Chapter Eleven Teams and Teamwork

B. G. Dale, J. Bamford, D. Bamford and A. van der Wiele


The development of people and their involvement in improvement activities both individually and through teamwork is a key feature in a company's approach to TQM and Strategic Process Improvement (SPI). A key aspect of this is making full use of the skills and knowledge of all employees to the benefit of the individuals and the organization and to create a group culture. There are a number of different types of teams with different operating characteristics, all of which can act as a vehicle for getting people involved in improvement activities and improving organizational performance. Teams can be found everywhere and for almost everything, and most organizations have them. Some teams have a narrow focus, with members coming from one functional area; others are wider and cross-functional, dealing with the deep-rooted problems between internal customers and suppliers. Each type of team has its advantages.

It is sometimes the case that management will decide to launch some form of team activity as part of an improvement initiative, put the members together and expect the team to work in an effective manner without training, coaching, direction, management attention, counselling or team-building. In such circumstances it is little wonder that the team may flounder within a few months of its creation.

This chapter, which is based on research on teams and practical experience of ...

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