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This free course, How teams work, provides an introduction to working in virtual project teams by explaining terms and concepts related to teams and to projects. The complexity of the interaction of people and technology is highlighted.
After studying this unit you will have addressed the following learning outcomes:
- the issues and processes that relate to team formation and development in a virtual context
- identify barriers to effective team work in a virtual environment and propose solutions.
- review and comment on team activities in a virtual environment and develop insights to make informed judgements and recommendations for future good practice.
- synthesise theory and practical experience to make recommendations for good practice in new team environments.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Different types of team
- 2 Types of virtual team
- 3 Team formation
- 4 Functional team roles
- 5 Decision making and trust
- 6 Team rules
- 7 Summary of how teams work
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
1.3 Self-managed teams
Self-managed teams have been described as one of the more important approaches to improving team performance in recent years. Other teams with this style of team organisation are described as ‘self-directed teams’ and ‘semi-autonomous work groups’, which gives some sense of how a self-managed team manages itself.
A self-managed team is a team in which the members take collective responsibility for ensuring that the team operates effectively and meets its targets. Typically, members of self-managed teams are employees within an organisation who work together, within a broad framework of aims and objectives, to reach a common goal. When setting up the team, two of the parameters that have to be defined are the levels of responsibility and autonomy that are given to the self-managed team. So teams can have varying degrees of autonomy, from teams who have considerable control over their work, and the boundaries within which they operate, to self-managed teams that are set boundaries by team leaders. (Some authors give different names to teams at different ends of this spectrum. In this unit we use the same term.)
In general, self-managed teams have considerable discretion over:
- the work done and setting team goals
- how work is achieved – which processes are used and how work is scheduled
- internal performance issues – distributing the work and the contribution made by each member of the team
- decision making and problem solving.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Leadership and Management courses or view the range of currently available OU Leadership and Management courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 15th March 2011
Last updated on: Friday, 31st August 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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