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Teams in organizations have weekly – or even daily – meetings to exchange information, generate ideas, solve problems, and make decisions. Yet, many team meetings are…
Teams in organizations have weekly – or even daily – meetings to exchange information, generate ideas, solve problems, and make decisions. Yet, many team meetings are described as ineffective by the participants, due to either their design or dysfunctional communication practices within the meeting. To gain new insights into addressing these issues, this chapter goes back deep in history and discusses the origins and functions of group meetings. Building upon evolutionary theories of human behavior, the authors examine the evolutionary significance of meetings and the ways in which they were adaptive for our human ancestors. Drawing from this evolutionary perspective, we then compare meetings in ancestral times with their modern-day counterparts. Using evidence from (a) ethnographic studies of small-scale societies that model ancestral group life and (b) organizational and team science, we contrast the typical workplace meeting with its ancient counterpart. In this review of ancient and modern meetings, we identify meeting characteristics that have been maintained through time as well as those that are unique/new in the modern time. In doing so, we inspect to what extent meeting practices in ancestral environments are aligned or at odds with meeting practices in contemporary organizations (the notion of mismatch). From these similarities and differences, we derive novel theoretical insights for the study of workplace meetings as well as suggestions for improving contemporary meeting practice. We also include a series of testable propositions that can inform future research on team meetings in organizations.
Maintaining and protecting employee well-being and health is of paramount importance for organizations in order to prevent financial losses due to illness, absenteeism…
Maintaining and protecting employee well-being and health is of paramount importance for organizations in order to prevent financial losses due to illness, absenteeism, and fluctuation. This chapter discusses the role of team meetings for employee well-being. As the contemporary workplace is shaped by team work, team meetings increasingly shape employees’ experiences at work. As such, team meetings may also have a major influence on employee well-being as they consume large amounts of time and thus strongly influence workers’ schedules. While previous research has predominantly focused on negative aspects of meetings and mainly considered them as a workplace stressor, this chapter advances a positive perspective on meetings as opportunities for boosting rather than impairing employee well-being. Upon reviewing the extant evidence about linkages between workplace meetings and well-being, the authors highlight the role of team dynamics during meetings for individual well-being and suggest new perspectives for future research. The authors also discuss actionable implications for structuring and facilitating meetings in order to avoid negative and increase positive effects of team meeting interactions on employee well-being.
Debriefs are a type of workplace meeting that often use after events and critical incidents. Debriefs are used to review performance, promote shared learning and…
Debriefs are a type of workplace meeting that often use after events and critical incidents. Debriefs are used to review performance, promote shared learning and understanding, and improve future team performance. Similarly, reflexivity refers to the extent to which team members reflect upon and openly discuss group processes, procedures, and actions to improve future team performance. In this chapter, the authors review the separate literatures and explore the relationship between debriefs and reflexivity. While the debrief literature does focus on aspects of reflection, what occurs between the aspects of reflection, planning, and action is left unexplored. The concept of reflexivity fits well with the successful use of debriefs, as reflexivity ensures that reflection results in outcomes and moves beyond just an overview or discussion during debriefing. Additionally, important constructs such as psychological safety and sensemaking are relevant to both debriefs and reflexivity such that open and honest discussion as well as developing shared understanding are necessary for effective debriefing and reflection. Using the constructs of psychological safety and sensemaking, the authors propose a model that situates both reflexivity and effective debriefs in the context of team learning. This model integrates team reflexivity with team debriefs, provides a better understanding of how teams can carry out more effective debriefs, and explains how more effective debriefing and greater team reflexivity lead to enhanced learning and improvement in team performance.
