Leadership Studies

Leadership Studies

The focus of the course is on developing a management team that makes a greater contribution to the organization than the sum of the individual managers. Because this course involves a term-long virtual team project, internet access is necessary
Course Overview: Most of us have had experience working in teams. In fact, organizing groups of workers into teams has become a common method of getting work done in a variety of organizations. Relying on teams has multiple advantages, including:

• The opportunity for team members to learn from each other. Potential exists for greater work-force flexibility with cross-training.
• The opportunity for synergistic combinations of ideas and abilities.
• The chance to discover new approaches to tasks.
• Social facilitation and support for difficult tasks and situations.
• The opportunity for communication and information exchange to be facilitated and increased.
• Greater cooperation among team members.
• Enhanced interdependent work flow. Potential exists for greater acceptance and understanding of team-made decisions.
• The chance for greater autonomy, variety, identity, significance, and feedback for workers.
• The opportunity for team commitment to stimulate performance and attendance.
However, for many, the experience of working in teams has been less than satisfactory. Perhaps you have encountered some of the following problems:

• Some individuals are not compatible with teamwork.
• Workers must be selected to fit the team as well as requisite job skills.
• Some members may experience less motivating jobs as part of a team.
• Organization may resist change.
• Conflict may develop between team members or other teams.
• Teams may be time-consuming due to need for coordination and consensus.
• Teams can stymie creativity and inhibit good decision making if “group think” becomes preva-lent.
• Evaluation and rewards may be perceived as less powerful.
• “Free-riding” within the team may occur.
• Less flexibility may be experienced in personnel replacement or transfer.
Adapted from Medsker, G. J., Campion, M. A., “Job and Team Design,” in Salvendy, G., Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, pp. 450-489, Interscience, 18 Apr 1997.

Clearly, building a high-performance team involves more than putting a group of people together and expecting them to be effective. There are numerous skills and practices that are necessary and critical to manage teams properly. This course is designed to help you learn and master these skills and practices.

Virtual Teams
There is a plethora of material online and in print that deals with building and managing teams. However, in the global economy, teams are often made up of individuals who are not co-located. Members may be separated by space and time but still be expected to work together effectively. While such “virtual” teams face many of the same challenges that are faced by co-located teams, there are differences in how these challenges are met. This is why the focus of this course is on virtual teaming. Much of what is covered in the course is applicable to any team, but we pay special attention to the challenges of creating and maintaining highly effective virtual teams.
For an overview of the types of challenges presented by working with virtual teams, please read the following:
Edmondson, A. C. (2012). Teamwork on the fly. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/2012/04/teamwork-on-the-fly/ar/1
In this and throughout the course, we will follow the Nemiro model for Creativity in Virtual Teams* which concerns the following topics:
• Structuring Virtual Teams (including Leadership)
• Establishing a Supportive Team Climate
• Team Norms and Procedures
• Continuous Team Improvement
We will begin by examining the various ways that teams can be structured, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the leadership options that are available to facilitate and coordinate teamwork.
Some of the material in this course has been adapted from
Nemiro, J. E. (2004). Creativity in Virtual Teams: Key Components for Success. Pfeifer, San Francisco: CA.
Module 1 Learning Objectives:
• Identify, evaluate, analyze, and apply ways to structure work design, team process, and leadership in virtual teams.