Europe in 1992 will have a different environment. To remain competitive firms will need to have improved their internal organisation. The relationships between three organisational variables – task design, work flow and people – and technical complexity are discussed. The Japanese team‐centred approach to these three variables is compared with the traditional, manager‐centred approach. Management development professionals are introduced to a team‐centred approach to improvement, i.e. the technology of improvement. They are also shown how they can assist their firms in achieving the team approach through the process of co‐operative learning. Co‐operative, competitive and individual learning models are compared and management development professionals′ responsibilities are presented.
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