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  • 1. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL 0976 – MANAGEMENT (IJM) OF 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME ISSN 0976-6502 (Print) ISSN 0976-6510 (Online) Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), pp. 93-101 © IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijm.asp Journal Impact Factor (2013): 6.9071 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com IJM ©IAEME CRITICAL ATTRIBUTES FOR SUCCESSFUL TEAMWORK IMPLEMENTATION WITHIN LEBANESE ORGANIZATIONS Khalil Ghazzawi Ph.D Chairman and Assistant Professor, Management Studies Dept., College of Business Administration, Rafik Hariri University, Mechref/ P.O.Box: 10- Damour/ Chouf 2010/ Lebanon Aya Bizri MBA El Bizri Trading Company, Saida, South Lebanon ABSTRACT Organizations are increasingly becoming dynamic and unstable. This evolution has given rise to greater reliance on teams as crucial elements in problem solving and in helping businesses move forward in their intended directions. However, the study of the teamwork within workplace is still in its infancy especially in the Arab countries where teams have been used just recently in many departments and many service functions such as sales, marketing and finance, as well as in the more traditional production functions. So, most organizations in the Arab world, including Lebanon, realize that effective teamwork is an important aspect for their success, but they found that the reality of working in teams is a big challenge as it presents many practical difficulties. Therefore, this study comes to measure what factors are considered critical attributes for the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. To do so, several attributes that are required for successful teamwork and are investigated throughout literature as critical elements for the teams to succeed within organizations were measured through a questionnaire that was distributed among employees working within Lebanese organizations. Results of data analysis implied that the most critical attributes that contribute to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations include providing informal, relaxed, and comfortable team atmosphere, empowering team members through granting them the responsibility to take actions to solve problems without waiting for direction from senior levels, encouraging team members to listen to their partners ideas and to group feelings, and finally rewarding team members for achieving intended team goals and objectives efficiently. Keywords: Teamwork, Team Management, Commitment, Leadership, Interpersonal Skills, Organizational Culture. 93
  • 2. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME Part I: The Theoretical Part 1. INTRODUCTION As the mostly dominant concerns of businesses in today’s economic climate focus on efficiency, quality and profitability, and since the concern in any harsh competitive market is minimizing costs to maximize profits managers found that the implementation of teamwork is the that best way to narrow the gap between quality and profitability. Moreover, increasing complexities have made solutions more complex and as a result individual working less efficient than the integration of several individual’s creativity (Clayton individual’s Becton, 2012). Therefore, in situations that require a combination of multiple skills, experiences, and . judgments, it is perceived that a team would achieve better results than would individuals working within limited job roles and responsibilities in organizations and businesses. In addition, existing environmental pressures including market forces, government regulations, consumer demands and many other issues that would have an impact are stressing the importance of implementing the concept of teamwork within organizations as an effective way to respond to such ting pressures (Gardner, 2012). The purpose of this research is to explore what factors are considered critical attributes for the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. To do so, a model is constructed that includes five attributes that are required for successful teamwork and are investigated throughout successful literature as critical elements for the teams to succeed within organizations (see figure 1). Commitment to team success (independet) Team member's interpersonal skills (independent) Commitment to leadership within organization (independent) Success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations (dependent variable) Open communicarion & positive feedback (independent) Organizational culture (independent) Figure 1. Model of the critical attributes contributing to successful teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations (Independent & dependent variables) 1.1. Problem Statement Organizations are increasingly becoming dynamic and unstable. This evolution has given rise to greater reliance on teams as crucial elements in problem solving and in helping businesses move helping forward in their intended directions. Moreover, teams are perceived as more beneficial than individuals working within limited job roles and responsibilities. However, such phenomenon has also been accompanied with increased complexity in terms of team composition, skills required, and n degree of risk involved. Several studies have been conducted throughout literature that tackled the issues of teaming within organizations. Moreover, many researchers have demonstrated through their resea research manager’s different propensities for implementing participative decision making, critical attributes 94
