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Self-directed work teams and how organization can enhance both productivity and growth

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz 2011 9 Seiten

BWL - Unternehmensführung, Management, Organisation

Leseprobe

Table of Contents

Introduction

What is a self-directed work team

Job Design

Why Empowerment is critical for the success of self-directed work teams

How self-directed teams through employment can enhance both productivity and growth

Conclusion

References

Introduction

As a usual human beings, employees make different in importance day to day decisions. People teach their children and others’ children some new skills, develop their and others’ talents, buy stuff like houses, cars, vacations, life and etc. But there is a question, what do these people do in their job, how much and how many people are involved in important decision making in their work place? How much these people are empowered to make such decisions that could affect positively or negatively to their company? Hence, we need to underline the functions of self-directed work teams as an intervention and a new model that will create a very good opportunities for the managers as well as for the normal employees to gain the highest productivity rates, effectiveness of problem-solving and increase the moral, so all employees could be motivated to bring profit for the organization.

If a company wants to be successful, prosperous and create a good environment that is rooted in mutual trust, collaborative work, quick task managing, imaginative problem solving, then management should start to value, invest, and cooperate with organization’s valuable assets, which are employees. The result of this investments will be phenomenal, it will clearly show the level of employee motivation, productivity, creativity, high level of responsibility and willingness to manage a certain task/project, which is going to lead the company straight to greater profitability and growth. In this report you will find out what self-directed work team is, association with job design and characteristics of these work teams, furthermore, I will identify why empowerment is so vital for the success of the self-directed work teams and, finally, how these groups can enhance productivity and growth through employment.

What is a self-directed work team

There are two very similar concepts called self-directed work teams and self-managed work teams, they are almost the same, but there is a difference. The difference is that self-directed work teams have their personal common objectives which are decided by the members of the team, disparate self-managed work teams for whom the task is already defined from beyond of the team. Self-directed work team are small groups of, typically, employees who have duty and clear task for managing their job themselves.

“Self-directed work teams are groups of inter-reliant individuals that can self-manage their activities on entire tasks”, ( Cummings & Griggs, 1977; Goodman, Devadas & Hughson, 1988). These work teams may be permanent or temporary teams gathered up to work out certain tasks, problems or to produce, develop a new product.

Normally, people in the self-directed work teams have various skills applicable to the tasks or problems which are being managed and solved. Usually, these work teams are operating in manufacturing plants, more progressively in service industries like insurance companies, governmental agencies and financial organizations. Team members usually manage certain situational assignments, arrange and schedule work, make production-related decisions, and take the plunge on problem-solving. Fisher. K, New York, McGraw-Hill (1993) defines a concept of self-directed work teams as “a group of employees who have day to day responsibility for managing themselves and the work they do with a minimum of direct supervision.”

Advantages of self-directed teams

Why is this concept of self-directed teams growing? More and more organizations as I’ve mentioned in different fields are using these concept and by having such kind of teams companies achieve their goals faster and design something new more frequently. Self-directed work teams are resulting following aspects:

- Enhanced quality, efficiency and better service.
- Better elasticity.
- Cheaper operating costs.
- Quicker reactions to technological adjustments.
- Reduction of simpler job classifications.
- Enhance on the value of workers.
- Greater employee loyalty.
- Capability to magnetize and keep the best people.

Job Design

Self-directed work teams are linked with following job dimensions, such as, Skill variety, Task identity, Task significance, Autonomy, Job feedback .

- Skill variety is a difference and amount of skill and talents that are being used by self-directed work teams.
- Task identity is when a team is fully responsible for the entire and defined work/task.
- Task significance is when self-directed team members witness their impact, on one another, other employees, whole organization and customers, by their performance.
- Autonomy occurs when self-directed work teams set objectives, make work agendas, reward and discipline members of the team and decide on their work plans by themselves. Consequently it is when these work teams have freedom of setting and planning all these stuff.
- Job feedback is very vital, because by feedback team members can see the real effect of the job which was planned, then managed. Self-directed work team members can see their results through different figure, charts, information from outside, from customers.

Groups including these five job dimensions are expected to have complete self-directed work team.

Characteristics of Self-Directed Work Teams

As I have mentioned before, self-directed work team members consist of people with different skills and talents, in addition, these employees are from various departments, and team members share their knowledge, experience among the group mates in order to develop new product, design something new or conduct a product lunch program. Each of these team mates learn from each other during the sharing knowledge process. Moreover, there are several characteristics to have a very good functioning self-directed work team:

- Joint responsibility – when the responsibility is assigned among team member, which brings to success of the task, by giving to each member of a group to feel fully invested in these accomplishment of a project. Employees in self-directed work team start work better, they tend to be more motivated, because of being fully devoted.
- Interdependence – A feeling of dependence among the group enhances the success of the self-directed work team. When there is a sense of interdependence in the team, they work together, giving chances to each other to concentrate on their own tasks, responsibilities and they trust to the other members to deliver on their duties, and not to worry about their team mates completing their projects.
- Empowerment – It is much easier to manage project for self-directed work teams when they feel more empowered. Nowadays most organizations using SDWT, give more authority for them in order to have their problems solve and projects managed faster, because SDWT accomplish job much productive when there is no need to additional approval, when they have as much power as managers.
- Common Goal – Normally Self-directed work team members should have and go on towards jointly confirmed goals. As it was mentioned, SDWT are interdependent to each other, if one will have another goal or something else on his/her mind, the project will fail! But if team members together identify their goal and start following it, they will reach their objectives and accomplish their goals.

