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).
Chantal de la Rochelle
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.
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.
In the global environment of increasing technological change, companies are looking for alternatives to traditional hierarchical organizational structures in order to maintain the competitive advantage that is necessary for their survival. Increasingly, they are turning to self-directed work teams in pursuit of high performance. But building team-based organizations requires challenging behavioural changes and a well-designed program that provides training not only in technical but also in personal skills. Based on her study of seven work teams in five Canadian organizations, the author provides detailed advice on how to design a training program that will succeed.