Thinking Differently about Teams

Work teams were among the most popular workplace innovations of the last decade, as shown in a careful survey of 694 manufacturing organizations by MIT economist Paul Osterman. He found that more than half the companies surveyed were using teams to accomplish work—and that 40 percent of the companies surveyed had the majority of their employees working in teams.1 Findings from a 1998 survey of nearly 100 leading-edge companies by the Work in America Institute reinforce Osterman’s findings. When asked to identify the research topics that would have the greatest value to their organizations, 95 percent of the respondents gave highest priority to “teamwork: creating and sustaining team-based organizations.” ...

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