What Are Team Effectiveness Models for Workplaces?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 16, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organizations invest time and resources to help their team members collaborate more effectively on projects and achieve better results. To do this, organizations can select from various group effectiveness models depending on their structure and needs. Understanding team effectiveness models can help you become a more productive team leader or member. In this article, we discuss the meaning of these models and outline popular types.

What are team effectiveness models?

Team effectiveness models are systems that organizations can use to help members of a team collaborate more effectively. By identifying essential components, enabling factors, and potential challenges for effective teams, these models can help teams achieve their goals. In addition, they help team leaders determine the most effective technique to manage the strengths and weaknesses of team members.

Related: 8 Steps for Managing Teams Effectively (With Tips)

List of models for team effectiveness

Here's a list of various models for team effectiveness for you to consider:

GRPI model

Richard Beckhard, an organizational theorist, introduced the GRPI model for team effectiveness in 1972. Following that, academics Irwin Rubin, Ronald Fry, and Mark Plovnick developed the model in 1977 and popularized it. This makes the GRPI model one of the oldest models for team effectiveness and it remains relevant to date. The simplicity of this model makes it ideal for new teams or those looking to re-strategize. It's also excellent for helping team leaders identify and resolve issues with teamwork. GRPI stands for the elements of the model, which include:

  • Goals: According to the GRPI model, specific and clear goals are essential for team effectiveness. Having clear goals helps team members know their direction and objectives, which can limit disputes and improve focus.

  • Roles: The GRPI prioritizes assigning specific roles and having clear structures of authority. When team members know what they're responsible for and who they're reporting to, it eases business processes and limits disputes.

  • Procedures: For a team to be effective, it needs clear and efficient work processes that team members find familiar. These processes can involve decision-making, conflict resolution, quality assessment, feedback, and communication.

  • Interpersonal relationships: According to the GRPI model, it's important for teams to prioritize building and sustaining connections. Effective teams have strong internal relationships that promote trust, mutual respect, and accountability.

Related: How to Set Team Goals at Work (With Examples and Tips)

Katzenbach and Smith model

Organizational strategists named Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith developed this model for team effectiveness in 1993 and named it after themselves. It reflected information from research, where both strategists observed teams facing challenges with their work. The Katzenbach and Smith model names three goals for effective teams:

  • Personal growth: It's essential that effective teams ensure the personal growth of their members. This can improve the morale and loyalty of team members.

  • Collective work product: Effective teams use efficient work processes to help them achieve the best results. An effective team prioritizes speed and quality when delivering their work.

  • Performance results: An effective team is one that produces high-quality work together. This is the most important reason for a team's existence and is a key success indicator.

The Katzenbach and Smith model also names three factors for effective project implementation:

  • skills

  • accountability

  • commitment

Levels of team collaboration in the Katzenbach and Smith model

According to the Katzenbach and Smith model, there are various levels of team collaboration. They include:

  • Working group: This is the lowest level of collaboration. At this stage, individuals are in a team but continue to act individually.

  • Pseudo-team: At this stage, team members are aware they're in a team and believe they're operating as a team. There are structural defects in the team, which means they're still acting individually.

  • Potential teams: Teams at this stage have begun to develop a healthy working relationship. Here, team members are starting to collaborate on tasks.

  • Real team: Teams at this stage have started collaborating effectively. They have clear joint goals and well-defined work processes to achieve them.

  • High-performing teams: Teams at this stage work together seamlessly, achieving goals with established work processes. In addition, team members have built strong connections among themselves and aid each other's development.

Related: How to Build a Successful Team in 8 Steps

Tuckman's FSNPA or FSNP model

The FSNP model is the creation of Bruce Tuckman, who introduced the model in 1965. At first, the model comprised four stages of group development, namely forming, storming, norming, and performing stages. Later, in 1977, he collaborated with Mary Ann Jensen to develop the model and added a fifth stage known as the "adjourning" stage. Here's an explanation of each stage:

  • Forming: At this stage, team members are just discovering that they are going to work together to achieve specific goals. Here, team members are likely to be formal and professional with each other.

  • Storming: During this stage, team members have started working together. Team members experience the challenges that come with collaboration and experience conflicts that require navigation.

  • Norming: In the norming stage, team members have started to understand each other's strengths, weaknesses, and working patterns. They may begin to collaborate more effectively and modify their work processes.

  • Performing: Here, the team is fully running and achieving its goals. Team members find it easy to work with each other and contribute to each other's development.

  • Adjourning: This stage occurs after the reason for the team's existence has passed and typically involves team members saying goodbye and dispersing.

LaFasto and Larson Model

The LaFasto and Larson model, or the five dynamics of teamwork and collaboration, was created by Dr. Frank LaFasto and Dr. Carl Larson. They studied over 6,000 team members from different organizations and developed elements that make an effective team. This model prioritized the team's structure, as both authors believed individual talents were useless if teams didn't know how to exploit them. The elements of this model include:

  • Team member: According to this model, it's vital that teams are selective about members. Team members require relevant skills, qualifications, and knowledge of the role.

  • Team relationships: For teams to be effective, it's important that team leaders select members that can build good relationships, demonstrate good behaviours, and promote team goals.

  • Team problem-solving: Effective collaboration helps teams solve problems more effectively. Sustaining positive relationships among team members can contribute to this.

  • Team leadership: For a team to be effective, it requires strong and visionary leadership. Leaders are important to offer guidance and motivation to employers.

  • Organizational environment: An enabling environment can help team members perform more effectively. This includes a healthy corporate culture, a safe work environment, and efficient work processes.

Related: What is Team Building? (Why It's Important and Tips)

T7 model

The T7 model is a 1995 creation of Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger. Both authors developed seven factors that determine team effectiveness. Of these seven factors, five were internal and two were external factors. The factors include:

  • Thrust: This refers to the joint goal or purpose and is the team's reason for existing. This common purpose is the cause of the team's action.

  • Trust: Trust is the amount of confidence team members have in each other. It affects various aspects of the team's relationship, including communication, accountability, and empathy.

  • Talent: For a team to be effective, it's essential all members have relevant skills and qualifications. It's also important the team has all the skills it needs to fulfill its purpose.

  • Teaming skills: This refers to how well team members can collaborate. It comprises the level of cohesion and coordination in the activities of team members.

  • Task skills: This refers to how effectively teams execute their projects. This includes timeliness, quality, and efficiency of work processes.

  • Team leader fit: This external factor refers to how well a leader works with the teams. Effective teams require leaders that prioritize the team's interests and understand its goals.

  • Team support from the organization: This external factor relates to how organizations support their teams. It can comprise funding, work environments, and recognition.

Related: How to Build a Collaborative Team in an Organization

Hackman's five-factor models

Organizational behaviour expert Richard Hackman proposed the five-factor model in 2002. He published this model in his book titled "Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances." The factors of this model include:

  • Real team: According to Hackman, an effective team is one where members have clear roles, rights, and tasks. This promotes clarity in the team.

  • Clear direction: This refers to the joint goal or purpose of the team as it's essential team members believe in the team's goals.

  • Enabling structure: Effective teams require supporting structures to function. This includes work processes and structures that promote ease of work.

  • Supportive context: For teams to be effective, they require access to supporting resources. This includes tools and guidance to help them complete their tasks.

  • Expert coaching: Teams can become more effective through expert training or mentoring. This allows them to obtain guidance when necessary.


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