide another basis for sustained team motivation. When people feel they are moving forward, learning new concepts, adding to their skill base, and stretching their minds, motivation tends to remain high. Personal growth adds value to the individual, enhancing self-esteem and self-worth. Accordingly, team members and team leaders should look for opportunities that help add knowledge and skills. Enrolling in the module, Organizational Behavior has enabled me to understand and analyze the way people interact within the organizations both now and in the future. As a second year student, I will be able to gain the exposure of a real working environment during my placement year. Therefore acquiring some of the career management and higher education skills through team working is essential for my career development.
This was indeed a motivational factor for me to engage in this course work and provide my level best contribution to the team. As my team mates had the same motive, it was a motivational factor for the entire team. Being a part of this team made me realize that there are both the visible and invisible benefits of a highly motivated team. Highly motivated team members look forward in completing the tasks successfully, actively and consciously contribute to the team, get more done and have more ideas, focus their energy on the positives rather than the negatives and reinforce the team culture. Creating and sustaining motivation requires open communication, honesty and respect. Essentially, motivation is about bonding with the fellow team mates. If we make an effort to know them, listening to them and valuing them for their particular contributions and potential, they are more likely to work with us in meeting the challenges.
In conclusion, I would like to state that in a team, whose members are aligned with its purpose, feel a challenge in their task, have a strong sense of camaraderie, feel responsibility for the outcome, and experience growth as a team and in their personal lives, will tend to sustain motivation over the long haul. This is not to say that the team will not have difficulties at times, or the members’ needs won’t change over time. In these cases, sometimes changes will have to be made. But, as much as it is possible to sustain motivation indefinitely the factors which I mentioned above will tend to create the best possible environment for it. In fact I would like to state that those factors helped us as a team to be motivated in reaching our goal and as well as to develop our team working skills.
The knowledge gained and skills that I have enhanced through successful interaction among team members will undoubtedly be useful in future. It has built up my confidence and ability to voice my concerns and opinions within a group as required. In addition this would enhance my leadership skills in terms of the ability to understand individual experiences and factors influencing motivation which could be effectively made use of in project management.