In his book Tales of a New America, Robert Reich describes the importance of teamwork in an increasingly technological age:
Rarely do even Big Ideas emerge any longer from the solitary labours of genius. Modern science and technology is too complicated for one brain. It requires groups of astronomers, physicists and computer programmers to discover new dimensions of the universe: teams of microbiologists, oncologists, and chemists to unravel the mysteries of cancer. With ever more frequency, Nobel prizes are awarded to collections of people. Scientific papers are authored by small platoons of researchers.
Working with others is a vital part of virtually every job. In a US survey of architects and landscape architects, over 75% of these professionals reported that they "always" or "often" worked in teams. In the promising field of multi-media, the ability to work as a team member has been identified as the top non-technical job skill. Motorola, Ford, 3M, USAA Insurance and Chase Manhattan Bank have used teams to become leaders in their fields.
No matter how brilliant you are, being a solo player is not an option in today's business world. Gary Kaplan, owner of an executive recruiting firm offers one explanation why team players are valued over rugged individualists: "The single-combat warrior, that bright, purposeful worker, tends to suck-up a lot of oxygen in an organisation. And now they're often seen as too innovative and too difficult.
a) Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of using teams as opposed to individuals in the workplace.
b) Elaborate on the characteristics of a good team player.
c) Elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of using virtual communication instead of face-to face interaction in team meetings.