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Team Coordination in Extreme Environments by Cécile Godé

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Introduction

In recent years, the nature of coordination and the managerial devices developed to help businesses cope with challenges have been the subject of numerous empirical analyses. Whether they are confronted with problems related to extended supply chain restructuring [JAR 12], work-integration of geographically-dispersed project teams [SRI 11], building collective intelligence [ZAR 06, LEN 09] or putting together various competencies (for example [FAR 06, MEL 10]) organizations need to know how to support the coordination of teams that evolve in highly changing, uncertain and risky contexts [AUB 10].

This work endeavors to answer the following general question: how do we coordinate teams in extreme environments? Beyond an analysis of coordination “in the field”, it aims at offering managers active ways in which to implement devices that facilitate coordination within teams.

I.1. Coordination and team: proposed definitions

The coordination of various tasks evokes a founding question of management theories and is a major concern for organizations, whether public or private. As Fayol said, coordination is one of the five key principles of management, because “to coordinate is to harmonize all the activities of an organization so as to facilitate its working and success” [FAY 49].

The literature provides many definitions of coordination, focusing either on task integration – where converging efforts achieve coherence of dispersed activities – or on the interrelation of ...

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