Cohesion and teamwork

Munroe, Krista and Terry, Peter and Carron, Albert (2002) Cohesion and teamwork. In: Rugby tough: focused for rugby. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc., Champaign, IL. United States, pp. 137-153. ISBN 0-7360-3678-4

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Rugby has a fantastic bonding effect ... It brings friendships to the fore ... You get strong guys up front, quick guys in the back, you get poets, you get freemasons, everybody playing in the same team and it's a fantastic culture. (Francois Pienaar, Captain, South Africa, World Cup Winners 1995).

As the quote used to introduce this chapter illustrates, team unity (or team cohesion) can generate strong emotions among team members. But, as anyone who has been a captain, manager, player, or observer of rugby can testify, achieving team unity and getting a team to work together to achieve its collective goals can be difficult. Individual team members sometimes have personal goals and aspirations that bring them into conflict with the team's goals and objectives. As a consequence, those individuals may try to pull the team in different directions. Or, teammates may dislike each other with the resulting consequence that communication on and off the pitch becomes poor or nonexistent. Or, teammates may like each other so much that a considerable amount of effort is expended to insure that harmony is preserved—at the expense of honest appraisal, accurate feedback and open communication.

Observations by Pat Riley (1993), a very successful North American professional coach, help to illustrate how difficult it is to obtain teamwork. As Riley noted,
Teamwork isn't simple. In fact, it can be a frustrating elusive commodity… teamwork doesn't appear magically, just because someone mouths the words. It doesn't thrive because of the presence of talent or ambition. It doesn't flourish simply because a team has tasted success. (p.16)
So what steps can team leaders/coaches take to ensure that a team is actively working to become more unified and cohesive? In the present chapter, we focus on four strategies that have been used successfully in sport teams: team performance profiling, team goal setting, a gameplan exercise to develop role clarity and role acceptance, and an exercise to promote mutual respect.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Pre-print version, as made available here, differs in title from the Published version. Pre-print title: Enhancing group processes and team cohesion.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2008 07:00
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 03:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: rugby; team unity; teamwork; cohesion; team performance profiling; team goal setting; gameplan exercise; mutual respect
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200105 Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950102 Organised Sports

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