Are "Teams" a meaningful unit of learning? LO13475
Thu, 1 May 1997 14:23:54 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13363 --

In a message dated 97-04-25 02:44:56 EDT, you write:

>What does it mean for a team to have learned something?

Maybe thinking in terms of the team's level of sophistication in managing
informaiton and forming itself differently in response to new challenges
from the environment could be a wy to measure 'team learning.'

>Where is the locus of that learning? (If it's in "the relationships
>between the team members," then which relationships are we talking about,
>and how do relationships store the learning?) "

Here again, it may be the capacity for the team-as-a-whole to manage its
relations with the environment, i.e., other departments, task groups, etc.
where this can be seen. I would expect to see the learning team able to
functionally subgroup around issues and not take information shared in the
work personally.

>If I had a "learning" team in front of me, side-by-side with a
>non-learning team, how would I tell them apart?

I would say that the learning teams level of development would be that of
a mature working group wherein roles are shared and distributed so as to
support task accomplishment. The social and emotional needs of the group
would be getting about 30% of the groups energy and the rest going to the
task. One could measure this allocation using existing measurement tools.
(Group Development Questionnaire) The non learning group would be likely
to be more involved in positioning and power dynamics within the team and
information would be more used for ammunition than communication and

Marvin Berman
Organizational Systems Consulting


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