Analysis Of Teamwork And Organisation Structure Management Essay

The objective of this paper is to analyze the impact of teamwork and role of specialization in improving overall performance for a television news organization, NewsX Media Private Limited (India). As researched by (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007: 545), this paper analyses theory and factors such as impact of variables like “communication and cohesiveness” on “team-interdependence and its effect on organization’s performance”. As studied by (Tyler1973; 383) this research evaluates the “role of specialization” in relation to the size and complexity of tasks, a study was done to “predict the structure of the organization” (cited from) (Child, 1973:pp168). This research paper finds that “teamworking improves the 4 dimensions of teamwork- namely attitudinal, behavioral, operational and financial” as researched by (Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008: pp127). Finally, a critical analysis of this study has drawn out managerial implications of the suggested recommendations.

Introduction

This study aims to analyze the influence of Organisational Behaviour characteristics- namely ‘Teamwork and Organisation Structure’ in evaluating the ‘Organization Performance’ of a Television News company.

For research, the study has selected a TV news company that performs the complex task of encoding the news message, simplifying the message for easy understanding by target audience and finally transmitting the message to the mass audience through satellite communications, requiring effective team-interplay. Though complex, the organization structure creates a framework for overall team coordination and hence, organization performance.

Research Setting

News X Media Private Limited, a television news company, operates on a 24*7 basis (i.e. 24 hours, 7 days a week). The English medium news channel offers a nation-wide coverage and has its headquarters in New Delhi, India. NewsX is a part of the service- oriented media industry. Company’s tag line is ‘Clarity in a Complex World’ and is a 7 years old company and youngest national news channel in India.

NewsX has 10,000 staff are spread across 25 state level bureaus experiencing an integrated national level coordination.

Explanation of teamwork in the process of broadcast

Behind the news broadcast, lies a chain of sub-teams that closely perform the mix of Editorial, Programming and Technical tasks.

News is first received by the ‘Assignment Desk’ or a ‘Reporter’. It is sent to the Production team for refinement & value addition (copy-editing and visual editing). News is now ready for broadcast and the ‘Bulletin Producer’, cues the news for transmission. The news is read out by the news anchor and broadcast process is completed. Each department is inter-dependent on the other until the final transmission takes place. This is how teams work with inter-dependence, in the complex organisation structures of a TV News channel, an example is depicted below:

Coordination

Reporter

Anchor

Production

Diagram 1: Teamwork in Broadcast Process

(Created by the author)

Data and Methods

Production

ReporterI served NewsX as a ‘Senior Correspondent’ for 5 years (out of the span of 7 years of my work-experience) and was at the forefront of mainstream business and financial news reporting. I hereby, aim to utilize the richness of my experience, to explore the data sources. They are, based on my personal observation (giving 4 real-life situations), and email interviews of carefully selected respondents (2 managers – Manager A is the Editor-in-Chief and Manager B is the Human Resource Manager for NewsX).

Teamworking

Decisions and actions of one team can have strong impact on performance of other teams and this occurs in situation where there are fewer managers to coordinate their activities. Hence, teams are required to have ‘strategic orientation to performance’ (Parker, et. al. 1997) cited in (Rollinson, 2008; pp343). Further, 2 literature reviews analyse the influence of teamworking on organizational performance. Hence, this observation, ‘influence of teamwork on organizational performance’, is applied to this research study.

Literature review

Modern-day organizations insist on teamworking and consider it as an effective managerial tool to monitor the flow of delegation of responsibility. In fact teamwork performance is widely been considered to contribute to corporate success and better work coordination (Certo, Lester, 2006; Cohen & Bailey, 1997) (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008).

Since early 1990s teamworking was only conceived to be a part of the idea of delegating responsibility by (Benders and Van Hootegem, 1999; De Sitter, et. al. 1997) (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008). But the conception of teamwork’s impact on organization performance caught attention with studies suggesting the existence of an important link of teamworking with organizational performance, as has been exhibited by Hammer and Champy 1993; Katzenbach and Smith 1993 (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008).

However, over the last decade, careful studies have been conducted to evaluate group performance at different levels of the organization, to access its influence on organisation performance (Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008). This study was conducted to explore the 4 inter-related dimensions of teamwork effectiveness, namely, attitudinal, behavioural, operational and financial. The study involved regression analysis technique, results confirmed a positive correlation between teamwork and organization performance (Delarue,Hootegem,Procter, Burridge, 2008). Further researches in this area accessing quality and labour productivity link showed that teamwork positively relates to organization performance as per Banker, et. al. (1996) & Tata and Prasad (2004)(as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008).

