Cross-Functional Teams: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages

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  • 0:00 Definition
  • 0:14 Advantages
  • 0:44 Disadvantages
  • 1:10 Example
  • 2:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

In this lesson, you will learn about cross-functional teams, their advantages, disadvantages, and take a look at an example. You will also have an opportunity to reinforce your knowledge with a short quiz after the lesson.

Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages

A cross-functional team is an organizational team consisting of members at the same level of hierarchy in the organization but serving in different areas.

Cross-functional teams provide an organization with some significant advantages. You can greatly increase creativity and problem solving with the use of cross-functional teams because of their composition. Members of cross-functional teams come with a diversity of experience, expertise, and knowledge. This diversity can help broaden perspectives and create synergy, where interaction of the members create a greater effect than the sum effects of each member acting alone, leading to a high level of creativity.

Cross-functional teams are not without disadvantages. The team can take significantly longer to develop cohesion because members come from different experiences and backgrounds. Moreover, a team leader must take care managing team relationships carefully because there may be a high level of conflict in these teams due to unit rivalry, egos, and possible conflict between the interests of the various parts of the organization represented by team members.


Let's say you are the president of a publishing company that focuses on printing news magazines and newspapers. The last decade has not been kind to your company. Subscriptions are down by 30% and advertising revenue is down by 40%. Your company is on the verge of bankruptcy. Your board of directors has instructed you to come up with a viable plan to save the company within 90 days for their approval. If you are unable to come up with a viable plan, you have been instructed to hire counsel to place the company into bankruptcy.

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