Are "Teams" a meaningful unit of learning? LO13479

Michael Gort (
Mon, 5 May 1997 20:02:09 -0400

Replying to LO13443 -- wrote in LO13443:

>Me, too. I wasn't advocating upper management involvement in
>self-directed teams. I was observing that I've never heard of a case
>where a self-directed team was delegated the budgetary and resource
>allocation authority to follow through on their suggestions without at
>least running it by top management first. (Unless the self-directed team
>itself is comprised of people with budgets.) Thus, in practice, top
>management can squelch attempts to learn by withholding resources that
>the team deems necessary.


I have experienced the chilling effect that lack of senior management
support puts on any self-directed effort. However, there is a theme
through much of the literature that says looking outside of the system for
"blame" is not productive. The team generally has some resources, and can
usually plan on using those existing resources differently, accomplishing
more, although not maybe all, of its suggestions. I have also experienced
teams that followed that course who subsequently were granted all the
resources they needed to complete the job. So the question becomes, why
can't any team decide to take a stand and do what is within its boundaries
to accomplish change? Part of this has to do with our mental model of
what constitutes "the organization". At some level, all the way down to
operating teams, we all have control over some set of resources and
capacity. At that level, we can choose to live the concepts of a learning
organization as best we can.

Mike Gort


"Michael Gort"<>

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