Life Cycles of Ad Hoc Task Groups
Interim technical rept.
YALE UNIV NEW HAVEN CT SCHOOL OF ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
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This report covers the first of two successive studies. The main features of the life cycle model developed in this study are tested and refined in the second. Which provides a focused analysis of four groups. One tool frequently used to accomplish work in organizations is the ad hoc team--a group brought together specifically to do a particular project in a limited time period. Such teams must manage several demands simultaneously. In addition to generating the group product, team members must find appropriate ways to work together, deal with the expectations of people outside the team e.g. supervisors, clients, constituencies, and attend to deadlines. This research uses case histories of four naturally-occurring groups to examine how a group deals with its multiple agendas through its lifespan. Analysis revealed cyclical patterns in teams task progress, in their attention to outsiders, and in members interpersonal work relations. Although different teams handled these issues differently, and moved through the cycles at different speeds, they showed striking convergence in the way they alternated between periods of continuity and periods of change, and in the timing of major transitions. Implications are drawn for diagnosing and managing the problems ad hoc teams commonly encounter, particularly regarding movement through group work, equity among members, and contact between a team and its supervisor.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations