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Implementing Self-Directed Work Teams Self directed work teams are defined as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable Katzenbach Smith 1993 Collaborative self directed work teams can get complex projects done at faster rates than the traditional boss-worker arrangement because the decision making process is made faster and more effective in a team Empowering teams to make decisions about their work also enhances satisfaction and reduces turnover Berger 1998 Self directed work teams involve employees in a specific area or those who are working on a specific product or process Self directed work teams can be any size but are generally not more than 12 to 15 employees The work team makes the decisions that would normally be made by a supervisor or manager and might interact with the companys suppliers and customers whether they are inside or outside the company In some companies self-directed work teams will also take over many of the human resource functions as well Cotton 1993 Self directed work teams have also become one of the more changing approaches to employee involvement and has been increasing in popularity within the last several years Companies such as Proctor Gamble Digital Equipment General Mills Federal Express and other well known companies are reorganizing their employees into self directed work teams In a recent survey 476 Fortune 500 companies found that although only 7 of the work force is organized into self directed work teams management at half of these companies said that they will be relying on them more in years ahead Cotton 1993 There are nine basic steps in establishing self-directed work teams 1 Developing a shared vision 2 Empowerment 3 Training 4 Presence of a supportive culture 5 Developing performance expectations and feedback 6 Establishing boundaries 7 Developing an appropriate pay system 8 Constructing the appropriate physical layout of
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