Archives for April 1999

Training in the Team-Based Organization

Team-based organizations are growing at a rapid pace. Recent research estimates that ’40 to 50 percent of the workforce could be in some kind of empowered work team environment by the turn of the century’ (Manz et al. 1997, 4). In addition, as global competition forces organizations to become more productive ‘there is growing consensus that training must be at the forefront of their attempts to do so’ (Martocchio and Baldwin 1997, 7). It has been suggested that the way forward for individuals, organizations and economies through all the changes and enormous skill gaps is through training (Bentley 1990, 7). It has been found that in successful team-based organizations, new team members or leaders spend 20 percent of their first year in the team involved in training activities (Fisher 1993; Wellins 1992).

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Team Training: A Brief Look at the Options

Training is increasingly being recognized as integral to the effectiveness and performance of teams and to the satisfaction of team members. While the methods of team training vary depending on the developmental stage of the team and the reason for the training, most team training falls within the following types: in-house, off-site, simulation/role playing, peer-to-peer, and multi-team training, as well as self-directed learning.

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Self-Directed Work Teams: A Brief Description

Faced with global competition and rapid technological change, companies are forced to develop new organizational structures to meet the challenges facing them. One alternative that has gained popularity in recent years is the team-based organization. While there are varying approaches to the designing of a team environment, one common approach is the self-directed work team (SDWT). The SDWT is responsible for a relatively whole task, not just part of a job, and each of the team members possesses a variety of skills relevant to that task. As a result, the SDWT has behavioural control and decision-making autonomy at the work group level (Manz 1992). This increase in autonomy, however, does not preclude the need for leadership and direction. Two very important roles in the SDWT are the team leader and the team facilitator.

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Labour Management Relations in Canada: A Survey of Union Officials

Although several recent articles have underscored the importance of human resource management (HRM), employee involvement (EI), and labour-management cooperation (LMC), there has been very little research addressing these topics from the perspective of organized labour. In my meetings with union officials and employees, questions that frequently arise include: What are other unions doing? To what extent are other unions adopting LMC? Can unions cooperate with employers yet still meet employee and union goals? What are the risks/rewards of moving toward greater cooperation with management?

The present study is aimed at providing some practical information about labour-management relations across the country.

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Strategic Human Resources Management: Challenges and Opportunities

In this interview, IRC Senior Research Associate Mary Lou Coates talks to Dr. David Weiss about the challenges and opportunities in strategic human resources management. Dr. David Weiss is a Partner in the international organizational change and human resources consulting firm of Geller, Shedletsky & Weiss and a Senior Fellow of the Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre.

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