Human Resources (E)
Why Team Building Have Little to do With Building of a Team?
Why is team building as a concept so popular among certain structures within performance based companies? What is the real contribution to the organization? What about hidden agenda?
Posted: Sep 2011
Modern business management is full with all kind of management systems and techniques with the purpose of enhancement of company efficiency. The list is very long: performance management, review meetings, pay per performance, various informative systems etc. One of the management inventions that became popular in a recent decade is the concept of the team building.
The whole idea is to organize different events that are not directly related to business activities, but to activities that are supposed to improve relationship among the team. Those activities could be paintball, rafting, soccer, volleyball or some other social game. Sometimes the team building can be facilitated by some specialized agencies that conduct pre-tailored programs. Those programs are designed in manner of contest of teams in different activities such as assembly of wooden construction, passing different obstacles or achieving certain goals that can not be done individually.
The idea of team building have sense, since relation and cooperation among team members is very important for the whole organization and overall business performance. But what is the really impact of the team building? Does it really "build a team" or it is serving some other purposes. From my experience the team building has more negative than positive aspects. Here is the rationale.
Some people like it while some people don't. It may be joy for somebody to play soccer, but it may be something repelling for somebody else. Person who do not like soccer and do not practice it need to make the choice. One option is to join the game, get bored and risk the injury. Other option is to refuse to participate and to be excommunicated and declared non-team player. Obviously there is not much concern about human rights and freedom of choice. The employer reserve the right to force you to do just about anything, simply because the most of the employee job descriptions contain the clause "any other requirement" at the bottom of list of duties and obligations.
Does team building really bring people together? In most of the cases the answer is no. The event program may shuffle people in different groups during the formal part. But during the informal part people usually group with their usual acquaintances. If somebody does not like somebody, than the team building will not make them closer.
What about respect about the private time of employees? The events are usually organized during the weekends and after hours. That time is usually not paid to the employee. But even if it is paid, still it represents the waste of employee time at the expense of private life. The performance based organizations tends to get maximum from the people and they require many hours of overtime. Does the employee have the right to have a rest sometimes? Or it has to go for exhausting team building during the weekend and to be dead-tired on Monday?
Team building can have positive impact on making the people closer, but that mostly refer to completely new team. In that occasion the event can contribute to the organization. In other occasions team building create two distinct groups: people who like it and people who hate it. Should the purpose of team building be creating a single, monolith group, or splitting the people in different groups?
Team building is the activity that greatly contributes to fulfilling the portfolio of some groups. Human Resource definitely benefit from these event, because they exploit this subject on they behalf, claiming the so called benefits to the company that they allegedly contributed to. Team Building facilitating agencies also try to create the perception that their activity is that important for the everybody's interest. Their interest is so obvious, since it can be quantified through positive change on their accounts after every event.
But what is the real benefit of team building? Does it fulfill its original purpose or it serves to group or individual interests?