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Teams: The Panacea?

Some consultants have suggested that we put workers into teams to solve the problems of low productivity, quality, and morale. As Musselwhite and Moran point out, that seems to ease the pain for a while, but eventually teams begin to wear off and the same difficulties return.

We don't want to parade out all of the latest research on the failure of teams and other techniques, but we just reviewed a report from employees of a rather large healthcare operation. When asked to rate the effectiveness of their teams, these healthcare employees rated them about 40 percent effective. Obviously, they were underwhelmed by teams. Some organizations have abandoned teams and reverted to various forms of discussion and problem-solving groups. Incidentally, most teams ultimately fail in organizations because the work of the organization doesn't require people to work in teams.

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