Self Managed Teams

By The Bailey Group

“What are the Key Factors for Self-Managed Team Success?”

These authors discuss key factors for self-managed team success. They take a look at two self-directed work teams in public agencies: The Federal Sales Team and the Section 8 Housing Team. This piece highlights an assessment of team performance and team design issues.  The article identified seven factors that attribute to the success or failure of a work group. These factors include: team size, pay and rank, role of team leader, management support, clear goals, education and training, and information systems. According to the research team performance is high when 1. Teams outputs meet the standards of customers 2. Teams can expect to maintain that level of output 3. The team member’s personal needs and developed are met.

1.  Barnes, Debra, and Dale Yeats. “What are the Key Factors for Self-Managed Team Success?” Journal for Quality & Participation (1996): 1-13.

“Self Managed Work Teams Approach: Creative Management Tool or a Fad?”

This article examines the positive and negative aspects of self directed work teams. The main point in the piece is that self managed work teams are positive, empowering and can save millions of dollars; however, the article warns self managed work teams have the ability to fail and become counter productive. Employees feel empowerment through self directed teams which leads to improved working conditions, self-development, and greater opportunities for expression. Although the author points out many positive outcomes from self directed work teams he also provides the reader with some of the negative results from these work groups. Elmuti claims many times self managed groups run the risk of lacking plans, abusing authority, and underestimating the amount of time necessary to complete a task. Since the outcomes of self managed work teams have the ability to be very positive, the author closes the article with strategies for successful teams.

2.  Elmuti, Dean. “Self Managed Work Teams Approach: Creative Management Tool or a Fad?” MCB University Press.

“Buzzword BINGO.”

This article starts out humorous with the top ten reasons you know you are listening to corporate speak too much. The examples are funny but true.  It then shifts to a more serious tone and discusses some of the reasons work teams either thrive or fail. The authors suggest that successful teams teach members to gain control over themselves and their futures. They are also empowered, self willed people who want to do well. On the other hand, the authors argue most teams fail because of a lack of communication. The article offers five aspects teams must master in order to be successful. First, teams must have wholeness. Second, teams have to be self aware. Third, a great team has to have self confidence. Fourth, the team must have openness to others. Fifth, a successful team must be flexible.

3.  Hensey, Mel, and Brian J. Lewis. “Buzzword BINGO.” Journal of Management Engineering (2000): 1-2.

“Team Self Management, Organizational Structure, and Judgments of Team Effectiveness.”

These authors have synthesized research on self managed work teams and have concluded their findings in this article. They have identified the fact that self managed teams have become popular in today’s work environment. Part of the reason these teams have become so popular is because of reports that claim self managed teams increase performance, improve products, an increase innovation. Although there are some highly successful work teams this article points to some of the research that suggests self managed teams are slow and unsuccessful. The authors concluded that there are many variables that effect whether or not a work team is successful. This analysis of self managed work teams is very thorough and provides great insight.

4.  Prasad, Sameer, and Jasmine Tata. “Team Self Management, Organizational Structure, and Judgments of Team Effectiveness.” Journal of Managerial Issues (2004): 248-265.

“Success with Self-Managed Teams and Partnering.”

In this piece the author describes self managed teams (SMTs) at Kanbay Resources Inc. Kanbay Resources is an information technology consulting firm.  It highlights a model for growth, which is referred to as Globally Elegant Organization (GEO). The author describes the process self managed team go through using early benchmarks and learning. Some of the challenges self managed group go through are described as uneven early team performances.  The author highlights the positive and negative outcomes self managed teams have when partnering with consulting firms.

5.  Spencer, Raymond J. “Success with Self-Managed Teams and Partnering.” Journal for Quality & Participation (1995): 1-8.

“How is Your Leadership Changing?”

This article argues that leadership has taken a great leap backwards and that employees are suffering under command and control. In today’s workforce, employees do not need command and control, employees need opportunities to engage out intelligence. It is suggested that many times employees come ready and willing to do good work and share their ideas and that many times it is the leaders who are holding them back. The author offers the reader ways to create smart and resilient organizations through leaders who care. According to this author if a leader has to be feared, they have failed as a leader. Assuming that this is the case in many organizations the author offers some guidelines in creating smart resilient organizations and how to asses changes in leadership.

6.  Wheatly, Margaret. “How is Your Leadership Changing?” Leader at Large (1995): 17-18.