Self-Directed Work Teams: A Guide to Implementation

Article

Piczak, Michael W.; Hauser, Reuben Z.   (1996, ASQC)   Prime Consulting Limited, Hamilton, ON

Quality Progress    Vol. 29    No. 5
QICID: 13080    May 1996    pp. 81-87
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Article Abstract

Highly trained members, more resources and cross-functional skills, greater decision-making power, and improved information access can raise the level of teamwork. Self-directed work teams (SDWTs) have these characteristics. Implementations of SDWTs differ from organization to organization. However, there are key factors for all implementations. Management commitment, patience, and support are needed from the top. Union acceptance is desirable and can be encouraged by having a union member on the SDWT design team. Training for the SDWT is required first for minimum literacy and numeracy skills and then for advanced skills like administration, problem solving, quality management, and productivity improvement. All members of the organization need SDWT-awareness training. SDWT members should be empowered with enough responsibility to make decisions but not so much that they are confused. They should have access to the information they need. Reward options include performance-based incentives, profit sharing, and one-time-pay incentives. Other implementation factors are the role of frontline supervisors, whether SDWT membership should be voluntary or mandatory, and flexibility in SDWT job postings. A side bar article describes SDWTs at Boart Longyear Inc.

Keywords

Decision making,Empowerment,Implementation,Self Directed Work Teams (SDWT),Unions


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