Sunday, July 29, 2012

Does Your Organisation Recognise Self-Managed Teams?

Quite a lot has been written about self-managed teams with claims that self-managed teams can increase performance, improve the quality of products and services, and increase levels  of  innovation  (Frankforter  and  Christensen,  2005; Tata and Prasad, 2004;), whereas others question that the connection between self-managed teams and effectiveness does not always happen in practice (Bergmann and De Meuse, 1996;  Mohrman et al., 1995; Verespej, 1990; Wageman, 1997).
Probably the best way to define a self-managed team is one that is a permanent and cross-functional group of employees that share the responsibility and authority for specific objectives attributed to a product or service.
Tata and Prasad ask why some organisations manage to develop teams with high levels of self-management, while other do not? They conclude that the misalignment between team structure and the organisational structure (and not between team structure and culture) can be counterproductive stating that “attempts to implement self-managed teams may cause frustration for both employees and management when organisational systems and structures do not accommodate self-managing demands” (2004:249).
Self-managed teams allow for job enrichment and employee empowerment, while adding to the decision making process. To make this work effectively information must be readily available and shared across functions and there must be a culture that allows for the decentralisation of decision making. A culture that focuses on openness and honesty, employee empowerment and decentralised decision making, will serve to push decision making and responsibility down to the lowest levels of the organisation. The same levels that are often more aware than top management of what their day-to-day problems actually are.
The true success of the self-managed team depends on the existence of a corporate culture that allows for the availability of relevant information at all times (and at all levels); knowledge sharing; delegation of authority and accountability and recognition of results through appropriate rewards.
Self-management is about delegating authority and responsibility to the team, which in turn has been linked to increases in motivation and job satisfaction.
Thus the implementation of successful self-managed teams provide significant advantages which include; increased job satisfaction, improved communication, quicker decision making and through the above greater employee self-esteem. Further benefits to the organisation include improved cost control, faster responses to change, greater flexibility and innovation, improved quality, and an empowerment culture that encourages best practice. (Frankforter and Christensen, 2005).
Effective teamwork does not get enough attention within many organisations, where individual performance is recognised above teamwork. This doesn’t make any sense, as the organisation is one big team working together to meet its strategic objectives.
Winning teams will ensure that individual team members share;
1)     A common understanding of the teams objectives;
2)     The ability to critically self-analyse with respect to team participation, effectiveness and future development areas;
3)     A greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the overall team and how these can be optimised by working together more effectively;
4)     An understanding and ownership of what positively(and negatively) impacts on team performance;
5)     A commitment to knowledge sharing and learning enrichment;
6)     A ‘blue print’ for ‘best practice’ for the entire team;
7)     Tangible measurements for improving team effectiveness; and
8)     A commitment to a winning team culture.
So the question has to be, why wouldn’t your organisation want to employ self-managed teams? Your organisation would need a culture of openness and honesty and need to ensure that the levels of decision making match with the authority levels. In line with best practice, your organisation should want to fully embrace the use of self-managed teams, as in the right organisational environment they will give superior results every time.
Brownbill, N. (2009). Be the Best in Business. ACC: Cape Town, 1st Edition, p. 85-93.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog fantastic post keep share like article really very informative for me.

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