5.6 Key Takeaways, Knowledge Check and Key Terms

Key Takeaways

In this chapter, we learned that:

  • The supervisor-subordinate relationship includes much information exchange that usually benefits the subordinate. However, these relationships also have the potential to create important mentoring opportunities.
  • People engage in workplace relationships for several reasons: mentoring, information, power, and support. Methot’s further suggested that we engage in coworker relationships for trust, relational maintenance, and the ability to focus.
  • There are three different types of workplace relationships: information peer, collegial peer, and special peer. Information peers are coworkers we rely on for information about job tasks and the organization itself. Collegial peers are coworkers with whom we have moderate levels of trust and self-disclosure and more openness that is shared between two individuals. Special peers, on the other hand, are coworkers marked by high levels of trust and self-disclosure, like a “best friend” in the workplace.
  • Workplace relationships can transform into friendships. However, for a variety of reasons, individuals might no longer wish to be friends with a coworker. Patricia Sias and Tarra Perry describe three different ways that coworkers can disengage from coworker relationships in the workplace. First, individuals can engage in state-of-the-relationship talk with a coworker, or explain to a coworker that a workplace friendship is ending. Second, individuals can make the cost of maintaining the relationship higher than getting out of the relationship, which is called cost escalation. The final and most common disengagement strategy coworkers can use is depersonalization -when an individual stops all the interaction with a coworker that is not task-focused or simply to avoids the coworker.
  • Group members can occupy a number of roles. Depending on the situation and the composition of the team, these roles can serve a positive or negative function.
  • Toxic leadership can impair team effectiveness. Some behaviours can be ignored or managed with tact. Others constitute harassment and employees can find recourse for these inappropriate behaviours through organizational policies and Ontario laws.
  • Status can be defined as a person’s perceived level of importance or significance within a particular context. In a group, members with higher status are apt to command greater respect and possess more prestige and power than those with lower status within the group.
  • Group climate refers to the relatively enduring tone and quality of group interaction that is experienced similarly by group members. The degree of each type of cohesion affects the group’s climate. Groups can be very close socially but not perform well if they do not have an appropriate level of task cohesion. Groups that are too focused on the task can experience interpersonal conflict or a lack of motivation if the social cohesion, which helps enhance the feeling of interdependence, is lacking.
  • Cooperation occurs when each group member completes their assigned tasks. Collaboration occurs when everyone shares ideas and contributes to all aspects of the project.
  • There are many ways for groups to approach problem solving and decision-making. Strategies such as promoting common goals and assigning a “devil’s advocate” can help the group to keep conflict functional and focussed on producing positive solutions.
  • Groups can make better decisions than individuals because group members can contribute more knowledge and a diversity of perspectives. Challenges can also arise due to differences in perception.
  • Developing cultural intelligence skills can help individuals manage cultural differences when working in diverse teams.

Knowledge Check

Review your understanding of this chapter’s key concepts by taking the interactive quiz below.



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