Team-based working is likely to be an increasing feature of Irish civil service organisational life in the coming years. Both permanent and temporary teams offer a means of tackling complex problems and enhancing service delivery. At the same time, teams can operate alongside the traditional hierarchy, which is needed to service other necessary functions effectively.
But in forming teams, managers need to give serious thought to a number of questions:
- Is a team-based approach the most appropriate? The nature of the problem or issue to be tackled must be examined to see if the setting up of a team is the right way to go.
- What type of team is most appropriate? If a team-based approach is chosen, does the situation call for temporary or permanent teams; a task force or a cross-functional team and so on?
- What organisational supports are needed to ensure that the team operates effectively? Does the team have a clear idea of its task and performance goals, the necessary mix ofskills, and sufficient resources to do the job? In particular, the issue of boundary management – managing the interface of the team and the organisation regarding implementation issues –must be addressed.
- What team supports are needed? Should a team leader be appointed, and does the leader need training and development? Training and development for team members in interpersonal skills and group analysis and decision-making are also needed, as is information systems support.
It is only in addressing such questions that departments and offices will ensure that team-based working enhances performance and job satisfaction.