In the meanwhile, Cooke (1994) and Zwick (2004) (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008), found that teamwork had a signi¬cant impact on value added per employee. Teamwork also proved a positive predictor of ¬nancial performance in the studies undertaken by Batt (2001) (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008). Sudies that analysed the link with behavioural and attitudinal outcomes at the level of the employees found that worker outcomes improved (Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008). This was supported by studies conducted by Batt and Appelbaum (1995) (as cited in Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008) who found that the job design characteristics associated with self-managed teams’ signi¬cantly improve job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Research has been conducted by Godard’s (2001) survey of Canadenian teams, confirming that team based work improves the sense of belongingness, employee commitment and empowerment (Delarue, et. al: 2008).

This draws close to the existence of the element of team inter-dependence. Over the past decade, researchers have tried to explore meta-analytic results, suggesting that interdependence moderates the process and performance relationship in small groups Cohen and Bell (2003) (as cited in Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007), find that team-interdependence is essential for building knowledge about team effectiveness. This has been further supported by (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007) in a study based on the variables like communication and cohesion. The study ultimately captures the relation of the team performance to organization performance (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007). Hyatt and Ruddy (1997) and Medsker (1996) (as cited in Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007), found within-team communication was related to effective team performance. The impact of these mechanisms on performance depends on the level of team interdependence (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007). The study reveals that team interdependence is useful in arriving at optimal results and it is usually difficult for the top-management (CEOs) to manage a fragmented team (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007). The study reveals that team interdependence not only influence the performance within the teams, but also contributes directly to organizations performance. (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, Colbert, 2007).

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The four dimensions of teamwork- attitudinal, behavioural, operational and financial have been applied to test the impact on performance in a private broadcast news company. Further, the team interdependence factors based on communication and cohesion have been considered in this study.

Teamwork Application

This paper now applies the teamwork behaviour in real-life situations and email responses of managers to analyse its impact on overall organization performance

Situation 1: Display of coordinated reporting when serial terror blast struck New Delhi October 29, 2005 (17:29 IST).

I was entrusted by my Editor to cover the alarming situation. Amidst flesh, blood, hues and cries in the panic struck city, I along with my team of camera-crew, broadcast-crew and other staff rushed to the blast epicentre site- Sarojini Nagar Market, New Delhi to report the situation LIVE, at a time when live bombing was still audible.

Teamwork display: This situation required total coordination- both in the newsroom and on the blast site. The teams maintained calm and coordinated with each other to help the other team-members to perform. Firstly, the news reporter called up the Assignment desk and updated on the current situation. The Assignment desk passed the news to Production team and they refined the information to Studio anchor. In this situation, multiple tasks had to be conducted simultaneously. For example, while the reporter collected follow-up information on the situation; the cameraperson captured the fresh visuals from the site and uplinked them to the head-office for editing. Meanwhile, the assignment desk prompted the production desk to edit the ‘exclusive images’ and ensured their first on-AIR broadcast. Reporting teams from blast site, editorial and production teams in the newsroom, technical teams of camera and broadcast staff, all, worked in tandem resulting in total coordination and better performance.

It was 18 hours of non-stop reporting. Stress and fatigue begun to show up, but dedicated teams were not ready to give up. When the camera and broadcast teams felt stressed, as a responsible colleague, I motivated my team to act with courage because the need of the hour was dissemination of correct information within time-deadlines for news broadcast. Similarly, assignment teams and editorial teams performed their utmost to disseminate the information with valuable inputs in a presentable style, contributing full information to the masses within time-deadlines.

Situation 2: First International broadcast on global warming and climate change issue May 05, 2008 (15:00 IST).

NewsX marked its first international broadcast with the reportage on Global Carbon markets to be telecasted LIVE from Cologne to India. The task required technical synergies and editorial teams to work cohesively maintaining communication within the parameters of team-interdependence.

Teamwork display: Efficiency of team was tested at critical levels of technical and editorial competence. This also involved substantial financial stakes on routing international satellite and broadcast lines. The editorial and technical teams coordinated the information from the reporter on the site to get timely update of major decisions and carbon emission reduction targets being made. The reporter disseminated news information to assignment team, who passed on the news piece to Production department. The assignment desk also coordinated with broadcast teams to take LIVE news feeds from the site. The entire process was taking place between two time zones and hence the involvement of each department to perform was critical.

Upon the annual appraisal of the employees, comments on editorial performance on viewership patterns were requested from the Human Resource Department.