Why Empowerment is critical for the success of self-directed work teams

Empowerment is a process of providing authority to a person or a group of people for making certain decisions in job. Empowering the employees in self-directed work teams, giving to each team member certain power provides them with opportunities to make their own decision regarding their task/project, brings to quick accomplishment of a particular job and gives the feeling of responsibility which increases moral of a team.

According to Thomas, Potterfield. (“The Business of Employee Empowerment: Democracy and Ideology in the Workplace.” Quorum Books, 1999, p.6) – “Employee empowerment is considered by many organizational theorists and practitioners to be one of the most important and popular management concepts of our time.” Moreover, it is a fact that empowerment is an efficient handling of manager’s authority. Because, there were some cases that CEOs were giving to the certain teams one task/provide them with goal, and without defining the authorities among these group, hence, there were occurring some interpersonal, and general problems which were stagnating the project accomplishment! Thus, management should identify the authorities first and then give the team the work that should be done collectively. In addition, in order to surpass the problems that might occur in the team, management should conduct some training program that would help the team to know each other better and to know how to work with each other.

Empowerment of SDWT guides to better development of each team members potentials; increase the motivation on performing any job, loyalty, the feeling of being needed and the important one to do the job without any doubts.

How self-directed teams through employment can enhance both productivity and growth

Self-directed work teams are relatively new and the techniques are still being developed, but they were formed for competitive reasons, these teams result positively on companies earnings. SDWT are very effective for the organizations, and they have demand for employees, because each individual, I would say, is a very important piece of a puzzle. Thus, in self-directed work teams, members are interdependent to each other, and they are more competent in completing jobs/problem-solving, developing new ideas that are related to improving work performance and quality of the tasks than traditional work groups. Also, how many employees should be in the SDWT is depending on the size of the organization, if a it’s big, than it requires more people to be gathered, but usually there are from 5-15 people, mostly 9 people in larger companies. In addition to the stated above I would like to give you example of a PR agency in Uzbekistan, called Maslov-PR Company. I personally work in this company and our team consists of 4 individuals. Each of us are professionals on our own fields and languages (we are separated in languages too), everyone has his/her own project which is interdependent to the whole team. As the projects are becoming bigger and bigger we need to enlarge our team because we are lack of creative minds and people to deal with a particular project.

Conclusion

Generally, I would like to add that studies about self-directed work teams are showing that they are illustrating more and more positive effects on growth, productivity and earnings of the company. They can lead to efficiency, effectiveness, employee and customer satisfaction, productivity, growth and to competitive advantage, but there are still so many companies which tend to think that it doesn’t bring any of those mentioned. The reason is a some real world examples, when such teams were collapsed because of inter-personal problems which stopped the projects and had brought a lot of problems for some companies. Therefore, to have successful SDWT, teams need to be carefully implemented. Empowerment is very crucial in implementing it in self-directed work teams, because it puts more responsibility upon these teams which create greater productivity and better communication. In addition, Management must be sure of employee empowerment and build up a management strategy that completely supports the empowerment program or sooner or later it will not thrive and fail. If management will invest on and support its self-managed teams, they will obviously succeed.

References

-Joel Childs, ( 1996 - Chicago, IL), “Empowerment in Action: Self-Directed Work Teams on the Job”, retrieved from http://www.ism.ws/pubs/proceedings/confproceedingsdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=10014

-Dean Elmuti, (1997) “Self-managed work teams approach: creative management tool or a fad?” Management Decision.”

- Ron Williams, (1995), “Self-Directed Work Teams: A Competitive Advantage”, retrieved from http://www.qualitydigest.com/nov95/html/self-dir.html

- http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning/self-directed-teams

- http://managementhelp.org/groups/self-directed-groups.htm

- http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/employee-development-team-building/571324-1.html

- Wellins, R., Byham, W., & Wilson, J. (1991). “Empowered teams: Creating self-directed work groups that improve quality, productivity and participation”, retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004april/tt1.php

- http://www.urenio.org/tools/en/employee_involvement.pdf

-http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/self-directed-work-team

- Julian Holmes, Co-founder of UPMentors ( July 2010), “Developing self-directed work teams”, retrieved from http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/36320

- Nancy K. Franz ( April 2004), “Self-Directed Work Teams: The Antidote for "Heroic Suicide”, retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004april/tt1.php

Details

Seiten
9
Jahr
2011
Dateigröße
551 KB
Sprache
Englisch
Katalognummer
v190927
Note
A
Schlagworte
self-directed

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Titel: Self-directed work teams and how organization can enhance both productivity and growth