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Organizational Behavior Course Notes – Managing a Task Force

Strengths of a Task Force

  1. Task-oriented. When the task is done the group disbands.
  2. Could possess a diversity of skills from different functional areas.
  3. If group members are selected on basis of individual competence relative to the problem, there is rarely any deadwood.
  4. Resource pooling
  5. Synergy – build upon ideas of others
  6. Much easier to implement changes


Special Concerns with Task Forces

Some Potential Solutions

Setting Up the Task Force

  1. Clarify why the task force is being formed.
  2. Define general operating procedures.
  3. Determine who should be on the task force:
    • Skills relevant to the task
    • Personally interested in the problem
    • Have the time
  4. Contact prospective members
  5. Prepare for the first meeting. Objectives:
    • Reaching a common understanding of the group’s task
    • Defining working procedures and relationships.

Conducting the First Meeting

  1. Reaching a common understanding of the group’s task.
    • Withhold judgments until the relevant information is out in the open
    • Need to prevent a premature consensus on an appropriate solution
  2. Defining working procedures and relationships.
    • Frequency and nature of meetings
    • Structure of subgroups
    • Ground rules for communication and decision making within the task force
    • Schedules for accomplishing subtasks
    • Procedures for monitoring and reporting progress

Running the Task Force

  1. Hold full task force meetings frequently enouth to keep all members informed
  2. Unless the task force is very small (<7), divide up into groups
  3. Don’t align yourself too closely with one position or subgroup
  4. Set interim project deadlines and demand adherence to them
  5. Be sensitive to conflicting loyalties created by belonging to the task force.
  6. Most important leadership role is to communicate information among task force members and between the task force and the rest of the organization.

Completing the Project

Investigative task force typically culminates with a written report and a summary presentation of findings and recommendations to upper management.

Implementation task force will normally have concrete operating results to demonstrate its accomplishments. Still need a formal meeting.

Summary Presentation of Findings