The myth of self-managing teams: A reflection on the allocation of responsibilities betweem individuals, teams and the organisation

Jan De Leede*, André H.J. Nijhof, Olaf A.M. Fisscher

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    93 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Concepts that include the participation and empowerment of workers are becoming increasingly important nowadays. In many of these concepts, the formal responsibility is delegated to teams. Does this imply that the normative responsibility for the actions of teams is also delegated? In this article we will reflect on the difference between holding a person accountable and bearing responsibility. A framework is elaborated in order to analyse the accountability and responsibility of teams. In this framework, the emergence of a collective mind, and the organisational factors that influence the extent to which teams have the possibility of acting in a responsible way play an important role. It shows that teams can bear responsibilities that could never be carried by a group of individuals. The framework is used to analyse two sample cases with self-managing teams in production facilities. The authors discuss the implications for the theory and practice of self-managing teams and the allocation of responsibility between individuals, teams and the organisation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-215
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of business ethics
    Volume21
    Issue number2-3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1999

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