Benefits of Self-Managed Teams
Through a review of the available research in 2001, Dr. Robert T. Howell, Assistant Professor at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, in the Technology Studies Department, identified that Self-Managed Teams can deliver the following benefits (summary by the Open University):
- Cost savings: Organizations empower their teams to work on continuous improvements. These savings can be enormous (RCAR Electronics in the USA reported annual savings of $10 million following the implementation of self-managed teams).
- Innovation: Team members have the freedom to review and improve working practices.
- Effective decision making: Self-managed teams can develop quicker or more effective decision-making skills.
- Increased productivity: Teams work towards a common goal and are responsible for their own actions. When successful, self-managed teams can be 15–20 per cent more productive than other types of team.
- Improved customer satisfaction: Self-managed teams benefit organisational performance through improved sales figures and customer service. Companies have reported significantly lower customer returns and complaints.
- Commitment: Team members can become more involved in projects as a direct result of having increased autonomy and responsibility.
- Motivation: Team members have shared or equal responsibility so members are accountable for their actions.
- Increased compatibility between employers and employees: Self-managed teams can relieve stress for the leader, who is then able to concentrate on other tasks. The team is mutually supportive and members learn from each other instead of approaching the team leader for advice.