(Manager B, Email Interview; Dec 30, 2009) Interview: Human Resource Manager B: ‘Even a minor error at any step can not only affect the quality but could possibly derail the entire processes’ indicating high levels of interdependence between various department. For instance, the reporting of corporate results was wrongly interpreted by one of our staff. Misreporting, not only dented our corporate image, but also, disappointed the company. As they were our major advertisers, we lost a contract worth £12,500. So, I believe, these interdependences are fostered by strong links of communication.’

Analysis

News coverage of Situation 1- Terror attack on the city- NewsX won ‘Best National News Channel Award 2005’ (Source: TAM Media Ranking:2005) for its undeterred reportage on the Serial Blast coverage. Improvement in television rating points raised employee morale and in turn translated into greater cohesiveness resulting in sustained performance. Team working fostered instant communication, fluidity of information and instant dissemination of news added to organisational performance. Hence it proves the hypothesis that team working positively affects attitudinal and behavioural factors.

Situation 2: Editorial and technical teams synergise on international reporting.

With effective team-coordination, the financial performance of the company rose by 30% and this in turn led to an overall salary hike of 10% in the year 2007-8(Annual Corporate Result:2008). This proves the analogy that team working positively impacts financial outcomes for the organisation as well as the team.

The synchronised team performance and cooperation in a demanding situation improved channel viewership by 89% (Source: Television Rating Point; TAM 2005) and the news channel bagged the Most Popular News Channel (Source: TAM Media Ranking: 2005) of the year award for its team coordination and editorial accuracy.

Hence, it is concluded that teamwork positively affects attitudinal and behavioural factors. Team interdependence based on cohesiveness and communication rises. Moreover, quality of broadcast also improved due to better news management skills that employees adopted due to inter-department coordination. Here is an electronically preserved news story link of LIVE television broadcast that reflects quality of performance. (Link 1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G21hcmOCzRw

Interview: H R Manager B:

Analysis: Employee performance evaluation by the HR team of NewsX, stressed on coordination to achieve success in news broadcast. Hence, it can be inferred that a minor communication lapse on part of Reporting or Assignment desk to communicate to and accurately interpret and transfer correct information at the exact time can spell disaster. Similarly, if a news anchor has not been briefed by the reporter, his/her conviction in articulation will suffer. Hence, for success, teams must accurately communicate own responsibility. This leads to the understanding that teamwork impacts operational and financial outcomes, else NewsX could have avoided the corporate sponsor from pulling out.

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Hence the above analysis leads to the finding that better organizational performance is a result of greater team inter-dependence with better communication and cohesiveness and team working.

ORGANISATION STRUCTURE

Structure of an organization forms the core foundation over which task, duty and accountability are coordinated and controlled in order to achieve the organizations goals. An organizational structure may be represented in form of chart depicting the flow of duties and responsibilities. This part of the paper analyzes the importance of organization structure based on the seven dimensions of an organization structure and implication of one of the dimension – namely ‘specialization on organizational performance’.

This part of the paper depicts the organization chart of NewsX and explains the Organisation structure.

Organisation Chart of NewsX (created by the author)

PUBLIC RELATIONS

LEGAL

NEWS ROOM HEAD

EDITORIAL HEAD

MANAGEMENT

MARKETING

EDITOR IN CHIEF

CEO

HUMAN RESOURCES

FINANCE

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

AD-SALES

ADVERTISING

EDITORIAL REPORTING-ASSIGNMENT COPY-DESK

PROGRAMMING

ONLINE

TECHNICAL

STUDIO

CAMERA BROADCAST MAKE-UP

LIGHT ARTIST

INNOVATION

New Department

Description of Organisation structure

The Editorial team follows the hierarchy from the Editor-in Chief, News-room Head who supervises sub-editorial teams such as- National Desk, International Desk, Business Desk, Sports Desk, Entertainment Desk and State Bureau Desk. Each team consists of a team editor and Senior/Junior/Trainee correspondents under them. Around the editorial team, the other teams revolve. The task of the editorial team is to gather news, provide breaking news, provide exclusive news stories, and follow up on ‘impact creating’ news topics and monitor the news flow as it happens. They manage news by creating public opinion.

The Production team comprises of the News bulletin producers and Programme managers. Their task is to closely monitor the ON AIR content, prioritize and create news headlines every 30 minutes. The programming teams are entrusted with the task of producing news programmes and feature stories.

