“the Central Principle Behind Self Managing Teams is That The

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“the central principle behind self managing teams is that the teams themselves, rather than managers, take responsibility for heir work, monitor their own performance, and alter their performance strategies as needed to solve problems and adapt to changing conditions” (Wagemam 1997, p49) Advantages of self managing teams according to Wageman (1997) are an enhancement of performance, organisational learning and adaptability, and commitment. It is common for companies to embrace the concept of tea
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  “the central principle behind self managing teams is that the teams themselves,rather than managers, take responsibility for heir work, monitor their ownperformance, and alter their performance strategies as needed to solve problemsand adapt to changing conditions” (Wagemam 1997, p49)Advantages of self managing teams according to Wageman (1997) are anenhancement of performance, organisational learning and adaptability, andcommitment.It is common for companies to embrace the concept of teams on the surface(Kirkman & Rosen 2000)“Self-managing teams are not as rare a phenomenon as what they used to be. Bydefinition, a self-managing team is a team that has formal responsibility andauthority for making their own decisions about how they organise their work andhow they decide on how they’re going to get their work done.” (Tesluk 2008)“instead of being told what to do by a supervisor, self managing workers mustgather and synthesis information, act on it, and take collective responsibility forthose actions” (Barker 1993 p.412)Barriers“in many US companies, teamwork is an ‘unnatural act’” Wageman 1997, p50), withorganisations having “long histories of hierarchical decision making cemented wit awork ethic based on individual achievement” (Wageman 1997, p50)“While research has demonstrated that self-managing tams have strong effects onemployee satisfaction and commitment, only modest effects (or none at all) havebeen found for productivity” Kirkman & Rosen 2000, p. 54) The three basic characteristics that Wageman (1997) highlights for self managingteams as taking personal responsibility for the outcomes of their team’s work,monitoring their own performance and seeking information about how well they areperforming, and altering performance strategies are not restricted to self managingteams… (XXXXX) and can be used as indicators of motivated, conscientiousemployees (find someone who talks about high performing teams and compareattributes).Factors basically come down to how manager interacts with teams, and how theteam is set up. – behavioural and structural“value-based corporate vision that team members use to infer parameters andpremises (norms and rules)” (Barker 1993, p. 413) Authority  “Authority to manage the work means that the team – and not the leader – hasdecision rights over basic work strategies” (Wageman 1997, p. 56)Design of a team has a significantly larger impact than coaching (Wageman 1997)on the success of self management, and that poor coaching can be detrimental. This is backed up by in Wageman’s (2001) assertion that coaching is only aneffective strategy when teams are already functional.“while many decisions might ‘officially’ belong to the team, some leadersfrequently intervened… these interventions compromise a team’s sense of ownership for the work” (Wageman 1997, p9) – ie. Relates back to accountability,because if a leader owns the decision, they own the mistake.Wageman (1997) suggests that performace issues such as distribution of awardsand appraisal should still be decided by management, as they pertain to context,rather than work“setting up a team right in the first place and ensuring that it has the neededresources are critical leadership functions” (Wageman 1997, p59) Tesluk (2008) introduces the concept of the “authority balance beam”, wherebyleaders need to know when to intervene, and when to leave teams be, even if mistakes will be made Power Kirkman & Rosen look to Drucker’s revision of his work on self-managed teams,particularly the issues around longevity and suggest that self managing teams onlyexperience one of the four factors necessary for empowerment, autonomy,asserting that as a result, self- managing teams miss out on the other three factorsof potency, meaningfulness and impact which contribute to enhancing teamoutcomes.It’s about how the leader uses their power, with Wageman (1997) suggesting thatthe role of the leader is varied over time, shifting from that of a designer, to amidwife, to a coach.Power presents issues beyond those in formal management roles, with Sinclair(1992) highlighting that political tactics and affiliations are a normal part of teams,and that team ideology downplays the role of unofficial power seekers and holdersin teams. “Autonomous teams might have the formal authority to make decisions, butthere are many organisational factors that influence the decision makingprocess” (de Leede et al 1999, p210)  “Decision-makers have many relationships with superiors, colleagues and customers. If these people do not approve of what seems to be responsible behaviour, even if it meetsthe official organisational norms, it is difficult for the decision-makers to act in what they believe to be a responsible manner” (de Leede et al 1999, p210) … this is about political power  teams created thieon own control, with those members who were new and had notshred formative experiences subject to concertive control of the existing teamthrough established rules and norms (Barker 1993) Accountability Wageman (1997) states that performing self-managing teams will take personalresponsibility for the outcomes of the team’s work. “Delegation of authority to self-managing teams is not enough to make them accountable….Team responsibility requires a collective mind and appropriate organisational factors if thedelegation of responsibility is to be taken seriously. Otherwise, teams cannot be held accountableand the team’s responsibilities are only limited. Mainstream literature on empowerment oftenignores these preconditions .” (de Leede et al 1999, p215) Other Self managing teams are highly susceptible to groupthink, which results in poordecision making (Moorhead et al 1998).“self managing teams’ ability to choose and adapt their structures hasimportant implications for their performance.” (Langfred 2007 p. 885)“Since trust is defined as the willingness to incur risk (Mayer et al., 1995),members will be more willing to incur that risk and grant one anotherautonomy when they trust one another. Conversely, in the absence of trust,team members will be less willing to expose themselves to the risk of relyingon others by agreeing to greater individual autonomy.” (Langfred 2007, p.888)“members of self-managing teams are reluctant to deal with conflict andoften ignore or avoid it. Li and Hambrick (2005) found that relationshipconflict led to avoidance, reduced interaction, and alienation of members”(Langfred 2007, p. 889)  Tesluk, P. 2008, ‘Self managing teams: debunking the leadership paradox’, INSEAD Knowledge, viewed25 June 2009, < http://knowledge.insead.edu/SelfManagingTeams080809.cfm> Moorhead, G. Neck, C.P. West, M.S. 1998, The Tendency Toward Defective DecisionMaking within Self-Managing Teams: The relevance of groupthink for the 21 st CenturyDe Leed, J. Nijhof, A.H.J, Fisscher, O.A.M. 2001, The myth of self managing teams: Areflection on the allocation of responsibilities between individuals, teams and theorganisation, Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 21, no.2-3, pp203-215Langfred, C.M. 2007, The Downside of Self-Managemet: A Longitudinal Study of theEffects of Conflict on Trust, Autonomy, and Task Interdependence in Self- Managing Teams,  Academy of Management Journal , vol. 50, no. 4, pp885-900
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