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Potential benefits and problems of homogeneity

In an early review Richard Hoffman(1959) reviewed the amount of similarity or homogeneity in the personalities of two problem fixing groups, composed of university students, and exactly how this affected the product quality and acceptance of solutions to two different problems. He concluded that the degree of homogeneity of personality of the people of the communities had a primary bearing on the potency of the groups in producing answers to problems. His results recommended distinctions could be used the quality of decision making, problem handling and creativity of solutions found between Homogeneous and Nonhomogeneous organizations.

Since Hoffman's review there has been a substantial amount of research undertaken in to the structure and composition of different types of teams and how this relates to performance. In such a assignment we will concentrate on two team types, the normal work team and the most notable management team in organisations and evaluate what impact homogeneity has in terms of potential benefits and problems. In addition, we will look at what is designed by homogeneity in relation to team membership, specifically homogeneity in terms of the demographic characteristics of associates, and homogeneity in conditions of the personality characteristics or cognitive thinking varieties of team members.

We will take into account environmentally friendly and organisational framework in which teams operate and exactly how this might impact team composition in conditions of higher or less homogeneity. Finally the nature of the organisation itself, in terms of the amount of diversification in its business structure will be looked at and how this might influence the scope of top management team homogeneity, and exactly how, in turn, this may lead to differing degrees of preference for several types of business strategy.


2. 1 Clint Bowers(2000) at the College or university of Central Florida conducted a study to find out if homogeneous teams, in terms of gender, potential level and personality achieved higher degrees of performance than groups which were heterogeneous on these features. His article identifies two theories of homogeneous results. Similarity theory argues that homogeneous groups will tend to be more productive due to mutual attraction shared by associates of similar demographics. Heterogeneous categories, on the other side, are expected to be less fruitful because of inherent tensions between associates. The next theory, Collateral theory opposes this however, and predicts that team performance is increased by the rivalling tensions that arise between dissimilar individuals within an organization. Bowers argued, however, that predictors of the consequences of homogeneity were related more to the type of the team job. Jobs which require higher degrees of coordination and teamwork were better handled by homogeneous clubs, whilst jobs which required the diffusion of a wide range of information were more suitable for heterogeneous groups.

2. 2 Corfman(1995) debated the value of member homogeneity to the quality of output of target groups. Focus groupings have been progressively more found in organisations as a marketing tool. His research centered on two types of homogeneity that have been seen to make a difference factors in the degree of self-disclosure exhibited by target groups, which in turn, driven their quality of result. Corfman first considered Exogenous homogeneity where similarity in such characteristics as gender, ethnicity, sociable class, religious beliefs, personality, attitudes, values and time were thought to affect group cohesiveness and improve several areas of group interaction. The evidence mentioned that group users are more attracted to each other and, thus, become more cohesive when they agree with the fact in their behaviour, have similar principles, abilities and viewpoints. Corfman also considered Issue homogeneity which implied similarity in response to the topic which was the focus of the group, e. g. , product usage, preference, frame of mind. Corfman concluded that the advantages of higher cohesiveness that derive from homogeneity in attitudes, opinions and principles, together with moderate levels of concern homogeneity, would increase the quality of member interaction and encourage self applied disclosure. However, Corfman also concluded that when the topic was hypersensitive, it was important to acquire high levels of issue homogeneity. Hypersensitive concern related factors affected willingness to go over a particular concern openly. However, his results also recommended that homogeneity may well not be so important when this issue under consideration by a emphasis group was of sufficient interest to the group, even though this issue was potentially delicate.

2. 3 During the last 2 decades the homogeneity or heterogeneity of top exec clubs have been of great interest to both educational research workers and practising managers. Questions such as, "What will the decision-making process appear to be in homogeneous clubs and heterogeneous clubs? What influences the type of discord and debate in the tactical decision making process? What contributes to "better" decisions, and possibly better organisational performance-homogeneity or heterogeneity?"

2. 4 Schneider(1983) detailed the Attraction-Selection-Attrition(ASA) framework in top management teams (TMT). This argues that different kinds of organisations appeal to, select and keep different kinds of individuals. The ASA framework is based on the premise that individuals who are of a similar type will be attracted not and then jobs, but also to organisations of a particular sort. As time passes, organisations attract, choose and retain an extremely homogeneous band of employees who talk about common backgrounds, characteristics and orientations. The similarity- attraction basic principle asserts that similarity in behaviour and characteristics enhances interpersonal attraction and need to work together. These dynamics are therefore also likely to affect the selection and retention of TMT associates. To the scope that organisations utilize more and more similar people, the ensuing homogeneity is argued by Schneider to limit the organisational capacity to deal with complicated and heterogeneous environments preventing organisational change and adaptation. This may assistance to explain the exemplory case of IBM who were popular for a predominance of marketing backgrounds in their TMT and became hugely successful in manufacturing and selling large mainframe computers, but who have been later unable to see the potential in the desktop pc.

