The purpose of this study will be to investigate the impact of teamwork in Chemical Engineering Department in the Federal University of Technology, Niger State, Nigeria. In order to be sure of getting assistance in the course of the study, I contacted the Head of this department who gave me an assurance of help of any kind of information as well as resource that I may need during the study. In this particular study, both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used.
Debatably, overall performance of an organization depends on various factors which include; employee motivation, availability of funds, technology, competition, organization culture, and the human resources. Based on the various studies that have been undertaken by management scholars as well as practitioners, human resource is the most influential factor as far as organizational performance is concerned. Perhaps, one of the reasons why this is the case is that when the workforce work as a team in a given task, their output is much higher than when they work has individuals. Additionally, according to (Barker (1999), it has been noted that teamwork in organizations is very crucial as it purports various objectives such as quality improvement, cost reduction, reducing absenteeism, increasing the involvement of employees, conflict reduction, creating better flexibility and adaptability, as well as promoting creativity and innovation. Notably, there are various factors that influence effective performance of a team; and some of these factors include quality of communication, clear purpose, effective procedures and protocol, coordination, as well as mechanisms of resolving mechanism.
1.1 About the Chemical Engineering Department
The Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, Nigeria is a Nigerian Federal Government University that was founded in the early 1983, with an objective of enhancing the nation to attain self-reliance in Engineering, Science and Technology. This university comprise of various departments specializing in different fields. One of these departments is the Chemical Engineering Department which was established in 1986. The University has a clear leadership structure starting from the Vice-Chancellor at the top to the various Departmental Heads at the lower levels.
During its formative years, the University took the premises of Bosso Teachers College, which is currently the Bosso Campus. Since then, considerable improvements, increased infrastructural facilities and expansion have been made in order to provide a conducive learning environment. In order to ensure that the performance of the Chemical Engineering Department is general is not compromised; various committees have been established within this department in order to handle various functions. To be more precise, various teams have been established in this department in order to increase efficiency in management; hence, better performance. Since its establishment, the university in general and the Chemical Engineering Department in particular, has produced a good number of graduates, who have been proved to be more valuable in the market and highly demanded in the government as well as in the technological industry in general.
1.2 Problem statement
Undeniably, The Federal University of Technology operates like any other profit and non-profit making organization. It has its own organizational culture as well as organizational structure. Within the University, there are various departments such as the Chemical Engineering Department, operating in different fields. Additionally, different people in the various departments work together towards a common objective or goal; hence, teamwork is inevitable in this organization. Thus, the main aim of this study will be scrutinizing the effects of team working and the performance or rather success of the Chemical Engineering Department. Precisely, the study will be focusing on establishing whether teamwork is a sign, driver or catalyst of the Chemical Engineering Department.
1.3 Significance of the study
Notably, this study is very important from Chemical Engineering Department management’s point of view as well as for the workforce of this organization. From the management point of view, the study will illustrate the importance of teamwork and what should be done by the management in order to promote the culture of teamwork in this department. From the workforce’s point of view, the study will act as a means learning more on the benefits of working together as a team.
1.4 Objectives of the study
In this particular study, there are two main objectives that will be intended to be achieved. The first objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of teamwork in the Chemical Engineering Department; and the second objective is to examine or rather evaluate the performance of the Chemical Engineering Department in relation to teamwork performance.
1.5 Research Questions
In order to achieve the above objectives, the study will be aimed at answering the following specific questions.
a. How successive is team working in Chemical Engineering Department?
b. What is the relationship between team working and overall performance of Chemical Engineering Department?
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Theoretical rationale
According to Barker (1999), traditional work organization was exemplified by specialization and standardization. Basically, work was divided into various pieces starting preparation to support, in which individuals had to specialize in order to improve their efficiency. However, lately with the changing working environment this system seems not to work due to coordination challenges and inflexibilities. Therefore, there is need to implement a system that allow flexibility and which is less rigid. It is important to note that in this new system, teamwork is regarded as being a core element. A good number of studies have been previously undertaken by various individuals with an objective of determining the effect of teamwork on the performance of an organization. Anne (2008) argued that, a team has a spectacular effect on the performance of an organization. Additionally, a successful team plays a significant role in the performance of an organization. On the other hand, an efficient team might be the cause of superfluous failed delivery, disruption and strategic failure.
