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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Nancy Dixon

Research suggests that teaming routines facilitate learning in teams. This paper identifies and details how specific teaming routines, implemented in a virtual team

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3795

Abstract

Purpose

Research suggests that teaming routines facilitate learning in teams. This paper identifies and details how specific teaming routines, implemented in a virtual team, support its continual learning. The study’s focus was to generate authentic and descriptive accounts of the interviewees’ experiences with virtual teaming routines.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study gathered concrete, practical and context-dependent knowledge about virtual teaming routines in a specific environment. The main source of data was narrative expert interviews with working members of the team.

Findings

This study illustrates how a mix of face-to-face and virtual routines can ensure organizational learning in virtual teams.

Research limitations/implications

This case study is limited to one virtual team in the information industry. Future research could build on this research to study virtual teams in other industries.

Practical implications

This research offers specific examples of teaming routines that managers of virtual teams might adapt in managing their own teams.

Social implications

Given that the use of virtual teams is a growing phenomenon, understanding how to help those teams learn effectively is a critical issue.

Originality/value

This case study extends the research on teaming routines to virtual teams.

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1994

Penny West

Opens up the debate surrounding the wisdom of the attemptedimplementation of the learning organization approach to deal withenvironmental uncertainty and examines some…

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1561

Abstract

Opens up the debate surrounding the wisdom of the attempted implementation of the learning organization approach to deal with environmental uncertainty and examines some potential problems and barriers within traditional organizations. Discusses cultural, structural and socio‐structural factors which have an impact on the individual′s sense of identity with the organization, and focuses on the required realignments to these interrelated variables if the approach is to gain momentum. Considers the view that the process of learning will also necessitate the unlearning of previous behaviours cultivated within former established systems. Argues that the prospect of generating internal confusion, together with a sense of organizational amnesia, might reduce rather than increase stability for some companies. Concludes that, on the basis that cultures and socio‐structures cannot be manipulated at the discretion of managers, alternative strategies to organizational learning may be more appropriate for future survival, but warns that those managers inspired to implement the approach within their organizations, should be aware that the process is lengthy, high in resource implications and not without risk.

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Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 18 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Jiju Antony, V. Somasundarum, Craig Fergusson and Pavel Blecharz

Dr Genichi Taguchi is a Japanese engineer and quality consultant who has promoted the use of statistical design of experiments for improving process/product quality at…

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1531

Abstract

Dr Genichi Taguchi is a Japanese engineer and quality consultant who has promoted the use of statistical design of experiments for improving process/product quality at minimal costs. Taguchi has developed a practical and strategic approach for designing quality into products and processes at the product planning, design and development stages, which is often referred to as off‐line quality control. Although many companies in Europe and the USA have used the Taguchi approach to statistical design of experiments with success, very few applications of this method are realised in countries such as the Czech Republic. This paper reports the applications of experimental design advocated by Taguchi in two manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic. The results of the study are stimulating and will lead to wider applications of this methodology for tackling process and quality‐related problems in the Czech Republican industries in the near future.

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International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 53 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2020

Swaminathan Mani and Mridula Mishra

The purpose of this study is to provide a viewpoint on the characteristics and ingredients of what constitutes an agile team using the lens of progress made toward goals…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to provide a viewpoint on the characteristics and ingredients of what constitutes an agile team using the lens of progress made toward goals (with three sub-categories) and execution/a bias for action (with three sub-categories). Also, highlight the similarity of constructs between two different yet related concepts of employee engagement and agile workforce and how they can be a force multiplier for companies if leveraged right.

Design/methodology/approach

This study undertook literature review of key papers in the areas of building agile teams, its benefits and success stories largely popularized by the technology companies in the software development lifecycle and core constructs of employee engagement. The authors then build a framework of what constitutes an agile team, while briefly explaining the nine archetypes that emerge from the 3 × 3 matrix.

Findings

Employee engagement and agile teams, although different yet related concepts, have very similar underlying constructs. Companies can take advantage of the symbiotic and mutually reinforcing relationship between these two constructs to “futureproof” their business in these turbulent times. Adopting an agile mind-set to team development – experimentation, incremental, iterative progress, nimble and flexible to pivot as per changes in environment – has proven to be successful for many iconic companies. A 3 × 3 matrix plotted against progress toward goals and a bias for action (with three sub-categories each) has given nine team archetypes, with agile team occupying the aspirational, north-east corner of the matrix.

Originality/value

This paper provides insights into this important concept of building agile teams and offers a strategy model to be leveraged to build an agile mind-set in companies. HR managers now have a strategic framework to understand the characteristics and ingredients of agile team and understand the similarity of constructs between employee engagement and agile workforce. They can audit where their teams are at present and work on a clear road map to move them into agile mode.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2012

Naveed Moosa and Joe Lee

Companies lose tolerance for risk in tough economic times. The level of risk inherent in new ideas prevents organizations from investing in big, bold innovations that…

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1982

Abstract

Purpose

Companies lose tolerance for risk in tough economic times. The level of risk inherent in new ideas prevents organizations from investing in big, bold innovations that could unlock valuable new sources of revenue and profit. This paper describes how to apply methods extracted from the scientific approach to experimentation to de‐risk radical new business model innovations.

