The aim of this module is to appraise critically theories of teams, teamworking and how leadership may be exercised in teams. The module will focus on issues of how effective and creative teams can be developed and maintained in organisations, to achieve a high level of performance. Consideration will be given to enduring teams, such as strategic senior leadership teams, as well as temporary teams – such as project teams – and also teams that cross departmental and organisational boundaries, and virtual teams. The module will include an analysis of a team or teams in an organisation, or organisations, of the participant’s choice. Participants will be encouraged to use their own experience of team membership to inform their enquiry and critical thinking.




The module will explore the following:

·        Types and functions of groups and teams in organisations

·        Theories of characteristics of high performing teams

·        Processes within high performing teams

·        Contributions and roles of members of teams

·        Models of leadership in teams, including ethical, responsible, focused and shared leadership, and leadership processes

·        Team learning

·        Conflict and cooperation within teams

·        Diversity in teams

·        Virtual teams




By completing this module, you will be able to:


1.     Critically evaluate contemporary theories of team development and team performance, in relation to decision-making teams in organisations.

2.     Critically compare different models of leadership within teams and identify appropriate contexts for different models.

3.     Undertake critical analyses of examples of team working in organisations, in relation to contemporary theories.

4.     Understand and apply appropriate academic standards in written work.



Assessment Details

Assessment is by one assignment, a critical essay of 6000 words (100%) which integrates theory and practice. The assignment must include a clear structure with an abstract, a list of references and, where appropriate, appendices and diagrams. You must make appropriate use of journal articles and texts. References should follow the Harvard system – see the guide at https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/library/referencing/guides/.

The assignment should contain:

  1. A critical review of theories of team working, particularly ideas about how teams in organisations can be effective in achieving results, including theories of team leadership.
  2. An analysis of a team of which you have personal experience, either as a member or a leader, in relation to relevant theories of team working.
  3. An assessment of your own abilities as a team leader or team member, using appropriate theories; identify areas of strength and areas where you might benefit from development

To preserve confidentiality, please anonymise the organisation or organisations you discuss in the assignment, eg by calling them Company X, or Governmental Organisation Y, or International Organisation Z. Similarly, where you write about private individuals, call them manager A, or leader B.

N.B. The word count will include quotations but exclude footnotes, list of references, appendices, tables and graphs. Appendices will not count against the word limit but should not contain large amounts of text. (It will be expected that they will normally contain diagrams or tables or visual images). Appendices should not contain material that is essential to meeting the assignment brief. If you exceed the wordcount by more than 10%, you will be penalised.

See the final page of this Handbook for assessment criteria.

You are encouraged to proof read your work thoroughly before submission.  You may ask others to proof read your work on your behalf for matters of punctuation, grammar and spelling, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should they comment on the subject content of your work.  While errors may be highlighted for your attention, edits and corrections must be your own.  You are reminded that any work submitted should be yours and yours alone. If the paper has been proof read (especially it that involved correcting the English) this must be stated on the cover of the paper and a copy of the original, pre-correction, paper retained for possible review by the University.

Formative Assessment

You will be expected to complete an interim assignment, and you will receive formative assessment on it – details are on the Online Campus system. Formative assessment will also take place on an informal basis through feedback via various in-class group activities and exercise. The purpose of formative assessment is to give you feedback on your progress towards the development of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes, in order to help you in your individual assignments and monitor the learning progress.


It is expected that this module will require a total of about 300 hours of study. For the detailed schedule see the Online Campus syllabus and forum


In support of this module, a pack of recommended reading will be made available through the Online Campus system, which you can download as pdf files: the source texts are listed below.

As you are studying at Master’s level, you are also expected to explore and discover reading independently. Typically it is a good idea to start with a broad text that summarises key issues, then widen your research to include academic and practitioner sources.

A number of journals contain useful material for this module, including: Team Performance Management, Leadership Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, Group Dynamics, and Academy of Management Review. All of these are available electronically through the University Library, and you can find and download articles from them.

Core Reading

If you were to buy one book to support your work on this module, we would recommend either:

Susan A Wheelan, Maria Akerlund and Christian Jacobson 2020 Creating Effective Teams, Sage, or

Michael West 2012 Effective Teamwork, Blackwell

You can buy the books on Kindle. West is available as an ebook through the University library.

Recommended Reading

The following books are relevant to the module. Books marked with a #hashtag can be purchased through Kindle (publication dates of Kindle editions may differ from the dates below).

Where books are marked with an *asterisk, a chapter can be downloaded as a pdf file – see the Online Campus for details of how to do this.

John Bratton 2015 Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, Palgrave, Chapter 10 Groups and teams, pp. 263-290*

Susan A Wheelan 2016 Creating Effective Teams, Sage, Chapter 5 Effective team members, pp. 49-69*


Items in the list below are available as e-books through the University library. Your ability to access these will depend on your internet connection bandwidth and availability (you must be connected while reading, or you may download the book for a limited period of time) – please check on this early in the module.

R Meredith Belbin 2010 Management Teams: why they succeed or fail, Butterworth-Heinemann#

R Meredith Belbin 2010 Team Roles at Work, Butterworth-Heinemann#

John Bratton 2015 Introduction to Work and Organizational Behaviour, Palgrave

David Buchanan and Andrzey Huczynski 2017 Organizational Behaviour, Pearson,

see Chapter 13 Teamworking, pp. 417-448#

Amy Edmondson and Susan Reynolds 2016 Building the Future: big teaming for audacious innovation, Berrett-Koehler#

Timothy Franz 2012 Group Dynamics and Team Interventions: understanding and improving team performance, Wiley#

Brian A Griffiths and Ethan B Dunham 2015 Working in Teams, Sage

Laurie Mullins 2016 Management and Organisational Behaviour, Pearson, see Chapter 8

Working in groups and teams, pp. 270-310#

Nancy M Settle-Murphy 2013 Leading Effective Virtual Teams, CRC Press#

Michael West 2012 Effective Teamwork, Blackwell#


Assessed ComponentsDistinctionMeritPassF (fail)
(100-85)(84 – 70)(69 – 60)(59 – 50)(49-20)
  Knowledge & Understanding  Work submitted is considered to be outstanding in the assessed components  Excellent understanding of a wide range of  ideas  Very good understanding of a range of ideas  Good understanding of relevant ideas  Subject knowledge is poorly demonstrated
  Analysis & Evaluation  Excellent ability to analyse, evaluate, compare and construct values  Accurate analysis and very good evaluation  Good analysis and sound evaluation    Weak analysis and evaluation
  Critical Thinking  Excellent thinking, logical and creative with insightful outcomes  Very good synthesis of ideas that are articulated clearly  Good synthesis of ideas with mostly consistent logic  Inconsistent logic  and synthesis
  Research & Enquiry  Rigorous and sustained enquiry with excellent outcomes  Accurate and consistent enquiry using appropriate methods  Consistent approach drawing on a range of sources  Little evidence of research or understanding of appropriate approaches
  Creativity  Original or innovative work of an excellent standard  Shows imagination and originality  Good imagination with some originality  Derivative work that offers little in the way of new ideas
  Presentation & Referencing  Technically excellent, accurate referencing and presentation  Accurate and consistent referencing and presentation  Good referencing and consistent approach to conventions  Poor referencing and little understanding of conventions
  Communication  Excellent ability to communicate ideas clearly and appropriately  Very good ability to communicate ideas clearly  Most Ideas communicated effectively  Ideas are not communicated effectively

Non-submissions will receive 0 marks. Non-serious attempts, where the answer is irrelevant to the set questions or is completely insufficient,

will receive 0-19 marks.

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