The Technical team comprises of the Video Cameramen team, Video Editors, Satellite and Broadcast Team, Master Control Team. While the camera team is entrusted with the task of camera recording and video shooting, the video-editors edit the video story adding the voice-over and background music.

Other teams comprising the corporate structure are- the advertising and marketing team, online and web casting team, legal department, finance department and human resource departments and employee grievance team.

Hence, the 24*7 news broadcast depends on cycle of inter-departmental coordination, respecting the overall organization structure.

Literature review

Structure of the organization plays a key role in determining organisational performance in that it formally divides the task of the whole organisation into manageable sub-tasks and allocates them to organisational units who are held responsible for their completion (Rollinson, 2008; pp 502).

Many studies have been conducted for the understanding of organisation structure and its impact on organisational performance. Some of the researches reveal that size of the organization itself influences the bureaucratic form of its structure (Weber, 1958). While, some other studies show that size affects other variables like decision-making and social control to influence the organization structure (Pugh, 1969). Some studies have given importance to task and technology rather than size, to influence the organization structure (Woodward, 1965), Thompson (1967) (as cited in Child, 1973).

Research by Hall (1972) (as cited in Child, 1973), considers that size, along with technological and environmental factors is a better predictor of organization structure. The study has taken into consideration the research by Hage and Aiken (1970) (as cited in Child,1973) that revealed that complexity in an organization has a high level of bearing in defining roles, procedures and rules and that complexity directly leads to formalization.

To understand the relevance of factors that predict the structure of an organisation, John Child (1973) conducted a research to examine the importance of size of an organization in predicting the organization structure. The study also analyzes the extent to which complexity of the organization determines its organization structure. But results generated upon regression analysis and variable comparison reveals that, increasing size of organization is expected to lead to increased specialization (Child, 1973).

Childs’s study has been supported by the study conducted by Tyler (1973) that establishes the role of specialization in understanding the organization structure.

In order to address the ambiguities present in the past researches over the meaning of specialization, Tyler (1973) divided the study of specialization under personal specialization and task specialization. While Tyler (1973) established that while task specialization was an organizational phenomenon, person specialization was a social process.

Routine work, where task environment is extremely predictable, will encourage interchangeability, erode power and discretion of the workflow as it is associated with low role variety. However, (Friedmann, 1956) (as cited in Tyler, 1973) observed that work done by a specialized worker on a fragmentary task is superior in quality than that by a non-specialist.

Further, the concept of specialization along with the variable-size of the organization is applied to a private TV news channel to find out its impact on overall organisational performance by a case study. In that, it explores how specialisation can foster organisation performance in a medium-sized organisation.

Application

Simplicity in reporting, well defined chain of command clearly bearing in mind the importance of specialization of the employee with effective communication (both by technology and behaviour) can make things simpler for an organization to work, no matter how complex its structure might be.

Armed with the findings of Child (1973) and Tyler (1973) I proceed to delve into the organization structure dimension- namely specialization for NewsX, a medium sized news broadcast company.

Real life situations and email response are used as tools to access the impact of organisation structure on organisation performance, by the way of specialization in handling complex tasks.

Situation 1: Focused series of reportage on ‘the strike of global financial crisis and its after-effects ‘September 15, 2008 (07:00 IST)

After the strike of the financial crisis in September 2008, the focus of daily news and views analysis shifted to extensive follow-up on the ‘Business and Finance sector’. With the view to concentrate on improved quality of news and detailed information some structural changes were felt to be done. NewsX dedicated a team of specialist reporters and business experts to handle prime time business news programmes stressing on cross-sectoral and global impact study of events as they happened. One dedicated team of reporters was deputed at important financial news sources- like- Ministry of Finance, Government of India; Industry hubs- FICCI, CII.

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Situation 2: Creation of innovations department to monitor specialization- a change in the organization structure.

Upon news space popularity survey, market intelligence reports suggested info-tainment (information and entertainment) was recognised to be a powerful method to capture the minds of the masses. Change in news format not only meant a change in scripting, but all together a new thinking that gives a fresh perspective to making editorial much more popular and precise.

The market research data prompted the decision makers at NewsX to create an ‘Innovations Department’. Their views are expressed:

Manager A, Email Interview, Dec 17, 2009

‘I think a clearly laid out policy about inter-departmental coordination, regular interaction among teams of different departments, clarity among department heads about their roles and fortnightly stock taking could be some of the plausible methods of enhancing efficiency.

