The history of team building goes back to the late 1920 and early 1930 with now classic Hawthorne Studies. The research involved a series of research activities of a group of workers under various conditions. The results showed that with increased worker interaction the most significant factor was growing a sense of group identity, a feeling of social support and cohesion. But not much more in the field of team building was written after that as teams were not recognized as the driver of company’s success. The primal role in company success was attributed to the individual.
Team buildings become very popular in the 1970's. There was a boom in team building activities from the mid - to late -1980s, as effectiveness of teams was increasingly recognized by human resources professionals. Today, teambuilding activities are widely recognized as a very important driver of company’s success. However, in various countries and companies team building is on different developing stage. TBA created its own model of team building development and trends, which can in a way also indicates, on which stage of maturity the team building activities are in a chosen country/company.
Source: Polajnar (2012), internal TBA material
This model shows, how team building events evolved from fun events to well-planned educational activities. The first teambuilding events were actually team bonding. Their primary goal was to gather all employees to socialize and have fun. This is followed by a stage of planned activities with the aim to connect the team and also with some sort of strategy behind of how to connect them. This stage is followed by educational teambuilding events, where team – besides all the socializing benefits – also learns in a practical way how the teams function, what are the obstacles in good communication, what are different ways of problem solving etc. The maturity of team buildings are shown with the emergence of social responsibility as a very important part in team building activities. There are many different forms of socially responsible team building activities that will be revealed later. The last, final stage represent upgraded team building g programs that are based on team assessments that allow strategic planning of future team developments.
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