Types of Teams

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Types of Teams: Four types of teams can be identified in organizations today: (1) workteams, (2) parallel teams, (3) project teams, and (4) management teams. Work Teams : Work teams are continuing work units responsible for producing goods or providing services. Their membership is typically stable, usually full-time, and well-defined (Cohen, 1991). Work teams are found both in manufacturing and service settings; example include mining crews, apparel manufacturing teams and audit teams. Traditionally, work teams have been directed by supervisors who make most of the decisions about what is done, how it is done, and who does it. More recently, an alternative form of work team, called self-managing ( but also called autonomous, semi-autonomous, self-directing, empowered ) is gaining favor. Self-managing work teams involves employees in making decisions that were formerly made by supervisors and managers. Typically, the members of self-managing work teams are cross-trained in a variety of skills relevant to the tasks they perform. Examples include self-managing engineering workshop teams and telecommunications teams. Companies have implemented self-managing teams to reduce costs, to improve productivity, and to improve quality. Parallel Teams: Parallel teams gather people from different work units or jobs to perform functions that the regular organization is not equipped to perform well ( Ledford, Lawler & Mohrman, 1988; Stein & Kanter, 1980 ). They literally exist in parallel with the formal organizational structure. They generally have limited authority and can only make recommendations to individuals higher up in the organizational hierarchy. Parallel teams are used for problem-solving and improvement-oriented activities. Examples include quality improvement teams, employee involvement groups, quality circles, and task forces. Parallel teams have been used for quite some time, but the continuing interest in quality and employee involvement has...
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