2. 5 Nielsen(2009) explains demographic characteristics of educational background, prior industry experience, nationality and international experience as getting the potential to significantly influence executive cognitions and mindsets and provide as a basis for interpersonal identification and categorisation. She advances several hypotheses to clarify why TMT's look just how they certainly. One hypothesis says that the bigger the degree of homogeneity in the TMT, the higher the similarity between a recently determined member and all of those other TMT in nationality, international experience, educational record and industry experience. She further argues that if companies are facing low tactical complexity, they are also more likely to preserve homogeneous TMT's. In such situations, there is absolutely no conflict between the internal social mental techniques and the external organisational proper requirements. However, because of increasing globalisation faced by companies, and the opening of turbulent emergent markets, the degree of strategic intricacy is increasing, which arguably calls for better heterogeneity in the composition of the TMT. Two further hypotheses state that the level of international diversification in a firm is likely to reduce the trend of TMT's to choose new users who are similar in terms of nationality and international experience. Industry dynamism will probably reduce the trend of TMT's to choose new users who are similar in terms of educational backdrop and industrial experience. Alternatively Nielsen argues that industry munificence will probably promote homogeneity in TMT's. Munificence is thought as the level to which a firm's environment facilitates sustained growth. Industry conditions that allow organisational growth help buffer companies from external hazards and invite them to create slack resources. In such conditions, TMT's operate with less constraint and, because of this, are exposed to less pressure to make radical strategic changes. Because of this, homogeneity in TMT's in such an environment may be preferred.

2. 6 Gallen(2009) examines TMT composition by reference to cognitive thinking styles and proposes this as a far more appealing way of explaining team homogeneity or heterogeneity than the demographic characteristics of Nielsen above. Gallen in a study of ten TMT's in the spa industry, analysed the cognitive design of 58 professionals using the Myers Briggs Type Sign (MBTI) and recommended that one groupings of cognitive styles led to preferences for different kinds of generic business strategy, defender, prospector and analyser. Gallen proposes that TMT's made-up, for example, of comprehensive and factual sensing-thinking types, under the MBTI categorisation, will adopt a logical, useful, analytical procedure and will view a defender strategy as more viable more often than other professionals. Such types would typically be drawn to production or finance areas, and defender organisations would typically be centralised with well identified authority, a stable set of products, competing primarily on the basis of price, quality, service and delivery. Sensing-thinking types are usually risk averse. Alternatively, Gallen proposes that TMT's consisting of intuitive-thinking type managers are more likely to view analyser strategy as a more viable strategy more regularly than other managers. Such types have the ability to handle broad, ill-defined macro-economic issues and seek a balance between stable and changing surroundings. New product development will be an important part of the strategy. Intuitive-feeling type managers are more likely to prefer flexible organisations which concentrate on the most standard personal and real human goals. The prospector strategy with an focus on new product development and decentralisation is much more likely to be preferred by TMT's made up of intuitive-feeling type professionals. Gallen proposes therefore that the cognitive composition of TMT's is particularly important. Strategic decision making can be better by increasing self-understanding and taking into account the degree of homogeneity in the team around particular thinking styles. Gallen identifies, for example, that in problem resolving situations all four of the Myers Briggs functions of sensing, intuition, thinking and feeling, are needed. If there are no feeling participants in the TMT, for example, the team should pay special focus on that element of decision making and remember to discuss, e. g. the HR effects with their decisions. Constructive use of dissimilarities, heterogeneity somewhat than homogeneity in TMT's may therefore help companies to find new means of doing business to endure, or excel in difficult market situations.

2. 7 An additional perspective on the preferred styles of team members, whether ordinary work groups or top management groups, can be attracted from the work of Meredith Belbin. Belbin determined nine roles that associates need to fulfil if the team is usually to be successful. They are the functions of; Co-ordinator, Shaper, Seed, Techie Specialist, Completer Finisher, Screen Evaluator, Source of information Investigator, Team Employee and Implementer. Obviously, not all teams are composed of exactly nine people with each member taking one role. Usually it is necessary for every member to load more than one role, however is not everyone will be able to play all the nine Belbin functions. The conclusion to be attracted from Belbin is the fact that teams need to find a balance amongst different types of assignments to be enjoyed. Therefore, if there is too much homogeneity in the team around a small amount of role types, this will probably result in problems in how the team functions. If a team is over-supplied for example, with Shapers and Implementers, but lacking in Plant life and Team-workers, it may mean that programs are produced and fleshed out quite quickly, but may be insufficiently creative or completely discussed going out of some associates feeling left out or uninvolved. Belbin is therefore someone who stresses the value of diversity rather than similarity or homogeneity for the successful working of different work teams.

2. 8 The task of Sara Keck and Michael Tushman(1993) looks at the composition of top management groups of their environmental and organisational framework. They claim that the longer the time of stableness in a team's environment, the less change in people, the greater the mean tenure of its participants, the higher is the producing homogeneity. Restructurings, environmental jolts, scientific discontinuities, and CEO successions are each associated with an increase of team change and heterogeneity. Whereas times of equilibrium are associated with low change and high homogeneity, organisations that endure dramatic environmental shifts have heterogeneous executive teams that screen both stableness and the capability for change. When surroundings transfer existing competencies and decision making functions may no longer match the new environmental conditions. TMT's have to move from routinised problem solving to more vigilant environmental scanning and problem resolving to cope with altered environmental constraints. Environmental jolts may be associated with changes in TMT structure and techniques. These reconfigured professional teams may be low in mean tenure plus more heterogeneous than prior teams.

