Leadership & Management: Managing Teams

39 Results

 

FIELD Trip: Conquering the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

Forget what you remember about school field trips. Harvard Business School is in its fourth year of a bold innovation that ships all first-year students on global excursions. FIELD leaders Alan MacCormack and Tony Mayo describe lessons learned so far. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘Collective Genius’

Leaders of innovation teams are successful when they collaborate, engage in discovery-driven learning, and make integrative decisions. Read an excerpt from the book Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, by Linda Hill and coauthors. Read More

Leading Innovation is the Art of Creating ‘Collective Genius’

As Linda Hill sees it, innovation requires its own brand of leadership. The coauthor of the new book Collective Genius discusses what's been learned from 16 of the best business innovators. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Facts and Figuring: An Experimental Investigation of Network Structure and Performance in Information and Solution Spaces

How can managers create organizations that bring people together to successfully solve problems? One increasingly popular managerial tactic to improve problem-solving performance is to increase the connectedness, or what academics call clustering, of the organization. Using everything from transparent, open offices to open social collaboration platforms, connecting everyone and everything, the theory goes, will produce better solutions. True or false? In the lab, the authors randomly assigned individuals to 70 sixteen-person organizations—some more clustered than others—and asked each organization to solve a complex problem: divine the who, what, where, and when of an impending terrorist attack (akin to the famous Clue® whodunit game). They did so using a platform not unlike real intelligence problem-solving environments: Through their computers, individuals could search for information, share information with each other, and share theories about the solutions, while the platform tracked all behavior. The results? Connectedness had different effects on the "facts" and "figuring" stages of problem solving. Search for information (facts) was, indeed, more efficient the more connected the organization. But performance in interpreting the information (figuring) to develop solutions was undermined by too much connectedness. The same connections that helped individuals coordinate their search for information also encouraged individuals to reach consensus on less-than-perfect solutions, making connectedness a true double-edged sword. The authors conclude with a discussion of implications for both theory and practice in our increasingly connected 'small world' and suggest directions for future research. Read More

Language Wars Divide Global Companies

An increasing number of global firms adopt a primary language for business operations—usually English. The problem: The practice can surface dormant hostilities around culture and geography, reports Tsedal Neeley. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Cultural Disharmony Undermines Workplace Creativity

Managing cultural friction not only creates a more harmonious workplace, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, but ensures that you reap the creative benefits of multiculturalism at its best. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Pulpit Bullies: Why Dominating Leaders Kill Teams

Power interrupts, and absolute power interrupts absolutely. Francesca Gino and colleagues discover that a high-powered boss can lead a team into poor performance. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

J. Richard Hackman (1940-2013)

This paper—a tribute to the lifework of the late scholar J. Richard Hackman, a professor of social and organizational psychology at Harvard—recalls his many contributions to our understanding of work design and team effectiveness. As the authors note, Hackman's research changed the face of work design in countless industries, from service and manufacturing jobs, to education, health care, and the performing arts. His theory (with Greg Oldham) of job characteristics, and his evidence about how one could redesign and enrich jobs, made it possible for workers not only to perform well but also to develop and make meaningful contributions through their work. The author or coauthor of 10 books on group effectiveness, Hackman revitalized teams research with his insights into the conditions under which effective collective work processes emerge. Read More

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees

Many companies hand out awards such as "employee of the month," but do they work to motivate performance? Not really, says professor Ian Larkin. In fact, they may turn off your best employees altogether. Closed for comment; 62 Comments posted.

Should We Rethink the Promise of Teams?

Summing Up: Teams that are properly structured and managed can support innovative thinking that depends on contributions from both extroverts and introverts, according to Professor Jim Heskett's readers. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Teaming in the Twenty-First Century

Today's teams are not well designed for getting work done in the twenty-first century, argues Professor Amy C. Edmondson. One starting point: learn the skill of "teaming." Open for comment; 18 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Sir Alex Ferguson--Managing Manchester United

For almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson has developed the Manchester United soccer club into one of the most recognized sports brands in the world. Professor Anita Elberse discusses the keys to Sir Alex's long-time success. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Collaborating Across Cultures

Learning to collaborate creatively with people from other cultures is a vital skill in today's business environment, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, whose research focuses on a key measure psychologists have dubbed "cultural metacognition." Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

The Importance of Teaming

Managers need to stop thinking of teams as static groups of individuals who have ample time to practice interacting successfully and efficiently, says Amy Edmondson in her new book, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy. The reason: Today's corporate teams band and disband by the minute, requiring a more dynamic approach to how teams absorb knowledge. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Team Scaffolds: How Minimal In-Group Structures Support Fast-Paced Teaming

