TYPES OF TEAMS
Teams can do a variety
things. They can make products, provide services, negotiate deals,
coordinate projects, offer advice, and make decisions.6 In this section we'll describe the four
most common types
teams you're likely to find in an organization:
self-managed work teams, cross-fictional teams,
virtual teams (see
If we look back
years or so, teams were just beginning to grow in popularity, and most
those teams took similar form. These were typically composed
5 to 12 hourly employees from
the same department who met for a few hours each week to discuss ways
efficiency, and the work environment.7 We call these problem-solving teams.
In problem-solving teams,. members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work processes and
methods can be improved. Rarely, however, are these teams given the authority to unilaterally
their suggested actions.
the most widely practiced applications
problem-solving teams during the 1980s was
quality circles.8 As described in Chapter 7, these are work teams
eight to ten employees and
supervisors who have a shared area of responsibility and meet regularly to discuss their quality
problems, investigate causes
the problems, recommend solutions, and take corrective actions.
Self-Managed Work Teams Problem-solving teams were on the right track but they didn't go far
enough in getting employees involved in work-related decisions and processes. This led to
perimentation with truly autonomous teams that could not only solve problems but implement
solutions and take full responsibility for outcomes.
Self-managed work teams are groups
to 15 in number) who perform
highly related or interdependent jobs and take on many
supervisors.9 Typically, this includes planning and scheduling
work,. assigning tasks to
members, collective control over the pace
work, making operating decisions, taking action on
problems, and working with suppliers and customers. Fully self-managed work teams even select
their own members and have the members evaluate each other's performance. As a result, su-
pervisory positions take on decreased importance and may even be eliminated.
A factory at Eaton Corp's Aeroquip Global Hose Division provides an example of how self-
managed teams are being used in industry to Located in the heart of Arkansas' Ozark Mountains,
this factory makes hydraulic hose that is used in trucks, tractors, and other heavy equipment. In
1994, to improve quality and productivity, Eaton. ,Aeroquip's management threw out the
assembly line and organized the plant's 285 workers into more than SO self-managed teams.
Workers were suddenly free to participate in decisions that were previously reserved solely for