Design/methodology/approach

The ideas presented in the paper were distilled from many years of experience working with organizations such as McDonalds and Best Buy, which have successfully applied the principles of experimentation to developing and launching new business concepts.

Findings

Road‐tested principles from the scientific method, combined with business acumen, define the new science of systemic innovation. Every bold new business concept should be de‐risked and tuned by applying six methods: break it down; sequence learning; iterate; operate at multiple levels of abstraction; create a safe learning environment; and apply experienced hands and new voices.

Originality/value

The paper presents a systemic and rigorous new method for de‐risking radical new business concepts based on well‐known methods extracted from the scientific lab. The approach is particularly important for large companies seeking new sources of growth while facing intense competition in their core businesses from relatively new players.

Details

Business Strategy Series, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-5637

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2017

Wise Mainga

The purpose of this paper is to use survey data to rank the relative importance of perceived factors that inhibit the transfer of knowledge across projects and examine the…

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4238

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use survey data to rank the relative importance of perceived factors that inhibit the transfer of knowledge across projects and examine the statistical relationship between various “higher order” dimensions of project management competencies and project efficiency among a sample of project-based firms (PBFs).

Design/methodology/approach

The research philosophical approach adopted was post-positivism, a half-way house between positivism and phenomenological approaches. The author used a largely structured survey questionnaire with an inclusion of few open-ended items. The survey data collected were largely based on the “perceptions” of mostly experienced project management practitioners, whose perspectives on project processes and performance are likely to be more dependable. Because of budget limitations, a total of 260 questionnaires were mailed to randomly selected PBFs (with an enclosed self-addressed and stamped return envelope). Of the 260 questionnaires sent to PBFs, 58 questionnaires were returned, representing a return rate of just over 22 percent.

Findings

Results indicate that “high time pressures towards the end of the project,” “too much focus on short-term project deliverables,” and “fear of negative sanctions when disclosing project mistakes” were three top-ranked factors that inhibited knowledge transfer across projects. Some “higher order” project management competencies like “dynamic competencies” have relatively a greater impact on predicting project efficiency. Dynamic competencies will only continue to increase in importance as today’s project environments are characterized as continuously evolving, turbulent, and complex and require the need to be effective in dealing with various uncertainties. Once included in the regression equation, the “ownership variable” dominates all other explanatory variables in predicting project efficiency among a sample of PBFs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), most likely driven by the project management competencies of multinational corporations (MNCs). However, the project efficiency of state-owned PBFs did not differ significantly from that of “international firms that were not MNCs.” Specific conditions may have led to such an outcome. The author shows that enhancing project efficiency requires the reinforcement of multiple but specific factors.

Research limitations/implications

As the study was largely conducted on a limited budget and time frame, the author was not able to employ a multi-method approach. The inclusion of a few case studies would have facilitated triangulation of the current findings. In addition, the study captures “perceptions” and practical experiences of project management practitioners. Future studies could possibly develop what may be seen as “objective” measures of project learning and project management competencies. A larger survey supported by a larger budget would be one option in which some of the findings could be tested across PBFs located in different sectors and countries.

Practical implications

The author argues that the creation of a client-led “no-blame culture” within PBFs can ensure the development of a “safe” environment in which project team members can acknowledge project mistakes without the fear or danger(s) that may come with such admission. This may require changes in project organizational culture that reduces power distance, lowers sensitivity to hierarchal power relations, enhances team building efforts, and fosters a “learning climate” that tolerates “trial and error” experimentation. It may also require strengthening clients’ specific capabilities. Such change may require time and patience but could take advantage of “positive” aspects of participatory practices, personal relationships, and consensus decision-making approach that is prevalent in the UAE culture. One managerial implication points to the need to tailor scarce resources in building up multi-dimensional “higher order” competencies like “dynamic competencies” that have a relatively higher significant impact on enhancing project efficiency. Linking MNCs with local PBFs as collaborative mega project delivery partners may lead to enhancing project management competencies of the latter, conditional on their absorptive capacity.

Originality/value

The contribution of the paper is in providing survey-based empirical evidence that goes beyond case studies to highlight the importance of enhancing “higher order” project management competencies, such as “dynamic competencies,” that have a stronger predictive power of project efficiency in PBFs. The study also ranks the relative importance of various factors that inhibit the transfer of new knowledge across projects. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first study that has demonstrated the statistical relationship between “higher order” project management competencies and project efficiency. Project efficiency is a multi-faceted construct. Its strengthening is determined by a configuration of multiple but specific factors. A more “nuanced” understanding of the relationship between project management competencies and project efficiency in a particular context may be required.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2010

Sanjay Kumar Singh

The purpose of this paper is to benchmark leadership practices for helping companies to develop systems and process to become a learning organization.