It is increasingly necessary for 24/7 shift operations to include some component of team-based work. But how can organizations support such work among constantly changing groups of people in a setting where stable teams are not feasible? This research investigates an organizational structure the authors call team scaffolds: a role set with collective responsibility for accomplishing interdependent tasks. Studying the implementation of team scaffolding in a high-stakes setting, a city hospital emergency room, the authors observed that workers readily affiliated with the temporary teams—even without ongoing relationships—and worked together intensely during the short duration of these groupings, even developing a competitive dynamic with other team scaffolds. The role sets established job placeholders in an interdependent group so that people starting up a shift could take their places in the set and immediately understand the interdependence and accountability they shared with others. Overall, this design improved the ability and motivation of clinicians to engage in teaming. Read More

Measuring the Efficacy of the World’s Managers

Over the past seven years, Harvard Business School's Raffaella Sadun and a team of researchers have interviewed managers at some 10,000 organizations in 20 countries. The goal: to determine how and why management practices differ vastly in style and quality not only across nations, but also across various organizations and industries. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Chasing Stars: Why the Mighty Red Sox Struck Out

When the Red Sox announced they had signed away veteran pitcher John Lackey from the Anaheim Angels, it was the start of one of the most expensive talent hunts in baseball history. So why were the Red Sox an epic failure in 2011? Lackey's lackluster performance is a case study in the perils of chasing superstars, says Professor Boris Groysberg. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Measuring Teamwork in Health Care Settings: A Review of Survey Instruments

It is critical to accurately assess teamwork in health-care organizations. About 60 percent of primary-care practices in the United States use team-based models to coordinate work across the broad spectrum of health professionals needed to deliver quality care; in many other countries the percentage is almost 100 percent. While the benefits of effective teamwork are substantial, effective teamwork is often lacking in these settings, with negative consequences for patients. To date, little has been known about the survey instruments available to measure teamwork. In this paper Valentine, Nembhard, and Edmondson report the results of their systematic review of survey instruments that have been used to measure teamwork in various contexts. Their research helps to identify existing teamwork scales that may be most useful in testing theoretical models. Read More

Collaborating Across Cultures: Cultural Metacognition and Affect-Based Trust in Creative Collaboration

Creative solutions often are born when two unrelated ideas come together for the first time. That's more likely to happen when the collaborators come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, thus diminishing the likelihood of redundant ideas. In this paper, via a series of studies, Roy Y.J. Chua, Michael W. Morris, and Shira Mor examine the factors that make intercultural creative collaboration happen. Read More

It’s Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works

Managers who inundate their teams with the same messages, over and over, via multiple media, need not feel bad about their persistence. In fact, this redundant communication works to get projects completed quickly, according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Tsedal B. Neeley and Northwestern University's Paul M. Leonardi and Elizabeth M. Gerber. Closed for comment; 65 Comments posted.

When Power Makes Others Speechless: The Negative Impact of Leader Power on Team Performance

History has shown that possessing a great deal of power does not necessarily make someone a good leader. This paper explores the idea that power actually has a detrimental effect on leadership, especially with regard to how it affects open communication within a team. Research was conducted by Leigh Plunkett Tost of the University of Washington, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Richard P. Larrick of Duke University. Read More

Being the Boss

Striking the right balance between good management and good leadership is a daunting but necessary challenge for anyone endeavoring to be a good boss. In Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader, Harvard Business School professor Linda A. Hill and former executive Kent Lineback discuss the steps to take and the roadblocks to avoid in order to meet that challenge. Q&A with Hill, plus book excerpt. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

The Learning Effects of Monitoring

It's a challenge that all good managers face: How do you strike the right balance between encouraging autonomy among your employees and mitigating the risk that they'll make bad decisions? Using both field and quantitative data from the MGM-Mirage Group, this paper discusses how management controls affect the learning rates of lower-level employees. Research, focusing on hotel casino hosts, was conducted by Dennis Campbell and Francisco de Asís Martinez-Jerez of Harvard Business School and Marc Epstein of Rice University. Read More

Introverts: The Best Leaders for Proactive Employees

Think effective leadership requires gregariousness and charisma? Think again. Introverts actually can be better leaders than extraverts, especially when their employees are naturally proactive, according to Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino. Closed for comment; 95 Comments posted.

Customer Experts Lose Influence When Teams are Pressured

Group dynamics can take a bad turn when a team feels heightened pressure from stakeholders. In this Q&A, HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner explains why performance pressure makes team members do what seems irrational: defer to high-status "generalist" experts while ignoring colleagues close to the client. Read More

Performance Pressure as a Double-Edged Sword: Enhancing Team Motivation While Undermining the Use of Team Knowledge

Why do teams often fail to use their knowledge resources effectively even after they have correctly identified the experts among them? Project teams are a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, and member expertise has long been recognized as an important resource that can greatly affect team performance, but only to the extent that it is accurately recognized and used to accomplish the objective. The step between recognizing others' expertise and then actually applying it to achieve a collective outcome, however, is highly problematic: Even when individuals know who holds relevant task expertise, they are often unwilling or unable to give the experts appropriate influence over the group process and outcomes. HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner takes a multidisciplinary approach to develop theory explaining how interpersonal dynamics in teams affect members' use of each other's distinct knowledge, ultimately leading to differential performance outcomes. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Managing Teams

