Self-Managed Work Teams 2 Self-managed work teams are groups of employee who are responsible for a complete set of tasks and duties which are related to the production of a final product or an on going process. Self-managed work teams are the wave of the future, It is estimated that "Self-managed teams have been credited with hundreds of millions of dollars, achieving conceptual breakthroughs and introducing unparalleled number of new products" (Elmuti, 1997). These teams are formed through interviews and research of all available employees in order to chose the best possible combination of skills. Yandrick (2001), Self-managed work teams can be characterized by features such as multiple skills, common purpose, interdependence, authority and accountability. The better a team is fitted with the right skills and elements the greater the results and benefits received by the department or the company as a whole. Self managed work teams should have a clear and identifiable goal, and success measurement in order to achieve the outcome desired by management and succeed at the goal prescribed.
Attaran and Nguyen (1999) concluded that self-managed work teams are usually more productive and aggressive in their approach to problem solving. Also, when compared to typical hierarchical management, self-managed teams were found to exhibit more enthusiasm, camaraderie and shared responsibility instead of backbiting and protecting information. In addition, whereby self-managed work teams have flexible tasks, multi-skilled, with interchangeable roles and a cohesive work effort, traditional management rigid tasks and specialized skills, fixed roles and divided work efforts. According to Attaran and Nguyen (1999), team members should have a variety of skills and experiences and are encouraged to develop new ones to increase their knowledge and their value to the team. Teams permit performance and learning at the same time. There is no better way to become a learning organization than to have a team based structure which strives on people learning from each others.
Also, self-managed work teams are expected to "lead to improved working conditions, greater opportunities for expression, self-development for participating employees... , to increase productivity, increase market share, improve pricing, and cost reduction" (Elmuti 1997). Work teams represent a unique set of individuals with different knowledge, skills and Self-Managed Work Teams 3 attributes. It is like a football team where you have many players with different skills that all have to come together to form a viable team that can compete. It is very important that differences be taken into account when dividing up tasks among members. Although each member of a self-managed team has a unique goal and a team goal, each member has to find a way to achieve his or her individual goal while still attaining the team goal (Attaran & Nguyen, 1999).
Even though many companies achieved great results using self-managed work teams, there are significant challenges associated with the implementation of self-managed teams. Duh aime and Renn (1998), self-managed work teams achieving the highest degrees of success received a great deal of training prior to implementation. Training can be expensive and will divert employees from their daily responsibilities which will add to the total costs. Self-managed teams are not a quick fix to an organization problems. It is a long costly process and an on-going learning process for all the employees which can create a lot of problems because many employees are not comfortable learning and updating their skills constantly. In addition, management could be threatened by their loss of power to work teams and could resist change.
And, not all workers are comfortable working in groups and under scrutiny of peers and it is hard sometimes to limit free-riders because of the variety of skills and the self managed nature of the teams. Self-managed work teams are the wave of the future and a must for any company or organization aiming to succeed in the business world. Self-managed teams, although are costly to implement and takes a long time before the company reaps its rewards, are without a doubt a highly productive management tools. Self-Managed Work Teams 4 References Attaran, M. , & Nguyen, T. T.
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