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2703

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to benchmark leadership practices for helping companies to develop systems and process to become a learning organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The data are collected from 331 software professionals of an Indian software firm using a questionnaire survey method. The data collected are analyzed using SPSS 15.0 version.

Findings

The results indicate that consulting as well as delegating leadership styles are positively but directive as well as supportive leadership styles are negatively related with the processes of organizational learning (OL). The findings of the study also depict consulting as well as delegating style of leadership to significantly impact the processes of OL.

Research limitations/implications

The research paper does not sample respondents from across software organizations and future studies may investigate this further. Nevertheless, the implication of the findings is that OL is largely dependent on consulting as well as delegating style of leadership in Indian software firms.

Originality/value

This paper may be useful for existing multinational companies (MNCs) and non‐MNCs in India as well as for those foreign MNCs which intend to expand their businesses in this part of the world. It will also help academicians to understand and benchmark leadership styles for OL processes in the firms in India.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Book part
Publication date: 17 February 2015

Kelly Chermack, Erin L. Kelly, Phyllis Moen and Samantha K. Ammons

The purpose of this chapter was to examine the implementation of a flexible work initiative that attempted to challenge two institutionalized precepts of contemporary…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter was to examine the implementation of a flexible work initiative that attempted to challenge two institutionalized precepts of contemporary white-collar workplaces: the gendered ideal worker norm, with its expectation of the primacy of paid work over family and personal life, and the assumption of managerial control over employees’ schedules and work location.

Methodology/approach

Using ethnographic and interview data, how the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) was experienced by employees in four different teams within the Best Buy, Co., Inc. corporate headquarters was explored.

Findings

Comparing more and less successful implementation across teams, results suggested that collective institutional work is required for the emergence of new norms, expectations, and legitimated practices. Findings indicated that managers’ task-specific knowledge – their deep experience with the tasks that the team is charged with completing – is a structural condition that facilitates managers’ trust in employees and encourages team experimentation with new practices.

Research limitations

Data for this study was limited to one organization and four teams. Future research should include similar organizational change efforts in other organizations and in larger teams.

Practical/social implications

These findings may promote a better understanding, among researchers and practitioners, of the importance of manager knowledge and background and how this appears to be key to achieving institutional change.

Originality/value

This research is an example of an innovative approach to workplace flexibility and applies an institutional theory lens to investigate variation in the implementation of organizational change.

Details

Work and Family in the New Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-630-0

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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Manuel London

The aim of this paper is to consider how exploitative and exploratory team processes contribute to adaptive and innovative outcomes. The paper integrates the team learning…

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1976

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to consider how exploitative and exploratory team processes contribute to adaptive and innovative outcomes. The paper integrates the team learning and team adaptation literature and examines factors that stimulate and support exploitative and exploratory processes in interdisciplinary and homogeneous teams. This has implications for team learning research and facilitation that fosters adaptation and innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews how teams learn to be exploitative and exploratory and the extent to which adaptive and innovative outcomes ensue. The paper suggests the value of teams understanding how different conditions (environment, leadership, member characteristics, and team composition) affect team members' interactions as they learn and apply exploitative and exploratory processes to produce adaptive and/or innovative outcomes.

Findings

Teams learn frames of reference for being exploitative and exploratory influenced by environmental conditions, leadership, particularly leadership that creates psychological safety, and team member characteristics and team. Interdisciplinary team composition and resulting possible subgroup formation pose challenges for exploitative and exploratory teams.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should study teams over time to observe subgroup formation and integration, and facilitation by leaders, team members, and group dynamics professionals to support exploratory and exploitative frames and the emergence of adaptations and innovations.

Practical implications

Teams may be more successful in implementing innovations when they have learned how to weave between exploratory and exploitative frames of behavior.

Originality/value

The paper applies exploitative and exploratory processes to teams to increase their capacity to produce adaptive and innovative outcomes.

Details

Team Performance Management, vol. 20 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2004

Sen Cao Richard, Richard A. Volz, Jamison Johnson, Jonathan Whetzel, Dianxiang Xu and Maitreyi Nanjanath

To support research on using intelligent agents in team training, a distributed multi‐player game in Java that executes in real time was developed. Basing development on…

Abstract

To support research on using intelligent agents in team training, a distributed multi‐player game in Java that executes in real time was developed. Basing development on the game Space Fortress, which has been widely used by cognitive psychologists for studying training protocols, typical experiments involved in excess of 100 trials of the game under different training conditions. Describes the design of this game to achieve these features and real‐time performance in the Java environment.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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