  • 3. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME required for effective teaming, and individual attitudes toward teaming in the presence of charecteristics considered crucial for effective team. Also, examples about multinational organization who succeeded in implementing teamwork within its workplace are numerous and frequently increasing over time. However, with the existence of all such studies and researches behavioral scientists are still working to determine exactly when teams will be most effective, what motivates team members, what factors best contribute to teamwork success within organizations, and so on. Thus, the study of the teamwork within workplace is still in its infancy especially in the Arab countries where teams have been used just recently in many departments and many service functions such as sales, marketing and finance, as well as in the more traditional production functions. So, most organizations in the Arab world, including Lebanon, realize that effective teamwork is an important aspect for their success, but they found that the reality of working in teams is a big challenge as it presents many practical difficulties. Therefore, this study comes to measure what factors are considered critical attributes for the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. 1.2. Research Questions The specific research question for this Paper: What factors are considered critical attributes for the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations? The study aims to test the following hypotheses: H10. Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between commitment to team success and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H1a. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between commitment to team success and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H20. Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between commitment to leadership within organization and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H2a. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between commitment to leadership within organization and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H30. Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between open communication and feedback within organization and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H3a. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between open communication and positive feedback within workplace and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H40. Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between team members’ interpersonal skills within workplace and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H4a. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between team members’ interpersonal skills within workplace and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. 95
  • 4. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME H50. Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between the nature of organizational culture and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. H5a. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between the nature of organizational culture and the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1. Evolution of Participative Management System With the phenomenon of frequently changing markets, highly developed technology and increased competition, companies have believed that corporate success no more solely relies on capital and technological improvements. Instead, they require implementing changes in the way employees are managed (Gerrida J. Oosthuizen, 1999). These changes can take the form of employees’ empowerment throughout the enterprise as several studies show that empowering people will result in highly responsive, flexible, and eventually more successful enterprise. This is what management literature calls “participative management”. Thus, the shift for implementing participative management within organizations or workplace has become inevitable and necessary at the same time. First, it is considered inevitable as the capacities for participation within the workplace is becoming wider, and as the employees at all levels are considered partners in the enterprise and involved in major decisions regarding productivity improvement and cost management (Gerrida J. Oosthuizen, 1999). Moreover, it is regarded necessary as the issues that employees are facing in the workplace today, especially with increased competition, are becoming more complicated and interdependent to be solved by few seniors in the authority (Gerrida J. Oosthuizen, 1999). Lately, literature widen its scope to study the relationship between participative management and the latest, organic and networked organizational forms, the fast changing information and communication technology, and noticeable citizen participation in organizational decision making. 2.2. Teamwork Theory within Workplace One structured pattern of participative management and the mostly implemented recently among huge businesses, high performance, and high-reliability organizations is known by “teamwork”. Teamwork can be simply defined as a state of unity achieved within a group of people working for a specific goal or benefit (K, 2012). Also, the concept of teamwork in business is essentially used to define the coordination and cooperation between the members of a partnership. 2.3. Attributes Required for Successful Teamwork According to Tarricone and Luca (Luca, 2002), successful team environment is build on a cooperation that exist between all team members creating an environment where they are all willing to share and participate for the sake of promoting and nurturing a positive and effective team environment (Luca, 2002). Thus, Tarricone and Luca pointed to several attributes that they condidered important for successful teamwork. Such attributes include: • • Commitment to team success and shared goals, where team members are motivated, involved and intend to accomplish at the highest level (Vries, 1999) Interdependence, where team members toghether can add to the work and organization far more than as individuals. Within a positive interdependent team environment, team members are capable of achieving their goals at the highest level, and they encourage each other to achieve, participate and learn (Johnson, 1999) 96