Manager B, Email Interview Dec 30, 2009

‘Time and budget constraints may force news organizations to deploy non-specialists. That would slow down news collection because of the absence of specialist beat reporters….’ [Hence, the decision to introduce a new department, to closely monitor the other departments].’ For success, one needs to follow and respect hierarchy.’

Action Taken by the ‘Innovations Department’: NewsX underwent a completely new-look that not only changed celluloid, montage and on-AIR screen format, but also the thrust and presentation of the news content was altered. News Presenters and Correspondents underwent changes with hairstyles, outfit and presentation styles. Presentation skill workshops were initiated to impart formal training to improve diction, speech, voice modulation and on-AIR styles of taking and responding to interviews. International standards of Broadcast Journalism with strict quality monitoring and a double-preview of broadcast content were implemented.

Analysis

Situation 1: Dedicating a carefully chosen team with specialist knowledge in the financial knowledge area, with effective team coordination, resulted in improvement in both team and organization performance. Extensive emphasis on business and finance news segments trained the teams to deliver news even before competing channels did. Dedicated reporters developed industry contacts and were successful in bringing out the inside information with speed and accuracy.

Also, with increase in team-size, dedicated members could concentrate on their news stories. Hence, fire-fighting was avoided and better clarity started setting in.

Such efforts translated into Television Rating Points (Viewership) of the news channel to improve by 56 %( TAM Data: December 2008). The corporate advertisement revenues also improved consistently.   All this is an achievement of coordinated team effort, one of the most valued concepts of management.

Situation 2: The innovations department sources various data banks and conducted careful trend analysis of the changing tastes of the viewers. Changes in programming trend led to huge popularity of 30 minutes shows like ‘Sailing Meltdown’ and programmes on ‘Money Matters’, ‘Managing Personal Finance’.

The innovations team conducted meeting with each of the departments every Friday and briefed on the news show focus for the coming week based on upcoming events and market intelligence data.

Inter-department coordination was realized to become much easier for programming and editorial teams. Better communication and overall coordination were realized.

Careful monitoring of on-air content, fresh look of the channel, deployment of specialist teams to follow up on inside stories, exclusive stories and better coverage of ‘news story of the day’ resulted in improvement of programme quality. Channel output rapidly expanded. Within 3 months, company’s advertisement revenues improved by 40 % (Corporate Report: 2009). Market share price of the company bounced 32% (Corporate Report: 2009) and sustained to notch the market leadership position.

Conclusion

From the research conducted over the private TV news channel, it can be inferred that “team working has positively impacted its 4 dimensions, namely attitudinal, behavioural, operational and financial”, as proven by (Delarue, Hootegem, Procter, Burridge, 2008: pp127). It has been realized that importance of team interdependence by the way of “cohesion and communication positively affects team and organization performance” as investigated by (Tyler, 1973; pp383). It can be concluded that teamwork and organization performance have resulted in better coordination and hence quality performance of the team improves organization performance. Team working has shown a positive impact on all the dimensions of performance namely- attitudinal, behavioural, operational and financial. Team inter-dependence improves organisation performance, with cohesion and communication.

Hence, it can be inferred that with specialization and change in size of organization structure, organizational performance improves positively. As studied by (Tyler1973; 383) this case-study finds positive link with “role of specialization” with reference to the size and complexity of tasks “predict the structure of the organization” (cited from) (Child, 1973:pp168).

Finally, this study has established that results obtained linking teamwork to organisational performance by (Delarue, Hootegem, Procter and Burridge, 2008), (Barrick, Bradley, Kristof-Brown, and Colbert, 2007) and the study conducted by Child, (1972) and Tyler (1973), linking organization structure and specialization to improvement in organizational performance are proved to stand true to the analysis.

Limitations of the study

This study has evaluated the inter-department coordination in a TV news channel with greater emphasis on editorial, production and broadcast teams. However, inter- team coordination between the corporate management and editorial staff can open up future study areas based on the optimum resource allocation vs. editorial accuracy dilemma. Pressure to perform at times makes management and thus team workers (reporters), rely on news sensationalism, excessive dependence on highlighting crimes and scandals over stories based on development economics and social impact.

Internal rivalry and the urge to seats of higher visibility of the glamour element in the media world have at times resulted in lack of transparency in organizational proceedings, favouritism, and ethical compromises. Usually these still remain unregulated issues and develop strength through the informal chains in the organization.

Recommendations

The above analysis evolves the accountability factor in teamwork functioning. Hence it opens up a new dimension of team-work study that when practiced, may result in better team and organization performance.

For accessing and training individuals, use of Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) test may be effective and its application can be considered.

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