The emergence of the team idea can be traced back to the late 1920s and early 1930s with the now classic Hawthorne Studies.
These involved a series of research activities designed to examine in-depth what happened to a group of workers under various conditions. After much analysis, the researchers agreed that the most significant factor was the building of a sense of group identity, a feeling of social support and cohesion that came with increased worker interaction.
Elton Mayo(1933), one of the original researchers, pointed out certain critical conditions which were:
- The manager had a personal interest in each person’s achievements.
- The manager took pride in the record of the group.
- The manager helped the group work together to set its own conditions of work.
- The manager faithfully posted the feedback on performance.
- The group took pride in its own achievement and had the satisfaction of outsiders showing interest in what they did.
- The group did not feel they were being pressured to change.
- Before changes were made, the group was consulted.
- The group developed a sense of confidence and candour.
These research findings spurred companies to seriously consider the idea of grouping their employees into effective work teams and to this day they are still important considerations for human resource developers.
For more resources, see our Library topic Team Building.