2. 9 The task of Michel and Hambrick(1992) offers the dimension of the type of a firm's activities, how varied it is at its business structure, to how this, in turn, effects the homogeneity of the TMT in conditions old, tenure and backdrop. The magnitude of diversification determines the amount of integration needed across various business units, which, influences the ideal structure of its TMT. Michel and Hambrick suggest that a high level of interdependence tends to be associated with two important qualities in a high team, namely interpersonal cohesion, and a commercial wide operating knowledge foundation. Michel and Hambrick claim that greater sociable cohesion can be expected when there may be homogeneity in top team members around age, tenure and useful backgrounds. Homogeneity of practical backgrounds also contributes to cohesion by endowing team members with similar structures of research for problem fixing. Average team tenure and common useful backgrounds donate to the development of "common schemata" among team members and increase cohesion by providing a common premise for decision making. Michel and Hambrick further argue that interdependence between a firm's various sections increase its information processing requirements. A means of handling these requirements is through the data foot of the executives. In situations of high corporate interdependence, firms are more likely to emphasise functions which encourage synergy and cooperation among divisions. Top management, therefore, must possess knowledge of corporate-wide operating activities to exploit potential opportunities and a means of obtaining this is to ensure executives are developed through experience gained in a number of sections. Team homogeneity, measured by the number of executives with a firm-wide point of view, imbues them with the ability to minimise parochialism and offer the knowledge platform for negotiating, arbitrating and coordinating inter unit relationships.

2. 10 In an article by Smith et al(1994), the creators draw together a number of areas of research which claim that the composition of TMT's relates to organisational benefits. They refer to the upper echelons theory produced by Hambrick and Mason(1984) which expresses that upper-level professionals own an important impact on organisational outcomes as a result of decisions they are really empowered to make for the company. Since these managers make decisions steady with the cognitive platform, which is partly a function of their personal values and experience, their activities and prices can be linked to organisational outcomes. This has implications for the homogeneity or otherwise of the top team. Smith et al emphasise that the team's demography in conditions of amount of tenure and years of experience will probably influence team cohesion, and this cohesion subsequently affects performance. Progressively the entire team tenure produced steadiness and with increased stableness there would be reduced goal discord. On the other hand, team heterogeneity in, for example, steady conditions may lower performance because the team would be less cohesive and require more formal communication. They further argue the possibly beneficial aftereffect of increased homogeneity, through increasing tenure, on team process. That is, the more the team advances shared history along, the better they communicate and the more trust is developed among associates.

3. Conclusions

3. 1 In this particular assignment we have examined the nature of homogeneity in team membership and how this may lead to both benefits and problems for the team. Clubs are significantly common in organisations; there is less emphasis on functional boundaries and much more work is based on projects requiring type from people who have different knowledge and experience. Groups are often explained differently as activity forces, project organizations, focus communities, top management etc. They are generally not constant. As well as changes in customers, they change as time passes in conditions of how they approach their tasks and exactly how team members relate with each other. It is clear therefore that in deciding on the makeup of your team, things to consider of team homogeneity or otherwise can be significant for team performance.

3. 2 However, we have seen by reference to the research undertaken that team homogeneity can be evaluated or measured in different ways. Demographic characteristics tend to be chosen as a way of discovering similarities among associates. However, the advantages of selecting members predicated on their demographic homogeneity might not exactly accrue when there is not homogeneity along other proportions such as personality or thinking style.

3. 3 Potential benefits which might accrue from homogeneity in team account can be summarised as increased output stemming from group cohesion, discussion, mutual attraction, reduced goal turmoil, and the desire to work together. Regarding top management, homogeneity is pertinent to decision making and organisational results. However, the environmental and organisational context in which a top team operates is a significant factor. The actual advantages of top team homogeneity may be felt more where there's a stable external environment and low proper difficulty. Internally, a diversified but interdependent company may advantage more from top team homogeneity in conditions of cohesion and commercial knowledge base.

3. 4 Potential problems arising from team homogeneity may relate to problem solving skills, dissemination of a broad range of information, technology of new ideas, creative solutions or impressive thinking. Top management homogeneous teams may deal less well with abrupt environmental or industry shifts, instability or increasing proper complexity. Too much similarity in pondering styles may lead to a preference for several types of business strategy which may well not be as appropriate as other strategy alternatives.

3. 5 My overall bottom line is that the study undertaken up to now suggests that there isn't a clear edge or benefit accruing to homogeneous or heterogeneous team structure. You will discover problems and benefits which is often discovered for both, and regular membership selection should be determined by reference to the duty to be performed, the environmental and organisational context, and potential strategic impact.

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