  • 5. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME • • • • Interpersonal skills, where team members express the ability to discuss issues openly with their fellows, to be honest, trustworthy, supportive and express respect and commitment to the team and its members (Critchley, 1986) Open communication and positive feedback, where managers within organization actively listen to the concerns and needs of team members and also admire and value their contribution and commitment. At the same time, team members must express willingness to provide and accept constructive criticism and to give true and valid feedback (Harris, 1996) Appropriate team composition, where team members are fully attentive of their specific team role and know what level is expected from them regarding their contribution to the team and the project (Wageman, 1997) Commitment to team process, leadership and accountability, where team members are required to be accountable for their contribution to the team and the project together. Moreover, team members must be aware of team processes, best practices and new ideas. Also, effective leadership is necessary for team success and this includes shared decision making and problem solving (Bradley, 1997) 2.4. Impacts of Implementing Teamwork to the organization Knoll Workplace Research suggests that implementing teamwork within organizations or enterprises result in major positive changes on the work and performance level of employees (team members). Such positive impacts include creating a united effort, ensuring fair distribution of work, reducing risks, subordinating personal interests to organizational interests and ensuring timely completion of any work with high quality and efficiency (Dr. Michael O’Neill, 2010). To add up, Cengage implied that some of the organization’s major benefits from the implementation of teamwork include improved quality of work life for employees, reduced absenteeism and turnover, increased innovation of team members, and improved organizational adaptability and flexibility to rapid changing markets and technologies (Cengage, 2006). Part II: The Practical Part 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Primary data is mainly collected through a questionnaire that is constructed and distributed among 200 employees working for Lebanese organizations to collect data about the five variables related to the success of team approach within organizations. Those variables are going to be included in the study to help in predicting the most critical attributes contributing for the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. The population of the study consists of all employees working for Lebanese organizations of different business approaches. The sampling method used in this research is non-probabilistic sampling, and convenience sampling is applied with a sample of size 200 represented by employees working in Lebanese companies from both genders, different ages, education, professions, job positions, and job experiences that apply the team concept, or employees who just have basic knowledge about teamwork and its significance within the organization. A total of 200 surveys were distributed among the companies. The response rate was 80% with 160 respondents. Several limitations were faced in the conduct of the paper. The first study limitation is that the time and number of respondents was insufficient to get more accurate results that can be generalized. Another limitation is that the entire model chooses to study only five independent dimensions that are considered critical for successful teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. So, the literature provided many other factors that are also considered essential for successful teamwork implementation but were not discussed due to limited time. 97
  • 6. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME 4. ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS 4.1. Reliability Test The Cronbach’s alpha test was implemented to represent the internal consistency of the scale and the sample that had been taken. The Cronbach alpha ranges from 0 to 1. The more the result is close to 1, then it will show higher level of internal consistency. And the more the results move toward the 0 level, then a lower level of internal consistency will be seen. In the following table, the Cronbach alpha resulted with a 0.94 value near 1 for the commitment to team success measure, 0.95 value for commitment to leadership, 0.96 value for open communication and positive feedback, 0.92 value for team members’ interpersonal skills, 0.97 value for organizational culture, and finally 0.84 value for successful teams implementation within Lebanese organizations. We can observe that all given Cronbach’s values are above 0.80 for all measures, which imply that