Role Variability in Self-Organizing Teams Working in Crisis Management

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Authors
  1. Jobidon, M-E.
  2. Turcotte, I.
  3. Aubé, C.
  4. Labrecque, A.
  5. Kelsey, S.
  6. Tremblay, S.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Abstract
Crisis management teams face situations characterized by high risk, time pressure, and uncertainty and must adapt to a wide range of circumstances. Self-organizing teams have been proposed as an alternative to more traditional functional teams as they are described as adaptive and promptly reconfigurable. This study investigated whether self-organizing teams display more role flexibility than functional teams and the impact on performance and coordination. Teams were assigned to either a functional or a self-organizing structure and completed scenarios in a functional simulation. Results revealed that self-organizing teams performed and coordinated better than functional teams. As expected, self-organizing teams showed more role variability across and within teams. However, greater variability in role allocation within teams was associated with poorer performance and coordination. We conclude that flexibility in roles can be beneficial but that too much variability can be associated with role ambiguity and negatively affect a team’s ability to achieve its goals.
Keywords
teamwork;crisis management;adaptability;flexibility;self-organizing teams;team roles;complex and dynamic situations
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-P163 — External Literature
Date of publication
20 Mar 2017
Number of Pages
31
DSTKIM No
CA044747
CANDIS No
805103
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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