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Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, 2nd Edition by Rory Burke, Steve Barron

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Chapter 14

Team Roles

Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
  • Examine the roles that individuals can exhibit when in a team.
  • Investigate how these roles coexist and interrelate in teams.
  • Consider how team roles relate to project leadership.

In the previous chapter on Teams vs. Groups, we recognized that teams need to operate in a different way to groups and, to be effective, members of a team adopt specific behaviors in order for the team to perform.

A number of researchers have studied how members of teams interact as they participate in team activities. They propose that team members adopt a specific style within a team (the team role) that contributes to the team’s effectiveness. This style is distinct from the role undertaken in carrying out the technical work of the team, or the functional role. To differentiate:

Functional Role: The functional role refers to the job the team has been hired to do and members have been selected for their product knowledge, technical skill, work experience and practical ability in a particular area. Usually, their functional role is representative of the part of the organization they work within. This could be, for example, design, legal, accounts, sales or even subfunctions of engineering, such as mechanical or electrical.

Team Role: In a team, members also fulfill a team role which is their tendency to behave in a particular way, to contribute to the team’s effectiveness through their interrelationships with ...

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