2.1 Inputs, throughputs and outputs
Teams need to be seen in the wider context of the organisation. It is then easier for the manager to see what he or she needs to do to ensure that the team functions successfully, and what needs to be controlled, monitored and/ or influenced within and outside the team. At the same time, the manager needs to consider the team in terms of its task phases and processes, from start to finish. This allows the manager to put a particular team-related issue in context in order to understand it better. Looking forwards, the manager needs to consider the development of team members and the skills and competences that will be useful to take to the next team and task.
A manager’s task is to understand, plan and monitor all these different processes. This seemingly complex and unwieldy task is easier to understand and manage when broken down into its component parts. The open systems model of team work (Schermerhorn et al., 1995; Ingram et al., 1997) can help to explain and characterise effective team-work processes.