The material takes the form of a research report that is located on the web site for Eurofound [http://www.eurofound.europa.eu]. Eurofound’s “about” link describes the following objective: “Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, is a European Union body, one of the first to be established to work in specialised areas of EU policy. Specifically, it was set up by the European Council: Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1365/75 of 26 May 1975, to contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.”
1. Students will learn about an EU perspective on teamwork in organizations.
2. Students will learn about the "positive and negative influence of teamwork on diverse aspects of working conditions, such as job autonomy, job satisfaction, work intensity, productivity and the learning environment."
3. Students will learn about the "prevalence of teamwork according to various factors including sex, sector and occupation."
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate or graduate students who are studying management, leadership, or human resource management.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No prerequisite knowledge or skills are required to surf the site or to access and read the report. Students who have taken courses in research/survey design and statistics will have an easier time interpreting charts and figures.
Type of Material:
Reference Material (published in 2007)
The material could be used as a supporting reference/resource in management & leadership, organizational behavior, and HR courses. The report would augment textbook material, and instructors could assign students to “surf” and discuss it (either in class or in a written assignment). Instructors who wish to emphasize a global or international theme will find this report particularly useful.
The report may be viewed without any special software. Downloading and saving the report requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Evaluation and Observation
The report is detailed and comprehensive; it represents a compilation of research studies conducted in 16 countries. Both a summary report and individual national reports are available. Results from the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) “make[s] it possible to compare the individual participating countries” and serves as a core component of the report. Overall, the information is likely to represent a unique and interesting exploration of teamwork for students who might otherwise have little familiarity with global perceptions and practices in this area.
The report does not provide a straightforward explanation of how the various research studies were compiled or how the EWCS survey was conducted. Instructors will need to provide background and context. [Pointing students to certain key links on the Eurofound web site is likely to be somewhat helpful in this respect.] Published in 2007, it is based on information no later than 2005 - much of it in 2000 or earlier.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The clear strength of the report is that it brings a global perspective to the subject of teamwork. Both qualitative and quantitative research findings are included, and the relationship between teamwork and key constructs (e.g., autonomy, job satisfaction) is explored.
Instructors should develop assignments and discussion questions that assist students in: a) extrapolating the main points from the report; b) comparing the findings with those reported in the groups & teams literature; c) critiquing the degree to which 2000/2001 EWCS survey results would be considered relevant today (i.e., what changes in the social, political, and economic environment might impact interpretation of the results?).
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The report is well-organized and easily “surf-able” online. The index is composed of hyperlinks that take the reader to individual report sections. It is divided into discrete sections with a menu approach for sections.
To use this report in an interactive format (such as a class discussion), instructors will have to develop assignment instructions or a discussion guide. This is very helpful to researchers, not so helpful to the average business person because of the research nature of the product.
Other Issues and Comments:
It takes some time to determine the sources of the information. References to the country data are "the national correspondent" or sometimes the specific country respondent. On searching the menu, the reporting institutions are found in Annex 2.