Team Processes: How it Works

 This week I read chapters 7, 8 and 13 in the Organizational Behavior textbook by McShane and Von Glinow. It is a very interesting textbook that provides a lot of insight into organizational behavior. After reading these chapters you should have a clear understanding of creativity and decision making, team dynamics and organizational structure.

The following paper is a summary of these chapters and their effect on organizational behavior. Chapter 7 is entitled “Decision Making and Creativity. ” This chapter describes the six stages in the rational choice decision process. It also explains the three ways in which emotions influence the selection of alternatives. The chapter goes further by outlining the four steps in the creative process. It also describes the characteristics of employees and the workplace that support creativity. How should people make decisions in organizations?

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This is the question that chapter 7 attempts to answer. It searches for methods in which organizations can make better decisions. Organizations make decisions using data collected through calculations. Some organizations form groups or team to solve complex problems. So I would ask again, how should people make decisions in organization? Most business leaders would likely answer this question by saying that effective decision making involves identifying, selecting and applying the best possible alternative (McShane 2010).

In other words, the best decisions use pure logic and all available information to choose the alternative with the highest value-such as highest expected profitability, customer satisfaction, employee well-being, or some combination of these outcomes (McShane 2010). The rational choice paradigm, sometimes involve complex calculations of data to produce a formula that points to the best choice (McShane 2010). The rational choice paradigm first began 2,500 years ago when Plato and his contemporaries in ancient Greece raised logical debate and reasoning to fine art (McShane 2010).

With all the data collected in using the rational choice paradigm it is still subject to flaws. The rational choice paradigm seems so logical, yet it is impossible to apply in reality (McShane 2010). One reason is that the model assumes people are efficient and logical information processing machines (McShane 2010). People have difficulty recognizing problems; they cannot (or will not) simultaneously process the huge volume of information needed to identify the best solutions; and they have difficulty recognizing when their choices have failed (McShane 2010). Emotions play a vital role in the decision making process.

Herbert Simon and many other experts have presented plenty of evidence that people do not evaluate alternatives nearly as well as is assumed by the rational choice paradigm (McShane 2010). Just as both the rational and emotional brain centers alert us to problems, they also influence our choice of alternatives; emotions affect the evaluation of alternatives in three ways (McShane 2010). Emotion causes individuals to form early preferences and alter the decision evaluation process. Human beings are flawed with various emotions that sometime cloud our rational decision making process.

This could lead to very poor business and personal decisions. Sometimes complex problems need complex and creative solutions to solve them. Creativity is the development of original ideas that make a socially recognized contribution (McShane 2010). Everyone is creative, but some people have a higher potential for creativity (McShane 2010). Four of the main characteristics that give individuals more creative potential are intelligence, persistence, knowledge and experience, and a cluster of personality traits and values representing independent imagination (McShane 2010).

It is very important to be creative when trying to solve problems or exploring potential new products. Creative companies tend to be more successful and offer more innovative products. Chapter 8 is entitled “Team Dynamics. ” This chapter did a good job of defining teams and discussing their benefits and limitations. The chapter also laid out a great diagram of the team effectiveness model.

The chapters continues by discussing how task characteristics, team size and team composition influence team effectiveness. Finally the chapter summarized the development rocess of a team. Teams are groups of two or more people who interact and influence each other, are mutually accountable for achieving common goals associated with organizational objectives, and perceive themselves as a social entity within an organization (McShane 2010).

Teams are an important component of a firm’s success. Teams function in many capacities and serve many purposes. Some teams are formed to solve problems; others are formed to improve existing or new products and services. There are advantages and disadvantages to forming teams within an organization.

The formation of teams is a great addition to an organization when they are effective. A team is effective when it benefits the organization, its members, and its own survival (McShane 2010). The team’s success is usually measured by its ability to achieve its goals and objectives. Just like a sports team an organization’s team is judged by its wins and losses. Did the team achieve their desired goals? If the answer is no, changes are the team is readjusted or realigned in a manner that creates a better chance for success.

The success of teams is dependent on the selection of its members and the manner in which it is ran. The two most important factors when forming a team is to determine the appropriate size and composition. The team cannot be too small or too large and must be diverse in the selection of its members. One reason why diverse teams are more effective under these conditions is that people from different backgrounds see a problems or opportunity from different angles (McShane 2010). Chapter 13 in entitled “Organizational Structure. ” This chapter describes three types of coordination in organizational structures.

The chapter also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of centralization and formalization organization structures. Choosing an organizational structure for your business is very important. The structure business leaders choose can be a determining factor in the success of an organization. Every company is configured in terms of four basic elements of organizational structures (McShane 2010). The four elements of organizational structures are span of control, centralization, formalization and departmentalization. Span of control refers to the number of people directly reporting to the next level in the hierarchy (McShane 2010).

Centralization means that formal decision making authority is held by a small group of people, typically those at the top of the organization hierarchy (McShane 2010). Formalization is the degree to which organizations standardize behavior through rules, procedures, formal training, and related mechanisms (McShane 2010). Departmentalization specifies how employees and their activities are grouped together McShane 2010). Organizational structures are very important to the success of an organization. Some business leaders like to keep the control in the hands of a very few people.

Others prefer to empower their employees to be able to make decisions. There is no one size fits all organizational structure. The proper organizational depends on industry, company size, composition, and skills of employees as well as many other factors. The topics covered in chapters 7, 8 and 13 are very critical to the success of any organization. Choosing the correct manner in which to make decisions is vital to an organization’s success. Organizations should allow employees to be creative when analyzing problems and offering a creative work environment is critical to finding innovative solutions.

It is just as important to determine whether your organization should utilize teams, and how those teams should be formed as well as the composition of those teams. It is also important to choose the correct organizational structure. I found this week’s reading very helpful in understanding many elements that are vital to an organization’s success. I look forward to utilizing the theories that were talked about in these chapters.


  1. McShane, S. L. , & Von Glinow, M. A. (2010). Organizational behavior (5th ed. ). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN: 9780073381237.

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