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COM 520, Spring 2013 – Reading Guide Questions for February 27

For Sinclair:

1. In the introduction on pp. 611-612, what are her complaints about 1) the assumption that teams are inherently superior and 2) the way teams are (mis)used?  Have you experienced any of these in groups you’ve been part of, at work, school or elsewhere?

2. On p. 614, what’s her complaint about emphasizing decision making as the criteria for group effectiveness?  Do you agree?

3. On p. 616 she suggests that group membership can aid in avoiding work and on pp. 616-617 she suggests that group membership can lead to alienation.  What do you think?

4 On the bottom of 618 and the top of 619, she compares the way power is thought of under the “ideology of teams” with an alternative view.  Translate those two perspectives into English.  Which do you agree with?

5. From management’s point of view, what makes an orientation toward working in teams attractive? How about from the employees point of view?

6. In your own work (and school!) experience are you more motivated when working in teams or when working alone? Is the work product of a team better than the work product of someone working alone? How do you account for these answers?


For Hackman:

1. In the first part of the article, he offers six mistakes managers make, each of which is the failure to do something requisite to team success.  For each of the six:

a. Briefly explain the nature of the mistake.

b. Do you agree with his characterization of it as a mistake?

c. Have you seen this mistake happen in groups you’ve been part of (at work, school or elsewhere)?  What bad things have happened as a result?

2. In the next part of the article, he discusses two institutional barriers to doing these six requisite things for team success.  For each of the two:
a. Briefly describe the nature of the barrier.

b. Have you encountered this barrier in groups you’ve been part of?

3.  In the final section of the article, “Thinking Differently About Teams,” he argues that mangers should emphasize establishing conditions for successful teams over trying to micro-manage team success.   Does your experience as a team member bear this out? 
 

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