Theories

Team work is a great way to get things done. There is something very powerful about connecting a group of people to be on the same page, and all working for one ultimate goal. This however can be a very daunting task to performbecause of the magnitude of the objective. This is where a keen understanding of teamwork theories comes in handy. A teamwork theory is an organized way of comprehending certain circumstances, procedures, and behaviors. Here is a list of the top ten theories that have been developed by prestigious individuals.

1. Bruce Tuckman’s Model of Team Stages
The Bruce Tuckman theory was created in 1965, and has been applied in countless organizations and scenarios. With four main stages titled forming, storming, norming, and performing; this theory is commonly referred to as the origin for successful team building.

2. Belbin’s Theory of team roles
Belbin created a list of nine roles that every team should have. These roles are Plant, Resource investigator, Coordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Team Worker, Implementer, Completer-Finisher, and Specialist.

3. Hierarchy of Needs theory by Abraham Maslow
Maslow created a pyramid of the motivation in humans. The bottom starts off with Physiological items like food. The next section is Safety like the security of health. The third section is Love/belonging and an example would be family. The fourth is Esteem, meaning something like respect by others. The final section is Self-actualization and an example of this is morality.

4. Isabel Briggs-Myers and her MBTI theory
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that perceives how people perceive the world. This is good for teamwork because it can help the team understand each other better.

5. John Adair’s Leadership theory
This theory is a perfect model for what leadership and management should look like.

6. Carl Jung’s Color theory
Jung’s theory is about how color is a determinant of human behavior. By understanding this, you can better understand why people in your team do what they do.

7. Tajfel’s theory on Social Identity
This theory presented the idea of social identity as a great way to describe inter-group behavior.

8. X and Y theory developed by Douglas McGregor
The X and Y theory is a description of how humans are motivated. This is also one of the most important theories that managers and employees should be familiar with.

9. Strength Theory
This idea is that if for the best teamwork you have to continually work at it and become strong, like a muscle.

10. Team Analysis Theory
This theory is that eventually your team will fall apart, so you will need to re-evaluate the situation and analyze what went wrong.

By a keen understanding of these teamwork theories, you will be able to get the most out of a group of people. Whether this is for a manager trying to create team unity, or a sports team looking for teamwork, these theories are perfect for your objective.

Bruce Tuckman, currently a psychology professor at Ohio State University, is one of the most influential thinkers in modern history. His research has spanned over fifty years, and his dissertations regarding the functions of a small group are revolutionary.

Released in 1965, the theory, also known as Tuckman's stages, were made widely known to the intellectual community and contained four stages (later five) that would define the basic functions of a team in progress.

A Brief Analysis of Tuckman's Stages

The four original stages of Tuckman's model of group behavior were forming, storming, norming, and performing, with adjourning being added twelve years in later.

The stage of forming takes place when team or group members first meet one another. Tuckman explains how group members will explicitly attempt to avoid conflict in fear of giving off a bad first impression. According to Tuckman, very little work on the project at hand gets completed during this stage. This stage is more important for becoming acquainted and learning to work together.

The second stage is known as storming. There is a double-edged definition within storming because not only does brainstorming of different individuals' ideas take place but the disagreements and arguments regarding these ideas also happen. Tuckman explains that this stage is a test of group members' maturity and ability to compromise with others' opposing ideas, two major necessities when in a team setting.

The third stage is norming, probably the most simple of the five stages. Norming takes place when storming completes and the group is ready to move forward with assigning roles and beginning physical production of work.

The fourth stage, performing, happens when the group or team begins to work as one cohesive unit in an efficient and productive manner. There is very little argument or hesitation; the project closes in on completion as the individual members become properly synchronized within their roles.

The final stage, added in 1977, is adjourning, which basically explains the process of letting go of one's role in the team and the attachments they have made.

Contrasting Tuckman's Stages with the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum

Bruce Tuckman's stages of group dynamics is not the only highly regarded theory defining group functions. The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum talks about managerial and team roles and how much power the manager gives the employees to make decisions.

Basically, the manager can give more or less power to their team. If too little power is given to the employees, then the rest of the team may not function properly. If more power is given to employees and something goes wrong, the manager will be forced to take the blame, not for the project's failure but rather for giving his team the kind of power he/she did.

Unlike Bruce Tuckman's theory, Tannenbaum and Schmidt focused more on the manager as the primary role and what would potentially happen to the manager in these situations. On the other hand, Tuckman wanted to focus on the entire team as a cohesive unit. While compromise is a major contributor to the Tuckman theory, the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum emphasizes the leader as the only decision-maker of the group; the team is merely just there for ideas and contributions.

Overall, Tuckman's Stages is a much more balanced group effort, while the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum is what one would find in a current corporation's business meeting.

You might also read about other teamwork theories not mentioned here.