Frederick P. Morgeson
David J. Loring
Organizational life is complicated. A shifting competitive landscape, information overload, and the need to do more with less all contribute to the dizzying pace and ambiguity. In an attempt to deal with these challenging demands, most organizations have embraced teams as a way to structure work, relying on them to forge success. As the saying goes, "All of us are smarter than any one of us." Teams have become ubiquitous in organizations around the globe. Automotive production teams assemble the cars we drive; research teams develop new drugs that save lives; airline crews transport millions safely; surgical and firefighting teams save lives with skill and feats of heroism; governmental negotiation teams decide the fate of nations; sports teams thrill (and sometimes disappoint) us with their feats on the field of play; and top management teams make the decisions that can have a profound impact on organizations and their workers.
But it is not enough to simply put a group of people together and point them toward a dimly imagined goal. Although human beings have been working together to accomplish vital outcomes since the beginning of humanity, teamwork does not come naturally to most people. Several key questions about successful teamwork persist. For example, one of the hallmarks of teams is that they are often given considerable autonomy or discretion in performing their work and ...