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A critical evaluation of the factors influencing team performance in a financial institution’s working capital team.

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In the age of significant transformation, it is becoming increasingly important for the Financial Services Industry to fulfil customer needs speedily and to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. It is vital that Financial Institutions (FIs) continuously look for ways to achieve greater efficiencies and be more effective in their operations. To assist FIs in achieving its goals, these organisations are structured as segments and further divided into business units, which operate as teams. Effective teamwork is viewed as a competitive advantage that can assist an organisation in improving its market share, enhancing employee engagement and providing the base for continuous improvement and innovation. These teams, deemed to be high performance teams, can potentially overcome problems more effectively than employees working independently. However, a team takes time to develop and mature and creating a high performing team may not be easy to achieve. A FI Working Capital (WC) business unit is heavily reliant on team-based structures to achieve goals. There are three teams i.e. Audit, Sales and Operations in the WC team. Researching the critical components and characteristics of a high performance team was therefore necessary. The study was pragmatic and took the form of an exploratory study, using a FI’s WC team as a case study. A mixed methods study was performed and considered seven factors that influence team performance. The team’s performance in relation to these factors i.e. purpose and vision; leadership; results focus; relationships and communication; flexibility; shared responsibility; and team processes, as well as common challenges faced by the team, which include lack of communication and ineffective and inflexible processes, was identified through 37 completed questionnaires and three interviews, performed in the first quarter of the FIs financial year. The results were analysed as a whole as well broken-down into team specific feedback, which reflected that the Operations team fared worse than both the Sales and Audit team under all factors. The results also reflected improvement was required for all teams. Further, insight was obtained on how teams can achieve a high performing status, resulting in recommendations such as developing a team charter and providing open, honest and constructive feedback being made to the WC team on how to become a high performance team.


Masters Degree . University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.