the questionnaire being used is considered to be highly adequate due to the high level of internal consistency between both questions and scales. Table 1. The reliabilities of the measures Measure Cronbach's Alpha Commitment to Team Success (CTTS) 0.94 Commitment to Leadership within Organization (CTL) 0.95 Open Communication and Positive Feedback (OCAPF) 0.96 Team Members’ Interpersonal Skills (TMIS) 0.92 Organizational Culture (OC) 0.97 Successful Teams Implementation in Organizations (STI) 0.84 4.2. Comparing Means In this part, we compute first the means for all given six dimension that are the commitment to team success (CTTS), commitment to leadership within organization (CTL), open communication and positive feedback (OCAPF), team members’ interpersonal skills (TMIS), organizational culture (OC), and finally successful teams implementation in Lebanese organizations (STI). After that, we apply the mean test for every independent critical dimension in relation with the dependent dimension which is successful teams implementation in Lebanese organizations. After displaying the Anova tables of results, we analyze the reported levels of significance for each independent dimension to determine the most critical independent dimensions that could strongly contribute to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. As a conclusion from the mean test, we find that all five dimensions are considered to be significant with reported α<0.05, so all the five dimensions are considered to be general critical attributes that can strongly contribute to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations and that Lebanese organization must focus on ensuring the availability of all such critical attributes within their work environments to assure the success of the teaming concept among employees. The following table reveals the accepted hypotheses for this study. 98
  • 7. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME Table 2. Accepted hypotheses for the entire study Hypotheses Path Level of significance Results H1a CTTS STI 0.000** supported H2a CTL STI 0.023** Supported H3a OCAPF 0.000** Supported H4a TMIS 0.004** supported H5a OC 0.030** supported STI STI STI **p<0.05 4.3. Linear Regression (Stepwise Method) In this section, the linear regression test is applied and stepwise method is used in order to find out the significant critical independent success factors within each dimension that are considered accepted factors (with α<0.05) among the rest factors and that could contribute to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. The independent factors with reported level of significance α<0.05are considered to be accepted and will be used later in the simple regression analysis to find out the most critical success factors of highly significant relation with the dependent factor which is the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. The rest independent factors with reported levels of significance α>0.05 are considered to be rejected or excluded and can’t be used later in the simple regression analysis. From the obtained results we can see that the significant independent factors that will be tested in the simple regression analysis test are as following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Q5: Team atmosphere is an informal, relaxed, and comfortable (α= 0.022<0.05) Q6: Team atmosphere promote group cohesion (α= 0.005<0.05) Q10: Managers monitor team’s progress (α= 0.033<0.05) Q12: Team members are responsible to take actions to solve problems without waiting for direction (α= 0.002<0.05) Q13: Team members are accountable for their share of work (α= 0.045<0.05) Q19: Team members are open and truthful (α= 0.031<0.05) Q20: Team members listen to ideas and group feelings (α= 0.021<0.05) Q34: Team members are rewarded for achieving intended team goals and objectives efficiently (α= 0.037<0.05) 4.5. Simple Regression Analysis In this section, the accepted variables computed in the previous stepwise method will be tested through the simple regression analysis (enter method) to find out what are the most critical success attributes among the eight computed attributes that could have a strongly significant relation with the dependent variable which is the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations with reported level of significance α<0.05. Each accepted independent variable will be tested alone in relation with the dependent variable to figure out whether a significant relation exists. The following table represents the regression output and followed by interpretation. 99
  • 8. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME Table 3. Simple Regression output Independent variable Correlation coefficient R Partial rate of change R2 F-statistics Level of significance Q5 0.189 0.062 0.036 5.867 0.017 Q6 0.017 -0.005 0.000 0.046 0.830 Q10 0.005 0.002 0.000 0.004 0.950 Q12 0.241 0.078 0.058 9.709 0.002 Q13 0.048 0.015 0.002 0.364 0.547 Q19 0.103 0.031 0.011 1.684 0.196 Q20 0.165 0.049 0.027 4.428 0.037 Q34 0.180 0.056 0.033 5.308 0.023 After applying the simple regression analysis (enter method), the results implied that the following attributes are considered most critical ones that contribute to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations. Such attribute include: • Providing informal, relaxed, and comfortable team atmosphere • Empowering team members through granting them the responsibility to take actions to solve problems without waiting for direction from senior levels • Encouraging team members to listen to their partners ideas and to group feelings • Rewarding team members for achieving intended team goals and objectives efficiently Thus, the above approved attributes are among the most needed critical attributes to exist within Lebanese organizations that are already implementing teamwork concept within their work environment. Moreover, such attributes are among the most critical attributes to focus on when any Lebanese organization decides to implement teaming concept within its work environment regarding their importance to the contribution of successful teaming implementation process and assurance of long-term effective teams. 