In this context, organizational performance can be defined as the tangible organizational output as compared to the intended output. According to European Foundation for the Improvement of living and Working Conditions (2007), organizational performance includes three major areas of organization results: financial performance, which covers the return on investments, return on assets and profits; product market performance, which covers market share and sales; and lastly, shareholder return, which includes economic value added and total shareholder return. On the other hand, there is no single definition of the term “teamwork”. However, Bacon & Blyton (2005) define teamwork as a group of workforce who have shared assignments and where the members of the team are permitted to mutually regulate the implementation of these shared assignments.
2.2 Importance of teamwork in relation to performance of the Department
Based on previous studies, it can be asserted that teamwork if very essential for the success of any organization. There are a number of benefits that can be achieved by both the organization and the workforce in general by participating in teamwork. One of the benefits that are associated with teamwork is distribution of the workload. When working as a team roles and responsibilities are distributed among the members. Through this kind of distribution, efficiency of individuals is enhanced based on the fact they will be focusing on a single activity which fosters specialization. Irrefutably, when individual efficiency increases organizational efficiency will also increase, which is one of the measures of a successful organization.
The other advantage of teamwork is that it promotes fast learning as well as building of relationship. When employees work as a team it makes it easier for them to learn on how they can more productive without much effort. Inyang (2001) asserts that, the knowledge and experience of older members of the team assists new members to take hold of new concepts quickly. Additionally, it proves to be an additional benefit for the team members in avoiding mistakes at work. Besides, teamwork has also been found to be essential in building relationships in an organization. According to Barker (1999), teamwork creates an environment for a continuous interaction between the team members as well as the management and the employees. When people work as a team, they are forced to share a lot of things including having meals together and having fun and humor together. A good number of human resource managers assert that this kind of sharing is very crucial because it creates some degree of understanding among the employees themselves as well as the employees and the management. Thus, with this kind of understanding favorable working environment is created which allows promotes better organizational performance.
The third benefit of teamwork as far as organizational performance is concerned is it enhances a healthy competition in addition to exploration of creativity. From the economics point of view, competition is one of the impetuses of better organizational performance. According Bacon & Blyton (2005), when organizations in the same industry compete with one another the quality of the products and services that are produced by individual organizations improves. Arguably, the same case applies in the context of teamwork in organizations. Basically, when individuals work as a team there is some degree of competition among the team members in trying to excel in their performance. However, in the process of competing they are also assisting one another in work related issues as well as individual problems. Moreover, in the process of competing among themselves, the employees will try to come up with better ways of doing their work. Notably, teamwork allows people to explore creativity through suggestions and advice which are important in generation of new ideas. To be more precise, Ajayi (2004) argued that teamwork assists employees to come up with new ideas and hence, the creativity in them. The overall outcome of this kind of competition is an improved organizational performance.
Lastly, teamwork fosters job satisfaction. According to studies that have been done on the field of human resource, job satisfaction is one of the factors that influence the efficiency and performance of an employee. When an employee is satisfied with the job, he/she will offer the best of himself/herself in the production process. Working as a team improves the performance of the workforce besides making the work enjoyable. It also acts as a means of creating a conducive environment for employee motivation. Studies have indicated that there is a link between job satisfaction and organizational performance. A satisfied employee will perform relatively better than an unsatisfied employee and this better performance can be reflected in the overall organizational performance. It is also argued that job satisfaction reduces employee turnover in organization; hence, reducing the costs of hiring people from time to time. This implies that the overall costs of an organization will be reduced or rather controlled at a given level, promoting cost effectiveness in the organization.
2.3 Limitations of teamwork
Although teamwork has been proved to have a considerable positive impact on the success of organizations in terms of their performance, it is worth mentioning that some studies have also indicated teamwork as having a negative impact on organizational performance. According to Anne (2008), disagreements are very common in teamwork. This may cause some considerable delays in making decisions and in some cases it may cause hard feeling among the team members. Thus, some significant time is lost in trying to reach an agreement in case of disagreements. Unquestionably, this will not be a good ingredient for the overall organizational performance. Moreover, although competition is a good element for improving the performance of individuals it can also be a limitation of better performance. Olukayode, Adekunle & Chris (2009) assert that, this will be the case if one or two members dominate and try to control the other team members. Based on these observations, there is need for the management of any organization to ensure that the right mechanisms have been implemented to avoid negative impacts of teamwork.
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