Friday, October 26, 2012



Like all organizations and sub-units of organizations, teams have presented as necessarily contextual in nature. What outcomes particular team building organizations have sought to achieve, have helped to define their contexts. In recent discussions with colleagues, I proposed a role reversal of sorts, with relationships serving as the targeted outcomes and activities of production, service, and distribution serving as means to achieve those outcomes. Even when they exist in simple structures and have otherwise simple missions, goals, objectives, and tasks; organizations and their teams have also presented as complex, adaptive, and dynamic entities (Argyris, 1957; Arrow, McGrath, & Berdahl, 2000; Stacey, 2007). In that regard, viewing relationships as ends would likely add additional complexity, especially from researchers’ perspectives, since output, profit, or some combination of those and other constructs, like those included in a "balanced scorecard" (Kaplan & Norton, 1996), have typically served as the “normal” bottom lines in most traditional Western organizations. In any case, however, four broad-based questions seem to emerge when considering the associated dimensions related to relationships as outcomes; and arguably, these could represent a typology that encompasses team selection, whether viewing relationships as means or as ends for given organizations. These questions include:

  • Do organizations place conditions on those who perform team selection, and if so, what do those conditions consist of?

  • How do functional supervisors or others “in charge” and tasked with the job, actually decide who will serve on their organizations’ teams?

  • Do the criteria for selection for formal team leadership differ from those of general team membership and should they?

  • Do the criteria and concerns regarding selection for and membership in local, face-to-face, functional teams differ from those of international, multicultural, virtual, and cross-functional teams, and if so, how?


Argyris, C. (1957). Personality and organization. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Arrow, H., McGrath, J. E., & Berdahl, J. L. (2000). Small groups as complex systems: Formation, coordination, development, and adaptation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (1996). The balanced scorecard: Translating strategy into action. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Stacey, R. (2007). The challenge of human interdependence: Consequences for thinking about the day to day practice of management in organizations. European Business Review, 19(4), 292-302.

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