---Whole Foods Market Inc---
July 14, 2009
Ryan T. Merrill
When we talk of the role of teams in defining the success and/or at least as a major cause of failure of a business organization, the fundamental question that arises in anybody’s mind is as to why organizations need teams at all. They need teams because of their effect on the overall work performance and when the organizations work through the teams, the end result is the improvement in critical areas as productivity, customer care, quality improvement which are all needed for the very survival of them. In a study conducted by E.Lawler, S.A...Mohman and G.E. Ledford, it was found that 45 to 70% of the business establishments participating in the study reported significant improvement in the operational aspects of management ranging from profitability to productivity. There are a number of other examples to show the imperative of having a team-based working for the successful conduct of the business in organizations. We would, however, confine ourselves to two such examples. Motorola achieved the specific goal of developing an ultra-thin cell phone by integrating a team of professionals specialized in engineering and designing skills through an in house process of complementing each other. General Mills recorded 40% increase productivity through team-based cross-functionality as against those factories organized and functioning with traditional methods. In broad terms, a team can be defined as something more than a group of persons having complementary skills coming together to achieve specified objectives or goals. No doubt, a team is a group of people, but, whereas a group of people in a team may be focused more as a tool for discussion or sharing information which would enable achievement of departmental targets, a team has a broader purpose of achieving specific common goals which gives them more autonomy and power to make and implement decisions for achieving specific and common goals. In other words, a team is much more than a group of individuals. Some of the major categories in which teams fall are enumerated below. This is done with a view to highlight the fact that there is no homogeneity in the nature and constitution of teams. Organizations constitute teams suited to their style of functioning and hence a brief mention of such categories largely prevalent would be useful for the purpose of this paper. Self-Managing Teams:
Otherwise known as self-regulated teams, they comprise of a small group of persons who absorb and handle functions which were originally performed by supervisors. The overall goals are determined by the team leader, but the tasks are carried out by its members. By and large, self-managing teams enjoy considerable degree of autonomy. Cross-functional Teams:
They are multi-disciplinary in nature and consist of members from across functional areas, as finance, marketing, human resources etc; These teams seek to take advantages of special expertise of their members, but what really distinguishes a cross-functional team from the rest is, experts from outside the company could also be drawn to given the team truly a comprehensive character better facilitated to achieve the goals of the organization. Manager-driven Teams:
Here, the manager is the team-leader who assumes the responsibility of not only setting the team goals, but also for assigning the tasks, getting them implemented through close monitoring, take corrective measures as frequently as needed in order to achieve the goals of the organization. By its very nature, there is very little autonomy in these teams as only the head leads and the rest follows.
The explosion in technology has brought into existence these types of teams which by its very description beat distance, time and space. The team members perform their tasks from any location without...