Developing an Effective Self-Managed Work Team in the 21st Century Organization

4044 Words Mar 19th, 2008 17 Pages
Developing an Effective Self-Managed Work Team in the 21st Century Organization

Originally thought of as a management fad, self-managed teams in an organization have become an increasingly common and accepted practice (Blackwell, Gibson & Tesone, 2003). What may have started from an innovative way to reduce management positions and increase employee involvement has now evolved into a crucial strategy to increase organization effectiveness and efficiency. However, many organizations are faced with the daunting task of determining the logistics of the team. The inability to effectively determine these important factors have resulted in many organizations failing in their mission to effectively utilize this concept (Elmuti, 1996).
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Whichever the case, it is imperative for success that the team is aware of what targets have been set. Communication of goals to employees is needed; however, the communication is not limited to just the members of the team but extends to all employees of the organization who may be affected by any decisions or changes generated by the team. This communication is best handled prior to the implementation and selection of the team.
The second area of consideration is training, not technical skills based training such as required to perform the job, but what are referred to as "soft-skills." The fundamental concept of self-managed teams utilizes front line employees and empowers these employees to make changes that affect the organization. However, in many cases these employees have not had the experience functioning in this type of group and may lack critical communication skills, conflict management and diversity awareness. Failure to recognize the need for training can lead to derailment of the team. There are three areas of training that the organization needs to focus on for the self-managed work team.
The first area of training for the members of a self-managed team is communication. Communication is key within any high performance team, even more so within the self-managed team. This team is expected to "take off" with ideas, concepts and notions on

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