Self-Directed Work Teams

Pages: 7 (2275 words) Published: October 19, 2009
“Critically examine the effectiveness of self-directed work teams”

Self-managed work teams can be defined as a small number of employees with paired skills, talents and knowledge and are all attached to a particular goal and approach, and for which they are themselves personally accountable. Self-governing work teams usually engage workers within a particular field, or employees who are working on a common product or process. Self-managed work team normally can be of any range between 12 to 15workers (Kathy and Deborah 2007, 27). The team takes all the decisions which previously would have been taken by the management and they are responsible for the decisions taken. The teams might work in collaboration with the organisation’s suppliers or clients or both at the same time. The purpose of this essay is to critically examine to what extent self-directed work teams are really effective to businesses and to employees, that is, how advantageous it is to both parties and to also examine its disadvantages and drawbacks that it brings along with it once it is implemented.

Enhanced solutions and increased morale
One great advantage of self-directed work teams is that it provides better solutions. A number of employees combined together will increase the synergy and the group will come with better ideas and solutions compared to if they were working individually. Second advantage is that when employees work in teams, they receive more support from their fellow team mates than if they were to work in a non-team environment. This helps to forge better and healthier social bonds between members and it leads to a socially and psychologically healthy work environment which is a crucial factor for a team to be successful. Therefore a healthy working environment plus support from other employees will definitely encourage employees to perform better (Jennifer 2003, 38). However, when working in teams, very often an employee has to accept decisions made by the team as a whole even if he does not really agree to it. For example an employee might propose a solution to a dilemma which he thinks is the best solution to solve that dilemma, but however most of the team members do not see the solution as the right one and the other employee is forced to accept the team’s decision. Furthermore, in the self-managed work team concept, workers have to maintain and carry out their relationships with their fellow employees and this can be very painful, especially if employees do not have good communication and interpersonal skills, or if training is not provided to them regarding these issues (Kathy and Deborah 2007, 27).

Increased information and better use of assets
Also in a team, all members are connected together and this can lead to various untapped opportunities and new working experiences. All of which would have been impossible if the employees would have been working individually. All employees in the team are exposed to their other team mates’ work and ideas and this can increase their productivity in their own tasks. Also true is that nowadays many corporations are looking for means and ways to reduce waste and cost so as to become more competitive than their competitors, and working in teams actually does this trick. Working in teams allows the corporation to share human capital, material resources and financial resources without actually increasing any other costs in the long run (Jessica and Leslie 2009, 535). Nonetheless, in the short run, teams are costly to put into operation. In the very beginning, decrease in output (till the time they get used to the concept) and increase in training costs should be expected. Very often, during the transition period, unnecessary systems must also be retained. Human resource systems such as the performance management and compensation system have to be redesigned and this can be a lot pricey (Stefanie and Brian 2008, 62).

Increased output
However, in the very beginning, teams are bound...

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