COMM 333-Organizational Communication

last updated 11/20/2009

Communicating in Teams and Groups
Adapted from S. DeWine and D. Modaff, Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges and Misunderstandings.  Los Angeles:  Roxbury, 2002.  Ch. 12.

Teams in organizations exist for a variety of reasons including permanent functional work groups, short-term planning or functional "task force" groups, quality control teams, decision and planning groups, advisory groups and so on.  Employees often belong to several.  Many employees identify more strongly with their team than with the organization in general.

I.  Characteristics of Groups/Teams (note connections to organizational culture)

  1. "Unique" Norms

  2. Cohesiveness

  3. Diversity

  4. Satisfaction

  5. Groupthink

  6. Stress

  7. Conservatism ("Stuckness")

II.  Effective Teams have

"Superb Teams" -- Wageman "High-performing Teams" - Larson & LaFasto

a clear, engaging direction

standards of excellence

appropriately designed work tasks/processes

results-driven structure

team rewards strongly associated with team effort and outcomes

competent team members

adequate resources

external support and recognition

adequate authority

collaborative climate

the ability to articulate goals that fit the organizations needs

clear, elevating goals

established norms that promote strategic thinking

principled leadership


unified commitment