Global competition and accelerating change have challenged traditional notions of the corporate pyramid. Organizations seeking to improve quality and agility have replaced entire levels of management with self-managing work teams. For this reason, the skills needed for teamwork are at a premium in the workplace.
A team is essentially a small number of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, a set of performance goals, and an approach to solving problems for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. But a team is more than just a collection of individuals. A true team develops an almost organic quality. The synergy produced through interaction involving a common goal should exceed what a group of individuals might achieve working independently. Thus, there is a significant difference between the product of a well-functioning team and the product of a work group where a piece of the problem is assigned to each individual.
Indiana Wesleyan University utilizes project teams and team projects in the curriculum because team process can enhance learning, especially in adult professionals. Students working in project teams are able to take on larger projects than they would be able to individually. This enables the university to present courses in a compressed format. Not only is learning enhanced through this method, but students also have the opportunity to develop teamwork skills. We believe project teams are a vital component to the education our students receive.
Project teams are typically comprised of self-selected teams of three to five individuals who meet as needed for class assignment preparation, team projects, and team presentations.
Individuals who work effectively in teams are characterized by the following abilities: