THE IMPACT OF ARRANGED SEATING AND TEAM
BUILDING ACTIVITIES ON DEVELOPING A UNIFIED TEAM
Bethany R. Vandermolen
Western Kentucky University
The Institutional Review Board of Western Kentucky University
approved this research project # 12 -152.
Introduction
According to Schwartz (2011), the
psychological well-being of employees
positively influences job performance.
An individual’s affect and their job performance
includes:
•social relationships
•situational sources
•and dispositional sources within the workplace
(Heaphy & Dutton, 2008; Schwartz, 2011)
This review summarizes:
•Some potential barriers
•How to overcome barriers
•Ways to improve staff morale & teamwork
When turn over occurs with personnel,
new staff members need opportunities
to speak and be heard without being
ridiculed for efforts or being brushed
aside (Meintel, 2005).
What can happen when…
Baby Boomer
Generation Y (or millennials)
Generation X
http://youtu.be/IEQ1bEaxJe0
combine within the workforce?
Potential problems
Gaps in ages can often be a cause for
communication problems and staff are not
always aware of how to communicate. Staff
may need to learn how to communicate with
each other.
Potential problems
Hartman and McCambridge (2011) described
millennials as needing to feel engaged,
participating in the learning process, enjoying
the process, and being social learners who tend
to work best in team environments.
What are some ways to learn to work together?
Day-to-day strategies
• Improve morale
• Change the perspective of the people
• Practice some positive workplace practices
• Managers to show compassion & empathy
• Set positive tone for the beginning of the day
Life balance is critical for teams, for them to have fun together both
inside and outside of the work place (Jefferson, 2010).
What are some ways to learn to work together?
Team building activities
Team Building
Keys to successful team building activities:
• every individual’s contribution
• activities planned and selected with care
• activities be serious business
• activities to involve a set of strategies firmly rooted in workplace
dynamics
(Laff, 2006; Sturdivant, 2008; Miller, 2007)
The first step includes….
figuring out the goal(s) you are trying to achieve from the use of
team building activities.
Activities may include:
• how to communicate better
• manage conflict
• understand skills and talents that everyone brings to the table
(Woodward, 2006)
Two key factors for effective team
building activities
 the discussion and analysis
 seeing teamwork becoming integrated into
day-to-day work
(Laff, 2006; Woodward, 2006)
Planning for team building activities
 should also require thought about seating
 arrangements such as circular or
rectangular arrangements, where all
participants can see each other work best
(Brotherton, 2010)
Current study
Evaluated the impact of the implementation of
a team building activity and arranged seating
on personnel teamwork and morale within
LifeSkills Incorporation, the Developmental
Services Department/First Steps staff.
Who & What
 First Steps is a state-wide program.
 The local district is called Barren River with
the Point of Entry office housed within
LifeSkills Incorporation’s Developmental
Services Department (Bowling Green, KY).
History of the personnel
2007 – 5 personnel
•4 full time employees, 1 part time
2012 – 11 personnel
•10 full time, 1 part-time
Out of the 11, seven personnel have been
employed for over a year. Four personnel
have been employed under a year.
Triangulation of Data
Data was collected:
•To gauge current level of staff morale
•To gauge current level of group teamwork
To determine how effective the addition of
team building activities….. and to determine if
arrangement of seating arrangement
affected staff morale and teamwork.
Data type one
One-on-one interviews
•between each professional and the principal
investigator
•used five open ended questions
Data type two
During the implementation, a reflective journal
was kept.
•by the principal investigator
Data type three
Upon completion of the implemented activities
a survey was completed.
•had eight initial questions based on a Likert
scale
•two conclusion questions
•completed by participating professionals
The Implementation
Over three weeks, the weekly staff meeting:
•included one team building activity
•had arranged seating
Common thoughts about staff morale:
Positive statements from the interviews:
Recommendations made:
Reflective Journal
There were incidents during the weeks when a professional arrived
to the meeting late and/or had to leave early.
• Other than people entering and exiting during meetings no
disruptions was noted during staff meetings.
Use of cell phones was observed during meetings.
• No specific disruptions were observed by the use of them.
• A variety of all the professionals was recorded regarding questions
being asked and/or being active in discussions.
Survey Results
6
5
4
Strongly Disagree
Post-SD
Disagree
Post-Disagree
3
Agree
Post-Agree
Strongly Agree
2
Post-SA
1
0
Pay sufficent attention
Self Distracted
Distracted by others
Seating impacts
Survey final questions
Team building activities:
Survey last two questions
Research Limitations
•use of a small number of professionals
•professionals not being truly open or honest in
their answers within the interviews or the
surveys
•this research may not be able to be applied to
different fields or workplaces.
Impacts
•Decision for continuing team building activities
on a monthly basis.
•The effect of the arranged seating was
extremely hard to determine and was found to
have little to no influence with the group.
•The reflective journals also gave no indication
that the different seating arrangements
resulted in the professionals engaging more or
less as their engagement.
Impacts
The team was be able to identify common
concerns and strengthens.
•It also impacted planning for the future to
include continued team building activities.
References
 Brotherton, P. (2010, November). Seating arrangements can affect group morale. T+D, 64(11), 24.
 Department for Public Health. (2012). 902 KAR 30:150. Personnel qualifications. Retrieved from
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/902/030/150.htm.
 Hartman, J. L., & McCambridge, J. (2011). Optimizing Millennials’ communication styles. Business Communication
Quarterly, 74(1), 22-44.
 Heaphy, E. D., & Dutton, J. E. (2008). Positive social interactions and the human body at work: Linking
organizations and physiology. Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 137-162.
 Hrmixbag (2010). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEQ1bEaxJe0&feature=youtu.be
 Jamail, N. (2011). How to improve your team’s morale. Supervision, 72(9), 13-14.
 Jefferson, A. I. (2010, November). Let’s go team. Black Enterprise, 41(4), 48.
 Laff, M. (2006, August). Effective team building: more than just fun at work. T+D, 60(8), 24.
 Meintel, J. (2005, July/August). Building a team. Mobility Forum: The Journal of the Air Mobility Command’s
Magazine, 14(4), 32-34.
 Michelini, R. L., Passalacqua, R., & Cusimano, J. (2001). Effects of seating arrangement on group participation. The
Journal of Social Psychology, 1976 (99), 179-186.
 Miller, B. C. (2007). Quick activities to improve your team: How to run a successful team-building activity. Journal
for Quality & Participation, 30(3), 28-32.
 Moore, P. (2007, April). Team talk. NZ Marketing Magazine, 26(3), 38-40.
 Priebe, S., Fakhoury, W. H., Hoffman, K., & Powell, R. A. (2005). Morale and job perception of community mental
health professionals in Berlin and London. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40(3), 223-232.
 Ryan, K. (2012, January/February). Gilt Groupe’s CEO on building a team of a players. Harvard Business Review,
90(1/2), 43-46.
 Schwartz, A. (2011). Foster care workers’ emotional responses to their work. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare,
28(3), 31-51.
 Sturdivant, J. (2008, April/May). Make the team. Wearables Business, 12(4), 25.
 Woodward, N. (2006, September). Make the most of team building. Hrmagazine, 52(9), 72.
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The Impact of Arranged Seating and Team Building Activities on