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2Task Coordination Using Tannenbaum Model




Teams are usually designed to accomplish certain tasks as desired by a particular group of people or organization. The success of a team however is largely dependent on a number of issues. Of the important factors to be considered, task coordination is essential (Heathfield, 2012). Myer in this case is in the process of preparing a merger proposal in order to merge with David Jones Ltd. This presentation therefore takes the audience through the possible task coordination strategies that could be adopted by the two teams that have been mandated with preparing this merger proposal in order to make the team even more effective in their work. Various strategies on how this can be achieved with regard to the Tannenbaum (Input-Throughput-Output, I-T-O) Model are discussed at length in this presentation:

The Team Inputs

According to Tannenbaum, Beard, & Salas, 1992, this basically involves four major aspects; at least according to Tannenbaum Model. These aspects include Task Characteristics,
Work Structure, Individual Characteristics and Team Characteristics. Looking at the Blue Team, the critical tasks that are to be performed basically revolve around ensuring that the merger actually works. These specific tasks are determining how the shares of each of the two prospective merging companies (David Jones Ltd and Myer) would be valued with regard to the merger; determining the possibility of an equity swap or some other form of financial exchange between the two companies and establishing how capital would be raised in order that the balanced sheet for the merger remained absolutely healthy.

Considering the task at hand, it would be prudent that the two sub teams be freshly restructured so as to realize the effectiveness of this team. How then should they go about it? First of all, the grouping of particular specialists into sub teams was not a good idea if the team effectiveness is anything to go by. This simply means that a sub team ought to comprise of a specialist from each of the two specialties i.e. Anna (finance specialist) should have regrouped with Allan (a corporate executive) and then Adam (financial specialist) be paired with Amanda (a corporate executive). These are essentially what are referred to as the individual characteristics that are considered in team inputs. This kind of task coordination would ensure that ideas from different fields are shared so that to benefit virtually every decision made here (Tannenbaum, Beard, & Salas et al., 1992).

This consequentially would therefore mean that as a particular sub team works on a particular issue, they make sure that they exhaust every aspect of that issue without leaving a portion of it for other team members with the required expertise in that aspect to come and complete. For the case of the Blue Team, one of the restructured sub teams could prepare a projected balance sheet (of course with the help of a sub team member who is conversant with the financial aspects) and then the other member (a corporate executive) would complement by advising on how the projected balance sheet would impact on the operations of the merger.

The Throughput

The case study at hand seems to have concentrated so much on the skills and expertise of the team members. This should not necessarily true for the success of a team. This is essentially where team coordination comes in. I would propose the following flow of work for the Blue Team in order to make things flow effectively: Having been paired with Adam, Allan’s team could work on preparing the balance sheet for the new entity in strict consideration of the proposed merger’s health. Remember, this is just but a sub team; which means that the other sub team still has some responsibilities to take on. Amanda’s sub team on the other hand could put a lot of their focus into establishing workable procedures for the acquisition as well as the distribution of retail stock i.e. the supply chain.

During this entire process of coordination of tasks, intercommunication between these two sub teams is extremely necessary; otherwise there arise conflicts and duplication of tasks. These would out of doubt play a big part in deterring the success of this apparently enormous task that is to be accomplished.

In the course of their duties within the two weeks that they are scheduled to work therein, these four individuals (irrespective of their sub team belongings) have no other option other than to build a strong interpersonal relationships amongst themselves. Can you imagine a situation whereby people are working on one project yet they don’t literally communicate to one another due to the bad blood existing among them! This is definitely impractical if a team has to achieve its mandate.

The Team Outputs

Eventually the Blue Team has to accomplish certain goals at the end of this whole exercise. There would definitely have been a problem if the original sub team structure where executives were paired separately from the financial experts would have been adopted. Which one? The admirable output of a team is highly dependent on the rank barriers. In this case, it would definitely go without saying that there would have been a vertical flow of communication from the corporate executives (Allan and Amanda) to the financial experts (Anna and Adam) almost at all times. This may have hindered frankness amongst the team members hence creating unnecessary conflicts (Tannenbaum, Beard, & Salas et al., 1992). I therefore propose a horizontal form of communication amongst all team members so that there seems to be no rank barriers whatsoever. For task coordination, this is of great importance.


In conclusion therefore, when analyzing a team’s effectiveness in terms of the task at hand, it is not necessarily important to consider the skills alone on the part of the team members but it is critically important to ensure that the subtasks to be accomplished are properly coordinated and that there exists adequate and unobstructed channels of communication amongst the team members (McGregor, 1960). This usually goes a long way in encouraging total input on the side of the team members.


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