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How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight, Article Review Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1344

Article Review

The article “How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight” by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy and L. J. Bourgeois III is devoted to the problem of conflicts within management teams and its solution. The author’s statements are done on the basis of research which was carried out in management groups. The aim was to study the level of conflict involved in making strategic decisions and find out the reasons for this. In their article the authors demonstrate two kinds of teams. One of them manages to actively discuss the strategic issues without damaging relationships within a team. The other is characterized by high levels of conflicts and contest. So, the two kinds of teams were compared to define the best strategy of decision-making. Besides, the study emphasizes the role of emotions in business and shows the best way of them being used.

The authors offer six main tactics which enable to improve working relationships and make team collaboration more effective. Significant is that all six points have their purpose to separate substantive issues from personal interests, that is to base the debates on current problems of the company, but not mutual personal claims. According to the authors, “the challenge is to keep constructive conflict over issues from degenerating into disfunctional impersonal conflict, to encourage managers to argue without destroying their ability to work as a team” (403).

The first advice they give is to gather as much relevant objective information as possible. If the data is not enough, executives can waste time expressing their opinions that are more personal than acute information and can be easily evaluated in a subjective way. Facts, on the contrary, make people move to the central issues.

The second tactic is to work out multiple alternatives. First, it enables to relieve tension within a group by expanding the number of options and discussing them. Second, it enhances the sense of teamwork in a group. And finally, it provides the opportunity of combining elements of several options in a way that makes the decision more effective than any of the options taken alone. The authors even suggest that executives introduce options that they do not suggest.

Then, team workers should be able to create common goals. If the goals benefit all members of the team, then the debate is based upon the best way to reach that goal, but not mutual claims and contest. According to the authors of the article, “when team members are working toward a common goal, they are less likely to see themselves as individual winners and losers and are far more likely to perceive the opinions of others correctly and to learn from them” (407).

The article also focuses on the necessity of using humor while working in a team. It relieves tension and promotes collaborative and optimistic spirit within a group. Moreover, it makes members of the team more friendly and tactful to each other, enhancing creativity and mutual interest.  The authors state that humor “helps people distance themselves psychologically by putting those situations into a broader life context, often through the use of irony” (408).

The fifth important tactic is balancing the power structure in a management group. Here the authors again prove their point of view that in a team decision-making facts and good analysis are much more important than personality and politicking. Thus, the chief executive officer is the most powerful member of the team, but other managers should also possess power in the areas they are responsible for. It enables all team members to take part in decision-making process and produces the satisfying feeling of equity.

As for the last tactic, the authors of the article state the following: “Executives talk over an issue and try to reach consensus. If they can, the decision is made. If they can’t, the most relevant senior manager makes the decision, guided by input from the rest of the group” (410). Again, this statement proves that fairness is an absolutely necessary thing in a team work. Moreover, it shows that the aim is not to by all means force the consensus, but reach it in the most effective way.

Important is that the authors of the article do not mean to introduce the conflict in a management team as a negative one. They consider that conflicts may provide valuable information about current state of the company, a deeper understanding of the issue and a diversity of possible solutions. The point is that these conflicts should be constructive ones, so that they led to proper solutions and did not damage relationships within a management group.

It should be noted that there are many specialists that offer good advice on establishing good relationships within a management team leading to efficient decision-making process. Mostly the offered tactics are very similar that makes us be aware of their effectiveness. However, if compare the main points to the ones suggested by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy and L. J. Bourgeois III, we can find an interesting logic. In consists in the following: while the majority of specialists give the main aspects of efficient team management on the whole, the authors of this article offer specific practical techniques on this point. Nevertheless, they do not contradict each other, just the opposite, complement each other.

For instance, let’s take common tactics of team management offered by Rick Johnson. One of his main points is avoiding competition in the workplace. It seems that the authors of the article “How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight” meant almost the same talking about generation of multiple alternatives or creating common goals. The thing is that they are emphasizing not the purpose (no competition), but the method.

To add, Rick Johnson in his article “10 Tips to Create an Effective Management Team” shares the point of view of Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy and L. J. Bourgeois III on delegating responsibility, company parties, common goals, and so on. Thus, though all specialists study the issue of team management from different perspectives, they seem to agree on the main points.

The tactics offered by the authors can be very helpful to chief executives, as well as any other members of a management team. They enable to create friendly relationships within a group and provide efficient working debates. Moreover, the aim of the authors is to help team workers shift the focus from personal interests toward business goals creating the spirit of trust and respect when team members are able to express different opinions, change their minds and come to an appropriate decision.

As for me, having read the article, I managed to apply its main concepts to the real situation. I know a shoe-producing company where managers fail to organize an efficient work in a team, which results in low sales. I tried to analyze the way they cooperate using the offered article. So, it appeared that, first, there is no agreement on the business plan even for the following month. Second, there are no relationships among the team members beyond the work boundaries at all resulting in lack of trust about each other’s intentions. Then, there is no creativity and personal initiative at all. It seems to be the consequence of the chief executive officer’s autocracy. The CEO does not rely upon his team and tries to make the main decisions himself. All this leads to conflicts that do not contribute to a good team work.

In my opinion, a good team work should begin with a proper employment. So, one should employ people who best suit the goals of the company. After the staff is created, one should take measures to make the work effective. The tactics given in the article “How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight” by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy and L. J. Bourgeois III may be very useful, as they offer simple practical examples of effective collaboration within a working team.

References

Eisenhardt, M. Kathleen, Kahwajy, L. Jean and L. J. Bourgeois III. How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight. 1 Mar. 2009. <management.uta.edu/lavelle/New%20Folder/HowManagementTeamsCanFight.pdf >.

Johnson, Rick.  10 Tips to Create an Effective Management Team. 2009. 1 Mar. 2009. <http://ezinearticles.com/?10-Tips-to-Create-an-Effective-Management-Team&id=487349>.

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