Previous research on workplace meetings identified critical design features, leader behaviors, group dynamics, post-meeting actions, and other factors which help determine…
Previous research on workplace meetings identified critical design features, leader behaviors, group dynamics, post-meeting actions, and other factors which help determine the effectiveness of the meeting. But as much as the authors acknowledge that meetings may differ from each other, much of the research appears to assume that it is meaningful to talk about “the meeting” as a single, generic entity (most commonly, the regularly scheduled staff or department meeting). In fact, though, there are several common types of meetings which vary among themselves in terms of a number of measurable parameters such as structure, meeting members, meeting leader, timing and duration, and scope. It is a gratuitous assumption that what the authors know about workplace meetings based on one especially common type applies to all workplace meetings. This chapter offers a historical review of previous attempts to classify meeting types; it then overviews several common types which deviate from the standard staff meeting paradigm, including project team meetings, debrief meetings, committee meetings, site-wide meetings, shift change meetings, and crew formation meetings. In comparing these types to the staff meeting, the authors identify some of the critical differences, thereby providing a first step toward a true taxonomy of meetings.
Meetings are ubiquitous at work. Therefore, understanding what makes meetings effective (or not) is important. Entitativity (i.e., the “group-ness” of a meeting) may…
Meetings are ubiquitous at work. Therefore, understanding what makes meetings effective (or not) is important. Entitativity (i.e., the “group-ness” of a meeting) may theoretically explain when some meetings are effective. That is, when meeting participants perceive a high enough level of group-ness in their meeting, then they begin to enact the processes to create a successful meeting and experience the outcomes of a successful meeting. The authors propose a model connecting the characteristics of successful face-to-face (FtF) meetings to entitativity and extrapolate this model to online meetings. Specifically, the authors interpret well-researched characteristics and practices of meetings (e.g., using an agenda and meeting punctuality) to be examples of well-established entitativity antecedents (e.g., creating similarity of goals and establishing meeting boundaries). That is, using an agenda creates effective meetings because it focuses members’ attention on common goals. Therefore, entitativity may be an explanatory mechanism for successful meetings. The authors examine the unique challenges of online meetings, which are growing in number. The authors note that entitativity may be harder to establish in online meetings making successful online meetings more difficult. Characteristics of online meetings (e.g., focusing on the few shared documents which may focus members on goals) that may promote success. The authors propose further theoretical work as well as suggest strategies that can be used to increase entitativity in FtF and online meetings.
Organizations increasingly view their internal staff as a source of innovation and change and tend to involve an increasing number of organizational members in strategy…
Organizations increasingly view their internal staff as a source of innovation and change and tend to involve an increasing number of organizational members in strategy work. This inclusion is a form of decentralized strategy and usually takes place in meetings. This chapter explores how meetings can become a planned emergence strategy for unlocking endogenous innovation potential. Data have been gathered from a still ongoing field project in which employees of six public offices such as the police or fire brigade participate. The public offices’ administration is characterized by a traditional division of responsibility, meaning that strategy has so far been the business of only few people at the top of the organization. For the first time in this organization, managers and other specialists at various organizational levels have been invited to partake in the new bottom-up strategy format Think Tank. The goals of the Think Tank are to identify the needs of the employees, to find and show potential, create a subculture and encourage innovation. The Think Tank meetings are attended by highly motivated employees who want to develop further organizational goals. The investigation illustrates that exchange on an equal basis, voluntary participation and mixed teams form the foundation for planned emergence strategy meetings. The interactions within the groups are characterized by participants having a positive attitude and avoiding negatively connoted behavior. In the strategy meetings, the various organizational members are enabled to join forces and contribute to strategic renewal. Strategic renewal is essential in a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, and complex world. This chapter illustrates how meetings can facilitate strategic renewal through planned emergence.
Organizational change in an evolving technological age is reconsidered here. Extant organization theory focuses largely on technologically‐induced transformation. This…
Organizational change in an evolving technological age is reconsidered here. Extant organization theory focuses largely on technologically‐induced transformation. This paper argues that this focus is inappropriate. With the proliferation of information technology in the workplace, change literature propounds a particular view of the organization: a lean, flat and networked organization. Reevaluating future change and future shock literature prediction, we establish a more realistic account of technology and the organization and question the accuracy of the “altered organization” expectation. In developing a conceptualization of a “limited reality of change,” we imply that predicted changes are not as clear cut as certain proponents would have us believe. Though there is a willingness throughout technology change literature to slip into the language of organizational transformation, this paper indicates that the reality of change is far more restrictive than has largely been previously acknowledged We conclude by proposing the coexistent organization as an alternative—arguing that hierarchical organizational forms can coexist with a networked organization—and discuss implications for organization change theory.
