1. What benefits did the cross-functional teams bring to General Mills? A cross-functional team is a group of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal. It may include people from finance, marketing, operations, and human resources departments. Typically, it includes employees from all levels of an organization. Members may also come from outside an organization, For General Mills, bringing the diverse groups together, especially during a merger, helped open the lines of communication between departments.
In large organizations, it is possible for employees to work in the same building but never have an opportunity to meet one another. The meetings across organizational boundaries created opportunities for employees to establish relationships and share information from their department. The benefits of cross functional team bring to General Mills are given below: Diversity: Cross-functional teams include members from different areas of the business, which creates a group of members with diverse educational backgrounds, skill sets and talents.
The diversity of the group allows the group to share ideas and skills to reach the objective of the team. For example, if the team is developing a system to reduce defects, team members with engineering skills and knowledge can develop new tools and equipment to reduce defects while members from production can provide input on the efficiency of the new tooling or equipment. Conflict: The diversity of a cross-functional team gives it an advantage when evaluating a problem from all angles, but it can also create conflict among the group.
Team members may have difficulty understanding the viewpoint of other members of the group. Shared Purpose: The cross-functional team allows group members from various areas of the company to share a purpose or objective. The team leader, with input from the members, creates the goals and objectives of the team as the first step. Using employee’s skills: On a cross-functional team, workers complete assignments together using their skills and talents to further the goals of the team. Greater scope of information: Cross-functional teams require a wide range of information to reach their decisions.
They need to draw on information from all parts of an organization’s information base. This includes information from all functional departments. System integration becomes important because it makes all information accessible through a single interface. Greater range of users: Cross-functional teams consist of people from different parts of an organization. Information must be made understandable to all users. Not only engineers use technical data, and not only accountants use financial data, and not only human resources personnel use HR data.
Modern organizations lack middle managers to combine, sort, and prioritize the data. Technical, financial, marketing, and all other types of information must come in a form that all members of a cross-functional team can understand. The cross-functional team is a group of people who collectively represent the entire organization’s interests in a specific product or product family. This team provides benefits for the individuals on the team, the product and its customers, and the organization at large.
2. What challenge would be in creating an efficient cross-functional team? How could managers deal with these challenges? Answer: A company used to create cross functional team to intensify their brand recognition and also make a mutual understanding about the organization goals and putting together their specialties in different sectors. It’s always a challenge to create a new team, but setting up a cross-functional team has some additional difficulties. While creating an effective cross functional team there comes so many challenges or obstacles that will have to eradicate to create the team.
The resources of the group members means their skills, knowledge, abilities, personality characteristics, their cultural diversified characteristics, social loafing, work group cohesiveness, group structure (roles, norms especially the conformity pressure), group process, decision making, communication, managing conflict from the perception of the traditional view, human relation, integrationist view and last of all the role of the manager in making it all works. For instance: Team members may still be doing their “ day jobs,” with the same responsibilities, workload, and deadlines as before.
This can lead to prioritization issues. People might be reluctant participants, and may not be happy to take on the additional work and effort that being part of a cross-functional team often requires. It’s more difficult to set priorities, make decisions, motivate people, and manage performance when managers don’t have direct authority over members of the team. Team members may be required to use a different set of skills in a new environment. For example, a programmer who normally works alone may now be required to work with others.
Managers have to realize the informal connection among the group members within a group and those social relationship can help or hinder the effectiveness of a cross functional team. The challenges that a manager faces that person must deal with this various challenges effectively and efficiently. Managers need to have a clear idea about the resources of the members which help to direct them towards the same goals. The managers have to concern about the stereo-copying. The group structure needs to be accepted by the members.
Managers have to understand the conformity, social loafing, cohesiveness and the status. They have to understand who and what holds the status when interacting with each other.
1. Set Objectives Begin by setting a goal for team. What are its objectives, and why has it been set up? Create a team charter to clarify these objectives and identify the resources that the team can call upon. Get these objectives agreed with senior managers in the organization, and by the managers of the departments affected by this new team.
