The issue of individual vs. team rewards presents a problem in that companies understand that they must quickly move toward developing team oriented reward and recognition programs, but not forget that team leaders are still essential to making these programs effective.
As organizations struggle to become more competitive, teams have been implemented throughout the American workplace. In the 1990s, the movement to team based structures accelerated. Nearly 68% of small company plants use teams to varying degrees according to the 1999 Industry Week Census of Manufacturers (Strozniak, 2000). There is an underlying belief that individuals work more effectively in teams than alone (Wachtman, 1995). There has been significant research on teams. The 1997 Yearly Review of Management of the Journal of Management reviewed 54 studies of teams in organizations including measures of effectiveness conducted from January 1990 to April 1996 (Cohen and Bailey, 1997). At this time the majority of research focuses on the basic characteristics of team reward systems opposed to individual rewards.
Most reward and recognition systems for work teams are based on the premise that uniform rewards for all team members are good for teamwork; individual recognition and rewards are detrimental to teams. This is in perfect harmony with the Japanese model, but it would seem to be the antithesis of American individuality (Cox and Tippett, 2003).
The Pros and Cons of Team Rewards over Individual Rewards
Bonuses and benefits are becoming increasingly important for staff retention and in some cases are overshadowing basic salary. One of the issues looked at regarding bonuses for credit control teams has been the relative effectiveness of individual versus team bonuses on productivity (Hays Specialist Recruitment, 2008).
Team rewards present a great opportunity to help foster team bonding. With the proper...