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Working in groups and teams
Working in groups and teams

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1.4 Types of team

If you have chosen to build a team to perform a task, the second question is: ‘What type of team do I need?’. One way of approaching this is to consider the type of task to be performed and its level, from routine to strategic. These factors in turn influence several other key dimensions of teams identified by West (2004):

  • Degree of permanence. A team’s lifetime can range from weeks to years depending on the task
  • Skill/competence required. This depends on what levels of skill are needed to perform the task
  • Autonomy and influence. This may depend on whether the task is routine or strategic and at what level in the organisation the team is formed.

Peckham (1999) suggests four possible types of problem relating to how well it is already known and understood and to what extent there is already a solution to this problem. These are set out in Figure 1. Four types of teams are identified to tackle these different problems: namely, problem-solving teams, creative teams, tactical teams and problem-finding teams.

Described image
(Source: adapted from Peckham, 1999)
Figure 1 Possible problem types

Thus, each type of team needs a different mix of individuals with specific skills and knowledge. The mix and balance of skills must be appropriate to the nature of the task.