Conditioning Factors and opportunities for teamwork. A study from faculties and schools of physiotherapy in Catalonia

Imagotipo CRIEDO
Any: 2015

Our research starts from the premise that teamwork in universities can be a factor which boosts the effectiveness and efficiency of both the teams themselves as well as the institution to which they belong. In universities, as in other organizations, it is common to use the term teamwork as an inherent aspect of the institution. However, in practice it is often not too visible. The aspects influencing teamwork are diverse, ranging from the context to the people. Just like in the late twentieth century, current organizational trends regard teamwork to be a cornerstone, but it is also necessary to rethink and reinterpret the forms and modes of operation of teams in new contexts. In today's world, the organizations which are more likely to succeed are those that have the characteristics of flexibility, adaptability, creativity and seizing opportunities, and where the team approach may represent a favourable environment. In universities, circumstances are not always optimal for an organizational team approach. The reason can be found either by the emergence of barriers to the performance of teams, or because situations which are conducive to the development of team processes are not fostered.
Methodology. Our study is part of the interpretive paradigm through a non-experimental, transactional and descriptive research design. The description has allowed us to understand a social phenomenon from the study context and from the perceptions of the people themselves, emphasizing the qualitative approach without excluding the quantitative aspect. It has developed a general analytical strategy, which in our research was developed in three methodological phases. In the 1st phase a single case study was used as a pilot test, in the 2nd phase, correlational analysis was used and in the 3rd phase, a multi-case study was used to reproduce the same situation as in the single case study after certain adjustments.
Results. The process of aggregating the results showed three aspects. Firstly, current legislation provides faculties with the freedom to adopt the most appropriate organizational model, but does not clearly define teaching teams as functional management units.

Secondly, faculties represent organizational contexts which are unfavourable for fostering teamwork and effective teams. Thirdly, governing bodies of the faculties have not developed sufficiently to be able to provide established operational guidelines, and this fact makes it more difficult for them to be effective in the tasks that they undertake.
Conclusion. The team approach in the faculties and schools of physiotherapy in Catalonia is at an initial phase, which requires both measures aimed at individuals as well as measures that favour the implementation of teaching teams as basic organizational units. One positive aspect is that both the organization and the teams themselves are largely dependent on the individual motivation of people and leaders who are capable of winning over the team’s members. The focus of the faculties and schools in facilitating these conditions may represent a step towards efficiency; however, they may have not identified situations in which teamwork can be considered as a differential and competitive value.

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