Since 1990, the Cleveland Clinic has trained physicians in team skills through various iterations of a program called Leading in Healthcare (LHC). In the present study…
Since 1990, the Cleveland Clinic has trained physicians in team skills through various iterations of a program called Leading in Healthcare (LHC). In the present study, the authors utilize a case study approach to gain insight into the LHC curriculum, and more specifically, the team project. The purpose of this paper is to better understand the Cleveland Clinic’s position on the issue and its approach to education – specifically among physicians.
The authors utilized a case study approach with four key program architects.
The results of this exploratory research yielded three themes: There is a lack of formal physician education in teamwork, there is a growing trend of inter-disciplinary teams and the team project was an important component of teambuilding in LHC.
A breakdown in team function adversely impacts patient care. While formal and informal participation in teams is imbedded in the role, physicians are rarely trained in leadership or teambuilding in their formal medical education – much of it is learned on the job in hidden curricula. In addition to the adverse effects of dysfunctional teams on patient care, the authors have explored another area that will be affected by a lack of education – the team experience at the administrative level. As more and more physicians take on leadership roles in healthcare, there is an additional need to build competencies around teams (e.g. team theory, cross-functional team participation and leading teams) from an administrative perspective.
This is one of only a few studies which have specifically examined the impact of a teamwork education for physicians.
Meetings can serve the important role of facilitating communication and coordination for systems of teams known as “multiteam systems” (MTSs) that work interdependently to…
Meetings can serve the important role of facilitating communication and coordination for systems of teams known as “multiteam systems” (MTSs) that work interdependently to achieve grand societal challenges. Given that MTSs often appear in complex, ambiguous, urgent, and multifaceted task contexts, the MTSs require effective, and efficient but thorough, communication within and between teams in order to achieve shared goals. However, the extant literature regarding the science of meetings has left much to be explored in regard to the inter- and intrateam influences and impacts. This chapter considers the significance of meetings and their practical value in facilitating MTS processes and performance by leveraging what is known thus far regarding MTS structural attributes, their value, their challenges, and opportunities, integrating this foundation with the broader science of meetings. Building on this rationale, the authors move toward empirically and theoretically derived considerations for how meetings may best be designed, facilitated and utilized for MTS effectiveness, as guided by our current understanding of critical MTS attributes.
This chapter provides an overview of the case and draws attention to the types of teams who respond to disasters, specifically a structure fire. We then provide a detailed…
This chapter provides an overview of the case and draws attention to the types of teams who respond to disasters, specifically a structure fire. We then provide a detailed recounting of the case, what resources were at play, and how the incident resolved.
There have been a number of case studies that have documented the challenges organizations face in monitoring complex and turbulent environments and the anomalous events that characterize them combined with multiteam systems’ unique combination of intricacy, propensity toward hazards, and necessary team cohesion makes it particularly difficult to foreshadow – and subsequently train for – all possible contingencies. The majority of the cases reported here is based on the official National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report that occurred shortly after the event and which is a required investigation by both State and Federal laws. Although the report is publicly available, specific identifying information was removed to allow for ease of comparison and to emphasize the multiteam system processes of interest.
As outlined in the case study above, there are many challenges that were faced in this multiteam system response to the supermarket structure fire. We discuss the response of the multiteam systems and attempt to identify a few key areas where miss-steps occurred and how the response would be different when multiteam systems function properly. We conclude with some practical implications from the incident as well as how multiteam systems can be improved based on this case study.
This chapter provides a real-world example of a disaster and systematically analyzes the steps and decisions that were utilized during the process from a multiteam perspective. Hopefully, the analysis of the case presented here will assist in developing increased awareness during high-stress encounters and offer an unbiased evaluation of what is required to properly train and therefore mitigate such tragedies in the future.