5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 5.1. Conclusion From the results of demographic data, it’s obvious that the majority of respondents are between the ages of 26-35 years and also the majority of them imply that their organizations implement teamwork upon necessity. However, when asked about their opinion about successful teamwork implementation within their organizations the results were positive and optimistic. This implies that the Lebanese employees perceive the importance of implementation of teaming approach within their organization and stress a need for it although their organizations are still not fully implementing the teaming approach as Lebanon’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is low, and as it remains a low risk and low change-tolerant culture despite the clear adoption of Western business practices. Also, the majority of respondents are still adult, and this makes them more welcome to any new restructuring within their organizations including the frequent implementation of teamwork that make them better off. Thus the Lebanese employees support the need for frequent implementation of teaming approach within their organizations and imply that the most critical attributes that contributes to the successful teamwork implementation and that managers must mainly focus on include providing informal, relaxed, and comfortable team atmosphere, empowering team members through granting them the responsibility to take actions to solve 100
  • 9. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 - 6510(Online), Volume 5, Issue 1, January (2014), © IAEME problems without waiting for direction from senior levels, encouraging team members to listen to their partners ideas and to group feelings, and rewarding team members for achieving intended team goals and objectives efficiently. 5.2. Recommendations for future research For Lebanese organizations to put the critical success factors for successful teamwork implementation in place, this will require them to undergo into wide changes in work and structure design, in management and leadership, and in resources available to teams. Moreover, Lebanese organizations must focus on improving and varying their reward system for employees and teams to include other nonmonetary rewards and recognition programs that can indeed motivate employees and increase their productivity and job satisfaction. So since middle and senior managers are the ones who have the most opportunity and authority to change these work design features, it is mostly serious that they be aware of what teams demand throughout the organization. Putting these critical factors in place gives the organization the greatest possible chance of getting the creativity, flexibility, and responsiveness that are the results of successful teamwork implementation. 5.3. Further Studies The future direction of this study is to study the rest critical factors that contributes to the success of teamwork implementation within Lebanese organizations and that the study was not able to cover. Another future direction is to study how such critical factors must be implemented and what essential changes are required from the Lebanese organization to maintain a frequent successful teamwork implementation within its work environment. REFERENCES [1] Bradley, J. H. (1997). The effect of personality type on team performance. Journal of Management Development , 337-353. [2] Cengage, G. (2006). Teams and Teamwork. Encyclopedia of Management. [3] Critchley, B. &. (1986). Teambuilding: At what price and at whose cost? Gower Publishing Company Limited, University Press Cambridge. [4] Dr. Michael O’Neill, T. W. (2010). Implementing Integrated Work to Create a Dynamic Workplace. Knoll Workplace Research. [5] Gerrida J. Oosthuizen, A. S. (1999). Paricipative management in academic library services. Emerald. [6] Harris, P. &. (1996). Managing effectively through teams. Team Performance Management: An Internatinal Journal , 23-36. [7] Johnson, D. &. (1999). Learning Together and Alone: Cooperative, competative, and individualistic learning. Needham Heights: Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon. [8] K, S. (2012). Importance of Teamwork in Business. Retrieved from Buzzle.com: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/importance-of-teamwork-in-business.html [9] Luca, J. &. (2002). Successful teamwork: A case Study. pp. 640-646. [10] Vries, K. D. (1999). High-performance teams: Lessons from the Pygmies. Organizational Dynamics. (27), 66-77. [11] Wageman, R. (1997). Critical success factors for creating superb self-managing teams. Retrieved from Organizational Dynamics: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/participative-management.htm [12] J. Neelakanta Gugesh and Dr. S. Sheela Rani, “Influence of Culture in Knowledge Management on Virtual Team”, International Journal of Management (IJM), Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011, pp. 103 - 112, ISSN Print: 0976-6502, ISSN Online: 0976-6510. 101