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The New Why Teams Don't Work by Harvey Robbins, Michael Finley

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chapter 8 Unresolved Roles

When we were kids, we didn’t worry about roles and responsibilities. We swarmed through the neighborhood, doing what we pleased or what we were told, until we got distracted and did something else. We were an army without ranks, a tribe of generalists, a corporation without job titles—a nonhierarchical, de-layered, super-flattened, inverted-pyramid, matrix/cluster mob. And we liked it.

Fast-forward to the preteam era, the 1960s and 1970s, and the workplace was lousy with roles. Every worker had a job description. Every job description described exactly what a worker’s tasks, roles, and working relationships were. Both, as a rule, were defined quite narrowly—second-level lab technician, plastics; assistant to first-level ...

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