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Team Effectiveness and Leeds United 13/14

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After a turbulent season at Elland Road, the team effectiveness is looked into.

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By: Ellie Dunwell (Community)

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A team is defined as ‘a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job or project’ ( Cohen and Bailey (1997) researched into team effectiveness, with their review proven to be ‘one of the most influential’ (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp and Gilson, 2008). They identified seven areas of team effectiveness: environmental factors, design features, team composition, organisational factors, processes, psychological and social attributes of the team and the measure of effectiveness.
The 2013/2014 season has been a turbulent season for Leeds United Football Club (LUFC), seeing 21/46 defeats (Ingham, 2014). In the second half of the season, questions ----- over legal issues and ownership, with potential impact on team effectiveness.
Environmental factors include stability in ownership. LUFC since February 2014 has experienced uncertainty regarding who owns the club. For financial reasons, current owners GFH Capital needed to sell a percentage of LUFC in order to maintain the upkeep of the club. Various investors had reportedly shown interest in the club at the beginning of 2014, leading to false promises, and Massimo Cellino ultimately buying a 75% stake in LUFC. However, this takeover took nearly 3 months to be completed, with speculation circulating to the extent of debt LUFC was in and rumoured winding-up petitions. This, coupled with their falling league position, meant the team effectiveness was being undermined, with no ownership control having an effect on team performance.
The design feature of the LUFC managerial structure proved somewhat questionable. Through the turbulent times of establishing club ownership, it appeared LUFC had sacked manager Brian McDermott, only for him to be re-instated. This led to uncertainty of McDermott’s position in the management hierarchy. Long term this may have affected team performance, however, the short term results appeared to show the team at LUFC were motivated to perform well together, perhaps as a show of support for McDermott or possibly due to the effectiveness of the assistant manager and captain. This supports Cohen and Bailey’s model with team effectiveness due to design features.
Team composition in football relates to how the team is made up, i.e. the most effective players for the team. LUFC has not established a consistent starting 11 throughout the 2013/14 season. This would have an impact on the team development, having to adapt to differing styles of play week after week.
Organisational factors, as included in the team effectiveness model, relates to wage structure. With a bad money situation at LUFC, in March all staff failed to get paid their wages on time (Hay, 2014), leading to de-motivation all around LUFC and the playing staff agreeing to defer their pay until a later date.
Processes that make an effective team were also failing in this period of time. With internal communication lacking, members of the team were finding out important news, such as the sacking of their manager, through the media rather than officially from the club.
One of the positives from the situation, identified in the psychological and social attributes of the team, was all members were going through the same experience at the same time, leading to a shared mind-set. A risk was when a negative event occurred, all members of the team felt a lack of effectiveness. An advantage was when the playing staff were motivated to perform well for the manager, their shared mind-set allowed all the team to be motivated.
Finally, a measure of effectiveness came in the performance of the team. Losing games that appeared a certain win for LUFC and, in some cases, losing by a large goal difference, came about when the troubles off the field became public. This supports the team effectiveness model by Cohen and Bailey.
Further Reading
Hay, P. (28th March 2014). Leeds United Players Agree to Defer Wages LATEST. Yorkshire Evening Post.
Ingham, K. (3rd May 2014). Leeds United's Season 2013/14 : How they rated. Weallloveleeds.
Mathieu, J., Maynard, M.T., Rapp, T. and Gilson, L. (2008). Team Effectiveness 1997-2007: A Review of Recent Advancements and a Glimpse into the Future. Journal of Management.