The ability to lead teams is fast becoming a critical skill for all managers in the 21st century. Here are four HBS Working Knowledge stories from the archives that address everything from how teams learn to turning individual performers into team players. Read More

The IT Leader’s Hero Quest

Think you could be CIO? Jim Barton is a savvy manager but an IT newbie when he's promoted into the hot seat as chief information officer in The Adventures of an IT Leader, a novel by HBS professors Robert D. Austin and Richard L. Nolan and coauthor Shannon O'Donnell. Can Barton navigate his strange new world quickly enough? Q&A with the authors, and book excerpt. Read More

When Goal Setting Goes Bad

If you ever wondered about the real value of goal setting in your organization, join the club. Despite the mantra that goals are good, the process of setting beneficial goals is harder than it looks. New research by HBS professor Max H. Bazerman and colleagues explores the hidden cost when stretch goals are misguided. Read More

What’s Good about Quiet Rule-Breaking

If your company quietly allows employees to break some rules with the tacit approval of management, that's a moral gray zone. And your company is not alone. When rules are broken but privileges are not abused, such unspoken pacts between workers and management can allow both to achieve their respective goals of expressing professional identity and sustaining efforts in positive ways, says HBS professor Michel Anteby. Q&A Read More

The Decentering of the Global Firm

Firms such as Caterpillar are typically considered American companies by virtue of history while Honda, for example, is regarded as a Japanese company. However, the archetypal multinational firm with a particular national identity and a corporate headquarters fixed in one country is becoming obsolete as firms continue to maximize the opportunities created by global markets. The defining characteristics of what makes a firm belong to a country—where it is incorporated, where it is listed, the nationality of its investor base, the location of its headquarters functions—are no longer bound to one country. Why are these changes taking place, and what are their consequences? This paper places the increasing mobility of corporate identities within the broader setting of transformations to the "shape" of global firms over the last half century. Read More

Variation in Experience and Team Familiarity: Addressing the Knowledge Acquisition-Application Problem

Team familiarity helps team members successfully locate knowledge within a group, share the knowledge they possess, and respond to the knowledge of others. While team familiarity may help all teams to better coordinate their actions, it may play a particularly important role for teams with individuals looking to apply knowledge from their varied experience. This possibility leads to the question that provides the foundation for this paper: Does team familiarity moderate the relationship between variation in experience and performance? Prior research attempting to link variation in experience and performance has found effects ranging from positive to neutral to negative. Huckman and Staats explain these differential results by drawing on related work from learning, knowledge management, and social networking. Read More

How Will Millennials Manage?

Gen Yers or "millennials"—those born beginning in the late 1970s—are generally bright, cheery, seemingly well-adjusted, and cooperative, says Jim Heskett. Their work styles are sometimes confounding, though. As managers, how will they shape organizations of the future? Online forum now closed. Closed for comment; 112 Comments posted.

The Key to Managing Stars? Think Team

Stars don't shine alone. As Harvard Business School's Boris Groysberg and Linda-Eling Lee reveal in new research, it is imperative that top performers as well as their managers take into account the quality of colleagues. Groysberg and Lee explain the implications for star mobility and retention in this Q&A. Read More

When Good Teams Go Bad

Know when teamwork doesn't work—and how to fix it. Professors Jeff Polzer and Scott Snook teach "The Army Crew Team" case and the dilemma faced by a rowing coach who has great individual parts but can't get them to synchronize. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Three Perspectives on Team Learning: Outcome Improvement, Task Mastery, and Group Process

Organizations increasingly rely on teams to carry out critical strategies and operational tasks. How do teams learn, and what factors are most important to team learning? This paper reports on current perspectives and findings that address these questions, looking at empirical studies on team learning from three areas of research: outcome improvement, task mastery, and group process. Overall, Edmondson and coauthors characterize the nature of research to date and assemble what is known and unknown about the theoretically and practically important topic of team learning. Read More

Are We Ready for Self-Management?

On its face, self-management looks like a "win-win" answer to the scarcity of good managers and the predominance of low-involvement entry-level jobs. But are sufficient numbers of entry-level employees ready for self-management? And is management ready? Closed for comment; 94 Comments posted.

How Team Leaders Show Support–or Not

What does a team leader do so that employees know they are being supported? A Q&A with HBS professor and creativity expert Teresa Amabile about new research. Read More

Geographically-Colocated Subgroups in Globally Dispersed Teams: A Test of the Faultline Hypothesis

Team diversity can harness strengths or drive a team apart. Troublesome faultlines appear when team members identify with a subgroup more strongly than with the larger team. Previous research, conducted on teams who worked face-to-face, has shown that these faultlines can be based on demographic factors (such as differences in nationality). The authors of this paper conducted a study on faultlines that arise between subgroups in different geographic locations. They found that faultline dynamics did indeed occur in teams with subgroups in different locations, and that their geographic diversity caused disruptive group relations, diminished trust, and increased conflict between subgroups. Read More