Summary by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
This paper describes a research study conducted at Bell Atlantic Corporation on the benefits of teaming.
The authors discuss ten critical factors that make teams work:
1. The need for a champion - a leader who demonstrates teaming behavior and is willing to share power.
2. The need to assess the systems that support teamwork such as communication, performance measurements, performance feedback, continuous improvement, etc.
3. The need to develop a roadmap for team implementation.
4. The need to take the long term view of teaming as a continuous journey.
5. The need for a comprehensive training program for team members.
6. The need to select a management team that supports teaming.
7. Need to "walk the talk", i.e., the team leaders must demonstrate teaming behavior.
8. The need for teams to understand boundaries, restrictions and desired outcomes before they are empowered.
9. The need to recognize the performance at every opportunity.
10. The need to identify the critical success factors that are tied to the strategic objectives of the company.
They also discuss the following:
1. The critical issues at Bell Atlantic, or drivers of corporate value including: productivity improvement, service quality and employee satisfaction.
2. How they implemented teams. Of forty-five call centers staffed with around 6,000 sales consultants, about half were converted to a team structure.
3. The evaluation of teaming. Two groups were compared, 53 teamed sales consultants versus 84 non-teamed sales consultants. The teamed group out performed the non-teamed group in 3 out of 4 measurements of productivity including: average call length, call conversion ratio - (i.e., percentage of calls that included a sale) and products sold rate.
In addition, service quality improved more at the teamed offices than at the non-teamed offices and employee satisfaction improved 21% for the teamed group versus 16% for the non-teamed group.
Anderson, S. W., J. W. Hesford and S. M. Young. 2002. Factors influencing the performance of activity based costing teams: A field study of ABC model development time in the automobile industry. Accounting, Organizations and Society 27(3): 195-211. (Summary).
Beard, A. 2017. The theory: "If you understand how the brain works, you can reach anyone. A conversation with biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. Harvard Business Review (March/April): 60-62. (Summary).
Deming, W. E. 1993. The New Economics For Industry, Government & Education. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study. In the preface Deming states that the present style of management is a modern invention and represents "a prison created by the way in which people interact." The present system includes competition between people, teams, departments, divisions, students, schools and universities. Although economists have taught that competition will solve our problems, we now know that competition is destructive. A better approach is for everyone to work together as a system. The solution to problems comes from cooperation, not competition. (Summary).
Hertenstein, J. H. and M. B. Platt. 1998. Why product development teams need management accountants. Management Accounting (April): 50-55. (Summary).
Johnson, D. W., G. Maruyama, R. Johnson, D. Nelson and L. Skon. 1981. Effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures on achievement: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin (89): 47-62. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2004. Measuring the strategic readiness of intangible assets. Harvard Business Review (February): 52-63. (Summary).
Katzenbach, J. R. and J. A. Santamaria. 1999. Firing up the front line. Harvard Business Review (May-June): 107-117. (Summary).
Kohn, A. 1993. Why incentive plans cannot work. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 54-63. (Summary).
Martin, J. R. Not dated. Lean concepts and terms. Management And Accounting Web. Lean requires cultural change. Extreme individualism must be replaced by more collectivist or cooperative behavior. Lean behavior is required from everyone in the organization as everyone understands his or her role. Workers in lean environments know who their customers are, both internal and external, and place emphasis on customer satisfaction, a clean, safe, and orderly environment with everything in its place, as well as teamwork, cooperation in problem solving, and employee empowerment. https://maaw.info/LeanConceptsandTermsSummary.htm
Martin, J. R., W. K. Schelb, R. C. Snyder, and J. C. Sparling. 1992. Comparing the practices of U.S. and Japanese companies: The implications for management accounting. Journal of Cost Management (Spring): 6-14. (Summary).
Scott, T. W. and P. Tiessen. 1999. Performance measurement and managerial teams. Accounting, Organizations and Society 24(3): 263-285. (Summary).
Spear, S. J. 2004. Learning to lead at Toyota. Harvard Business Review (May): 78-86. (Summary).
Towry, K. L. 2003. Control in a teamwork environment: The impact of social ties on the effectiveness of mutual monitoring contracts. The Accounting Review (October): 1069-1095. (Towry discusses Social Identity Theory and how it can be applied to vertical and horizontal incentive systems). (Summary) and (JSTOR link).