Misery One Teams Are for Every Organization

Organizations looking for ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness risk the tendency to force-fit the latest structural concept, like self-directed teams, into their organizations. Definite dangers exist with this line of thinking. Teams are not for every situation in an organization, department, or function. It is possible to have one area that is suitable for team implementation and the balance of the organization more suitable for remaining in the traditional hierarchical structure. Trying to implement teams in an organization or function where they are unsuitable is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

Misery Management. Because organizations require a receptive culture for successful implementation of teams, the key to the management of this misery centers on assessment of the culture of the organization and its receptivity to the team concept. If an organization does not appear receptive, the champion of the team idea needs to spend time influencing and preparing the organization for the team structure.

The spectrum of opportunity depicted in Exhibit 1 provides a starting point for the assessment of organizational culture. A valuable exercise for IS managers would be to plot the groups or functions within an organization in the appropriate quadrants. An enlightening conversation is sure to ensue if managerial staff and a cross section of employees are asked to do the same. The learning potential is great regardless of whether the groups surprisingly plot the organization the same or, better yet, plot the organization differently.

As Exhibit 3 illustrates, the works of Rensis Likert on organizational types are also helpful in assessing organizational receptivity to teams. The four quadrants also represent four different styles of decision making that corporations or individuals assume to varying degrees during the course of their work. Even the most participative of leaders or organizations balances the use of the exploitative-authoritarian style and other styles at certain times. In the case of self-directed teams, for example, a vice president who announces that an organization will move toward teams is working from the top left exploitive-authoritarian quadrant. The same person then moves into the participative quadrant to involve the other employees in the development and implementation of the directive.

Exhibit 3. Organizational Types (From R. Likert, New Patterns of Management and The Human Organization, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961 and 1967, respectively.)

6 xplo HJvs-Autlwrlls r Ian

' Manipulative rewards ■Top-down communications


■ Reniai approach management.


- Ma^agrme'-i listens to employees bu! reserves right ID decide.

■ Síflie relian« on Inlrinsie reivarfl&i most uased on extrinsic (i.e., monetary) rewards.


■ Intrinsic rewards predominóle.

■ Two-way wmjnunieallwi.

The first step IS managers should therefore take in assessing organizational readiness for the team structure is to consider and then compare the predominant management style of the larger organization in relation to their own personal style as well as to the style of the IS department or division. If the two styles widely differ, then the managers need to work on influencing the relationship between the two groups to gain organizational support for the transformation to self-directed teams. When the two groups share borders, there is less work to be done in preparing for the transformation.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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