Impediments to Team-Building Is Near-endless  Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

In addition to being team-focused, the objectives set should be patient-focused. At present, the patient is not the focus of any particular individual or group, although they are perfectly willing to invoke the patient to justify a roadblock to change. Motivators are key to implementing organizational change as they orient the actions of the individuals within the organization.

Kotter and Schlesinger (2008) outline the four main points of resistance to change: "a desire not to lose something of value, a misunderstanding of the change and its complications, a belief that the change does not make sense for the organization, and a low tolerance for change in general." To this I would add a fifth reason -- that the change is genuinely bad. Given the questionable quality of management, there may have been past change programs that failed miserably, stoking resistance to this change. No matter the reason, the way to address this is through education and communication. The different parties need to understand why the current system does not work, what the change is, what the objectives of the change are and how the change will affect each department. This may not entirely remove resistance to change, but a transparent communication process will help ameliorate some of the most virulent resistance.

Communication is a critical component of the plan because until now, communication channels have been poor or non-existent. The different department representatives only meet once per week, and tend to focus their discussion in petty procedural issues rather than focusing on strategic issues. Under the new paradigm, new channels of communication will be opened and new dialogue will be directed by team leadership.

Leadership is another critical element that must be mentioned. As difficult as the team members are at present, they are largely the product of an environment that encouraged such behavior. In order for any organizational change effort to work, it must have the full support of senior management. Indeed, it is recommended that senior management take a direct role in the change process. If it does not appear that there is managerial support, then a lack of commitment from the lower-level employees and managers is going to follow. I would bring at least one member of senior management, preferably the CEO, directly into this change process. I will guide the process, but the symbolic value of the CEO's presence is necessary to ensure the full commitment of all team members.

In addition to leadership, there needs to be clear and specific objectives for the change process. These objectives must be quantifiable and achievable. The team members must understand these objectives and be guided through intrinsic and extrinsic motivators towards these objectives. There must be a means of measuring the objectives and rewards must be tied to these objectives. Without a clear vision and set of objectives, it will be difficult to keep this team focused on the change; it may slip back into its old bad habits.

Organizational change is always a difficult process. There are entrenched interests throughout this organization, but that is to be expected. The change program will be focused on establishing new norms, which should then result in the establishment of new behaviors that guide the organization towards teamwork and the objectives set forth by senior management.

Works Cited:

Ryan, L. (2007). The toxic employee. Business Week Online. Retrieved from Business Source Complete,

Atherton, J. (2003) Learning and teaching: Group development. North Carolina State University. Retrieved May 8, 2010 from

Chiu, C., Lin, H. & Chien, S. (2009). Transformational leadership and team behavioral integration: The mediating role of team learning. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2009, 1-6.

Klein, C., Diaz-Granados, D., Salas, E., Huy, L., Burke, S., Lyons, R., Goodwid, G. (2009). Does team building work? Small Group Research. Vol. 40 (2) 181-222.

Ito, J. & Brotheridge, C. (2008). Do teams grow up one stage at a time? Team Performance Management. Vol. 14 (5/6) 214-232.

Kotter, J. & Schlesinger, L. (2008). Choosing strategies for change. Harvard Business Review. Vol. 86 (7/8) 130-139.

Lee. T. (2008). Turning doctors into leaders. Harvard Business Review. Vol. 88 (4) 50-58.

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