2. Define Roles Once managers have an idea of what managers want to achieve for the team, they can identify the roles that they need to fill, and the types of people managers want in those roles. (Bear in mind, however, that managers may need to select the team members based on who’s available at the time. )
3. Select the Right Team Members When defining roles, managers always think about select the right team members. It’s also important to give people the opportunity to talk through how they see things. Be really clear about what a manager can decide as a team, and what has already been agreed by more senior people.
4. Consider Resources and Logistics It seems obvious, but new teams need access to all normal, basic resources, and it’s worth making sure managers have thought about everything that they need to organize.
5. Establish Ways of Working With a new team, managers can’t make any assumptions about the processes that the team will use to meet its objectives. Instead, managers need guidelines in place that explain how the team will work together.
6. Take” the easy option” Don’t be tempted to take “ the easy option” when it comes to team selection – use the best people available, even if they don’t necessarily agree with a manager’s own views or his or her ways of working.
7. Motivate group member Although having shared goals and objectives will help motivate people, managers likely need to motivate them in other ways too, especially if they were reluctant to join the team.
8. Develop the communication skills Developing the communication skills among members may help the managers to reduce the inaccuracies, misunderstandings and inefficiencies. Managers have to be sensitive about the different and unique skills of all members because these types of team are a hybrid team. While creating a cross functional team managers have to manage the team very carefully because members are hear are from different functional sectors of the same organization but directing towards the same goals.
3. Discuss how each component of the group performance/satisfaction model might affect these team? Answer: Some groups are more successful than other group. Some groups are not.
Some groups can achieve high levels of performance and high levels of member satisfaction but some groups can’t. This is depends on some variables. Besides this there are some major factors that determine group performance and satisfaction. This is called group performance model. Performance/satisfaction model External conditions imposed on the group: External condition is the first component of group performance satisfaction model. A group is affected by the external conditions imposed on it. There are many external factors or conditions that are imposed on the organizational group.
There are many external conditions which are to be followed by a group in terms of norms, rules of the organization etc. The external conditions are as follows: Organization Strategy, Authority Structures, Formal Regulations, Organizational Resources, Human Resource Selection Process, Performance Evaluation and Reward System, Organizational Culture Group Member Resource: Group performance depends upon the group members resources. Group members resources comprise of mainly two factors: (a) Ability: Group performance can be predicted by evaluating the task assigned and Intellectual abilities of the members of the group.
Ability includes knowledge, skills, Intellectual ability, physical ability etc. (b) Personality Characteristics: There has been a research on the relationship between personality trait, group attitudes and their behavior. Personality with positive characteristics motivates other group members. Personality with negative characteristics such as dominance and authoritarianism leads to adverse effect on group performance. Group Structure: When the external conditions are imposed with the disturbance of group member, the group structure also gets disturbed.
Group structure means that how the group is designed or formed. Group structure includes size of the group, roles, leadership, norms, etc. (a) Roles: behavior patterns expected of someone occupying a given position in a social unit. Role means the work to be done by an individual. Role is further classified as: (1) Role Identity. (2) Role Expectancy. (3) Role Ambiguity (confusion) (b)Norms: Standards or expectations that are accepted and shared by a group’s members. Norms are the rules which have been set in the group.
Every group has its own fixed norms whether the group is formal or informal. (C) Leadership: Leadership role in group is one of the most important structural characteristics. Almost every work group has a formal leader. He is the principle representative of the group and formally influences the activities of a group. Example: Departmental manager, supervisor, foreman etc. Group Process: Group process is very important. Once the group members, resources and the structure have been reorganized, the group process takes place.
Group process refers to the communication pattern used by the members of the group for information exchange, group decision, conflict interaction etc. Group Task: The performance of the group not only depends upon the external conditions, group structure, and group member’s resources group process but also on the group task. Group task means the work or aim or objective given to the group. The group task may be Complicated or easier. Group task may be of two types: – (a) Complicated Group Task, (b) Routine Group Task.