Executive SummaryThis report is focuses on two management factors: one, how to develop and manage an effective group team; two, how to manage diversity (i. e. s cross cultural work setting) in a productive way. The paper will look at the theories developed to examine and explain these two. Then the paper will focus on the practices that the Ambulance Services of New South Wales (ASNSW) has adopted in its efforts to ensure effective and productive management of teams, as well as diversity in the workplace. The goal is to evaluate the differences between theory and practice, and the reasons why such differences may be there.
Finally, in its recommendations, the report will offer ways to reconcile the two. ‘Reconciliation’ here may refer to a number of things, including how to integrate theory into practice, or an acknowledgement of how context may define practice in a way that deviates from theory. Perhaps implicit in this recommendation will be the question on which of the two (i. e. theory and practice) is the most important. IntroductionA ‘group’ basically refers to two or more people targeting a common goal.
But people do confuse ‘group’ with ‘team’. A ‘team’ is what a group evolves into under good management, i.e. two or more people who interact freely based on shared identity characterized by the same norms and objectives (Katzenbach & Smith, 1999; Craig, 2008). But this definition of a team is quite deceptive. The term ‘freely’ is not as simplistic as it sounds. Neither is achieving the shared norms and identities between different individuals. It takes effective management skills to successfully inject the feeling of shared goals and objectives upon which group members can interact ‘freely’, i.e.
become a ‘team’ (Leigh et al. , 2008). The difficulties that the contemporary organizations have in managing teams are compounded by the diverse and cross-cultural environment that both contemporary work and marketplaces have become. But this diversity cannot be avoided. Today, focus is nolonger on the immediate environment but the global platform. Many have recognized that the key to enhancing competitive advantage on that global platform is a diverse workforce. Many organizations have adopted some of the theories developed to explain how to best manage teams and diversity (Jackson, 2002; Bhatti, 2009; Judge & Boyle, 2010).
Indeed, a cross-cultural setting is harder to manage. Understanding every single culture may not be easy. But this is not to say that managing diversity is ‘impossible’. Some organizations have managed it. The answer lies on certain key factors, e.g. a flexible organizational structure. This paper will examine the theoretical aspects of diversity management, and the practices actually undertaken by the Ambulance Service of New South Wales (ASNSW). The conclusion/recommendation will present the steps that ASNSW still needs to take so as to maximize the potential of its teams and its diverse workforce.
ExpectationsDeveloping and Managing an Effective TeamThe key to effective management is to first of all acknowledge that there are potential problems likely to be faced in the process. As already alluded to, there are different types of teams based on the key objective: advice, production, project and action teams. These different types of teams face different challenges. Effective management then becomes successfully doing away with the challenges.