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Understanding Groups and Managing Work Teams

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…revise the chapter’s input on teams and teamwork on pages 243-257.  Particularly, take notice of figure 9.5 on page 251, which tells you of the factors relevant for effective teams, and of the heading ‘When are teams not the answer?’ on p. 257.  Then check out Twitter’s new approach to dealing with trolls. 

Beware, trolls!

Twitter is insane.  Who would have thought that getting people to communicate with 140 characters or less would get so many people on board.  But it does.  More and more people join in, and projections are for nearly 65 million users by 2018.  You can find news, opinion pieces, funnies, and access to individuals who might be much harder to reach otherwise. 

With such power also come great risks, and indeed, anonymity can also give rise to cowardly and malicious actions.  Far more than on other social networking platforms, abuse occurs on twitter – 88%, according to one study.  This is a big problem, not only for the abused users, but also, really, for the platform providers – Twitter.

So Twitter is now looking for a way to act, and this is the suggested strategy: you can create your own block-list, and, you can share it.  So if there is a troll out there who targets people from your company, your ethnic group, or your side of political views, you can now join efforts in blocking them.

This sounds a little bit like a “weeding” process when you garden: weeds have to constantly be pulled out, or poisoned, and they keep coming up as your plants grow.  Sounds like this new method will create shared goal for those affected by trolls.  But let’s look at this movement through the lens of groups and teams, and see what we can learn.

Some issues to notice and pay particular attention to here are…

  • Definitions of groups and teams
  • Types of teams
  • Teams effectiveness model
  • Team roles

Consider the following questions for discussion…


  1. Is this article describing a group or a team?  Why?
  2. What type of group or team would this be?  Note, the characteristics of more than one type would apply here.  What are they?
  3. If you look at the team effectiveness model, what elements would you say this global movement for combating trolling has got right?  And what is it missing?  How could it be better addressed?
  4. If this was a team, what roles can you already identify in it, and who is fulfilling those roles?