Belbin’s Theory on management applications

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Dr. Meredith Belbin, in the early 1970s, worked on a management theory to study the performance of teams in project management roles. Belbin studied various attitudes of members of the team by running different business simulations to conclude key results on employees’ work behavior. He found different clusters by studying the behavior of employees. He was of the view that no team is perfect for every task that exists. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

Belbin devised eight later on nine different attitudes of team behavior depending upon the roles they perform in the project. He defined clusters as the behavior of employees by which they interact with other employees in the project. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

Belbin identified which teams will be suitable for which roles and which will not be successful and which behaviors the team will exhibit in project management roles. Belbin’s Theory helps managers to identify the skillsets of different employees and recruit them on the project according to their skills. It helps managers to better evaluate the current experience levels of different employees and their feelings about the work culture. It also assists managers in identifying the activities which employees like and which they do not. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

Belbin used specific language to address the key roles in project management. Belbin’s Theory assists employees in identifying whether they are shaper, plant, or completer. Different roles under the Belbin theory are explained below. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

Implementer employees are well organized in their job roles, systematic, introverted, and faithful to the work they perform. They are down-to-earth people with an ample amount of common sense to do the job tasks. The role of implementers in project teams consists of turning plans into actions which can be then performed to reach the final output. The major weaknesses in the implementer role include the resistance to major change and lack of flexibility to respond to different assignments. Managers need to manage the implementer style of employees by balancing the right mix of flexibility. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

The coordinator style of employees in the team management roles, according to Belbin’s Theory are cool and calm, and they look mature in their appearance. They can manage the tasks confidently and with full control. The biggest role of the contributor is to provide a calm and cool atmosphere for the other team members to perform well in the project. The major weaknesses they possess include deficient levels of creativity and a strong grip on the process but not on the final output. Managers need to work with contributors to carefully draft objectives for them and then monitor the objectives throughout the project. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

Shapers are extroverts and flexible members of the team. They play an important role in shaping the objectives and get the job done in the set time. They are highly motivated individuals with great skill of focusing on the tasks with full concentration and eagerness. Shapers enjoy the challenge, and they usually find the solution to the most challenging situation without losing their temperament. Their main role is to provide a shaping structure to project to achieve objectives. Major weaknesses of shapers include easily get annoyed with other team members, and they are, in general impatient. Managers need to allocate enough time to discuss the issues with the shapers before concluding. Managers need to implement shapes in the project to achieve the project objectives. (MANAGEMENT CENTRE, 2018)

The plant is another role that is studied and identified by Belbin in his Theory on different employee behaviors in the project management roles. Plant role involves creative people with a great mindset and ability to interact and solve complex issues involved in the project.  They are imaginative and can think freely and also generate ideas through brainstorming with other employees.  The biggest weaknesses of these types of people include ineffective communication with other employees due to the fact of preoccupied nature, and they might ignore incidents at times. Managers also need to carefully handle the problem of forgetfulness and absent-minded of these employees. (IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON, 2018)

Completer / Finisher role involves the people concentrating on finishing the task in due time and carefully evaluating the project scope. They are very concerned and anxious about the project work and the deadlines.  They put themselves into the shoes of others to better understand the problems and their remedies. They can perform their work on time and with great levels of concentration.  Their main strengths include delivering the objectives of the project in due time and identifying errors and omissions in the project work. They are poor in delegating the task to their juniors and tend to worry easily. (MOGA, 2017)

Monitor / Evaluator is serious-looking people in their appearance and have great skill of skepticism, which helps them to analyze the project situations and problems critically and better respond to the important aspects of the project. Great analysis skills of monitor/evaluator help them to keep other members of the team on track by highlighting the objectives of the project and its deadlines. (BUSINESS BALLS, 2019)

Resource Investigators are motivated and extrovert people with great communication skills inside and outside the office premises. They have the inbuilt ability to negotiate with the other members and creating contacts. They are not good at generating ideas, but they can better respond to other people’s ideas and suggestions. Their main strengths include questioning other people’s ideas and setting up contacts outside the office to achieve the larger goals of the organization. They easily adapt to the new teams. They are generally lazy and lose focus once the project is undertaken.  Over optimistic about the objectives of the project often lead them to certain difficulties. (COACHING, 2017)

A specialist is those employees in the project managers who have specialized skills to complete the task at hand. They are experts in their fields, and they are very proud of the work they perform and the skills they possess. The most common mistakes among this type of employee include limiting themselves to a particular area of the field and not focusing on the bigger image of the objective. Due to this, they easily get demotivated and lose focus from the main objectives. (MIND TOOLS, 2019)

Team workers are the people who are interested in uniting the team members together to achieve the larger objective of the project. Their main role is to act as an arbitrator in the team management environment, and they focus on resolving the issues of the team and conflicts that exist within the project team. Their team members praise them for the supportive nature they possess and offer in the team management environment. The biggest strength of these types of employees is that they put the interests of the employees above the interests of their own, and that is why they do not take the sides of employees on certain matters. (MERCHANT, 2019)

There are certain limitations to the Belbin theory. Belbin theory can be implemented at the personal, team, and cultural change. However, they are not implemented. Belbin team performance can be used in the work setting only. It cannot be used in a personal capacity. Belbin has a cultural bias as it is focused on the higher level of executives in the British. This depicts that although the Theory can be implemented in other cultures, the main focus of the Theory was a particular class of people. (ISAAC, 2018)

New Managers can easily understand the structures of the organization in the corporate world by applying Belbin theory and can easily be familiar with different levels of employees. Employees can make use of the Belbin theory and can make use of the strengths they possess in an organizational framework to achieve the goals of the organization. (ISAAC, 2018)

There are different methods by which the Belbin theory can be implemented in a better way on the company level.  Managers need to discover different patterns of work behavior in the organizational culture and then need to respond according to the specific team culture. Coherence needs to be increased between the manager and other employees. Senior managers need to dig deep and unearth the hidden talents of the young workforce so that they can reach their true potential. Managers can better perform in the team by evaluating the key strengths and weaknesses of different team members in the job and then allocating jobs and roles to them according to their specific skill sets and talent. (ISAAC, 2018)


Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].


Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].

Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].

Available at:[Accessed October 14, 2019].

Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].

Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].

Available at:
[Accessed 14 OCT 2019].

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