‘Relations Between Work Group Characteristics and Effectiveness- Implications For Designing Effective Work Groups’ by Campion, Medsker and Higgs. Author’s Campion, Medsker and Higgs’ article titled ‘Relations Between Work Group Characteristics and Effectiveness- Implications For Designing Effective Work Groups’ has been cited in journal articles 405 times. The study analyses how job design, interdependence, composition, context and process characteristics in the workplace are related to the three key performance effectiveness criteria in the forms of productivity, employee satisfaction and manager judgements.
Data was collected from 391 employees, 70 managers and archival records for 80 work groups, with the study being conducted in five geographical units within a large financial services company. The responsibilities performed by the employees for the purpose of the study comprised of tasks such as answering customer enquiries, coding, computer keying, sorting and other associated duties. Employee satisfaction was measured through an opinion survey, which was conducted 3 months prior to the study.
Manager judgments of effectiveness involved all managers covering all groups to evaluate their specific areas on a wide range of topics in a questionnaire, which included productivity, quality of work, customer service and satisfaction of members; in contrast to the managers, who filled out questionnaires on work design as well as manager judgements effectiveness. The conclusions and findings of the study exposed different effectiveness criteria related to each work team characteristic, in which productivity, employee satisfaction and manager judgments were the criterion central points.
Job design refers to participation levels of the members in regards to decision making. These characteristics were related in an optimistic direction and showed a positive relationship with the key three criteria. Interdependence is the understanding of being dependent from others in the group. This characteristic increases individual motivation and thus allows goal setting to be achieved within a group and therefore gives shared responsibility for other workers tasks in the team.
Again, similar to that of job design, the interdependence characteristic were related in a positive relationship to all three criteria and was revealed that independent feedback and rewards were related to employee satisfaction in both samples. Composition is defined as the perfect planning and organising of people within a group to complete a specific task; the more or less of people in a group can prove to be damaging and ultimately unrewarding for task outcomes if managed poorly.
Composition characteristics were similarly positively related to all three criteria, with manager judgements having the strongest relationship. The results suggested that larger groups are more effective, and heterogeneity holds no positive relationship with effectiveness, signifying that all members must be flexible and skilled, but in diverse areas. Context in the study referred to group performance being mostly influenced by the level of training given to the employees. The context characteristics related mostly to satisfaction and manager judgements criteria.
The outcomes indicated that employees regarded manager support as most critical, whereas, managers viewed noticeable contributions by the employees such as training to be most critical; suggesting that management support was more predictive of employee satisfaction. Finally, process refers to how operations of performing tasks are conducted within the group setting. The process characteristics related mostly to productivity and manager judgement criteria, with workload sharing being predictive. Communication and cooperation within the group exhibited numerous relationships.
The results of the study illustrated numerous strengths and advantages with human relation activities. Through the study it provided managers with the understanding and knowledge of how to create and preserve effective and successful work groups. Furthermore the study provided work group interventions, which is the key to fruitful operations. Lastly, the study was also crucial in demonstrating how to effectively collaborate with colleagues to boost productivity and work performance and ultimately satisfaction.
Juxtaposed to the strengths of the study, there were also some limitations recognised. Static research does not allow a test of change over time, hence leading to imprecise results in due course. Also notably, the reliability of some scales was low as a result of small number of employees; being five per group. It would be advantageous for future studies to incorporate more than five employees per group. Finally, other design characteristics should be further explored, such as employee abilities, rewards and leadership, in order to accurately determine group effectiveness and functionality.
The results from the study showed that the three effectiveness criteria could be predicted by the design characteristics, and virtually all the characteristics predicted some of the criteria. The job design and process themes were slightly more predictive than the interdependence, composition and context themes. Ultimately, managers and employees can work together to create ideal effective work groups if they cooperate cohesively. Hence fourth, the results indicate that a combination of effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace is fundamental to ultimate success. Word Count: 772
Empirical Articles Article 1: Patterns of interdependence in work teams: A two-level investigation of the relations with job and team satisfaction Citation: Van der Vegt, Gerben. , Emans, Ben J. M. , Van De Vliert, Evert. , 2001. ‘Patterns of interdependence in work teams: A two-level investigation of the relations with job and team satisfaction’, Journal of Personnel Psychology, 54 (1), 51-69. Abstract: A questionnaire study in 17 school and 24 engineering teams examined affective reactions to task and goal interdependence at the group and individual level of analysis.
Group-level task interdependence was positively related to group members’ job and team satisfaction. Within-group differences in the degree of task interdependence were unrelated to affective responses. Interactions revealed that within-group task interdependence is positively related to both job and team satisfaction only if the degree of goal interdependence in the work team is high. Article 2: Interdependence and Group Effectiveness Citation: Wageman, Ruth. , 1995. ‘Interdependence and Group Effectiveness’, Journal of Administrative Science Quarterly, 40 (1), 145-180.
Abstract: This study investigated the differential effects of task design and reward system design on group functioning; the effectiveness of “hybrid” groups, in which groups’ tasks and/or rewards have both individual and group elements; and how individuals’ preferences for autonomy moderate their responses to interdependence at work An intervention in the reward system at a large US, corporation created group, individual, and hybrid rewards for 150 existing teams of technicians that had group, hybrid, or individual tasks a Groups performed best when their tasks and outcomes were either pure group or pure individual Hybrid groups performed quite poorly, had low-quality interaction processes, and low member satisfaction. Task and outcome interdependence affected different aspects of group functioning: Tasks influenced variables related to cooperation, while outcomes influenced variables related to effort. Individuals’ autonomy preferences did not moderate the effects of task and reward interdependence but, instead, were themselves influenced by the amount of interdependence in the work. These findings have implications for the design of work and reward systems for work groups.