By John Dudovskiy
December 12, 2012


A team can be defined as “group of people who work together to achieve a common goal or objective, who produce high-quality results, and who enjoy doing so” (Lewis, 2004, p.66).

An alternative, more comprehensive definition of the term has been proposed by Halverson and Tirmizi (2008, p.4) as taken from Bailey and Cohen (1997, p.241) as “a collection of individuals who are independent in their tasks, who share responsibility for outcomes, who see themselves and are seen by others as an intact social entity, embedded in one or more social systems and who manage their relationships across organisational boundaries”.

Winning team members believe their goal is relevant, possible, and worthy of effort and sacrifice” (Miller, 2009, p.60).

Teams have become the main units to rely on to achieve organisation’s aims and objectives in today’s workplaces. In order for a team-work based project to be successful it is important that various talents and skills are gathered and good working atmosphere is created for them, taking into account the fact that different kind of motivation is required for each role and providing the relevant kind of motivation (Shermon, 2004). Sharma (2009) mentions team life cycle to consist of the following stages: forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning.

Roles and Relevant Skills that are Important for the Team

There are different roles to be played within the teams in order for the teamwork to be a successful one. Belbin (1981) distinguishes ‘plant’, monitor evaluator, co-ordinators, resource investigator, implementers, completer finishers, team-workers, shapers, and ‘specialists’. There are also other classification offered by other researchers as well, however, Belbin’s work is considered to be the most comprehensive in that aspect.

Each of above characters should be present within a team for the team to function in an efficient manner. However, if looked at individually the personalities behind these roles differ from each-other fundamentally. Nevertheless, gathered in the same team, each of them can contribute to the team in a unique manner.

‘Plant’ is an individual which is usually present in almost each team. They are very creative at solving problems. ‘Plant’ can be motivated by having complex and unusual problems which they can solve applying their creativeness

Resource investigators are driving forces behind the teams who easily make new contacts and explore new opportunities. Plants can be motivated by being assigned tasks that involves communicating with other people and being apprised for their contribution publicly.

Co-ordinator is the one who clarifies team’s aims and objectives and ensures their achievement by their natural talent of delegation. The only method of motivating co-ordinators within teams is to appoint them as leader of the team.

There are also shapers within teams, who may seem offensive and provocative at times, but nevertheless, have drive and determination required to overcome substantial challenges. Shapers can be motivated by challenging their ideas as well as pointing them to bstacles they would need to overcome.

Monitor/evaluators are the ones who may seem quiet and lack drive and determination, but their strategic approach at problem solving and accurate judgement prove to be valuable in achieving team aim and objectives. The main method of monitor/evaluator motivation is the acknowledgement and appreciation of their contribution

Team-workers are co-operative with their colleagues and have good listening skills. They are valuable members in a way that it is easy to delegate tasks to them. Team-workers can be effectively motivated by treating them politely and not abusing their co-cooperativeness.

Implementers are effective in transferring decisions into practical actions. Although they might seen inflexible at times their disciple, efficiency and reliability prove efficient in achieving team’s objectives. Implementers can be motivated by proving them detailed information about their tasks and specifying their responsibilities in the team in detail.

Completers/finishers usually rush around, reluctant to delegate some of the work to others. They are efficient in finding errors and omissions in projects and delivering on time. The best way of motivating completers/finishers is to recognise their contribution publicly and in private.

Specialists within teams are the ones with unique skills and knowledge and are often irreplaceable within teams. Specialists are motivated by acknowledgement of their qualifications and skills by peers and management.

Hammick et al (2009) mention the theory of Belbin’s team roles according to which each member has to perform specific role and function in order for the team to be successful. Specifically, within each team there must be ‘plant’ who is creative and imaginative, ‘coordinator’ a person who is confident and mature, ‘monitor evaluator’ is an individual who is strategic and with accurate judgement, ‘implementer’ is the person who is disciplined and practical, ‘resource investigator’ is extravert and communicative, ‘shaper’ is a person who is challenging and dynamic, ‘teamworker’ is usually diplomatic and cooperative, whereas ‘specialist’ is a single-minded with specific knowledge.



Team structure organisations function in a different way compared to traditionally structured organisations in many levels. One of the primary conditions of efficient teams is that team members have to have different roles to perform within the team not only because of their positions are different but also they have to have different perspectives on various organisational issues as well. It has been established that the different roles in a team can be classified into the types of ‘plant’, monitor evaluator, co-ordinators, resource investigator, implementers, completer finishers, team-workers, shapers, and ‘specialists’ and the ixistance of each of these types are important because each of them contribute to the achievement of team aim and objectives albeit through different mediums


  • Armstrong, M, 2001, A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, Kogan Page
  • Belbin, M, 1981, Management Teams, London
  • Halverson, C.B. & Tirmizi, S.A. (2008) “Effective Multicultural Teams: Theory and Practice” Springer
  • Hammick, M, Freeth, DS, Goodsman, D & Copperman, J, 2009, Being Inprofessional, Blackwell Publishing
  • Lewis, J.P. (2004) “Team-Based Project Management” Beard Books
  • Sharma, SK, 2009, Handbook of HRM Practices: Management Policies and Practices, Global India Publications
  • Shermon, G, 2004, Competency Based HRM, Tata McGraw-Hill

Category: Management