MAKING LIFE BETTER FOR TEAM WORKERS: A CHALLENGE FOR INTERVENTIONISTS
Carter, A.J., University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Work is increasingly accomplished by teams and much theoretical and empirical research associated with teamworking is concerned with performance. Until now, little has been known of the benefits of teamworking to the individual worker (Sonnentag, 1996). However, recent studies suggest teamwork and specific teamwork factors are positively related to individual mental health and well-being (e.g., Carter & West, 1999; Sonnentag et al., 2000; West et al., 2000). Carter and West (1999) found that health care workers, who worked in teams with shared objectives, moderately defined roles and interdependence experienced better mental health than either those who did not share all of these features or those who did not work in a team. Work with production teams (Sonnentag et al., 2000) suggests those who experience a clear sense of working together report better well-being. These studies suggest intervention strategies that may improve teamworking and member well-being. This symposium will explore two intervention strategies undertaken with UK health care teams within a high strain environment. The interventions will be described and experiences shared regarding challenges facing both the facilitators carrying out these interventions and researchers evaluating the effect of these interventions. In brief, these interventions were demanding, not always successful in the short-term, but six months later beneficial behavioural changes are being noticed by team members and team leaders. The author hopes this material will encourage discussion, debate and sharing that will benefit applied research and ultimately the team members involved.