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Practical Application: Examples of Functional, Cross-Functional & Self-Directed Work Teams

Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

There are many different ways to assemble teams at work, and each has its own strengths and limitations. This practical application will guide you in thinking about which type of team is best for different work-related scenarios.

Types of Teams

No one works in a vacuum. Teamwork and collaboration are an essential part of work life for just about everyone. But not all teams are assembled the same way.

  • Functional teams are very common and include people working together on the same function within the company. Often a functional team is described as a department in an organization.
  • Cross-functional teams are made up of people from different departments, all working on the same project or problem together.
  • In self-directed teams, the responsibility for the project is placed on the shoulders of the team themselves instead of on a manager.

For more information about the different types of teams, take a look at the lesson Types of Work Teams: Functional, Cross-functional & Self-Directed. Once you have a handle on the different types of teams, deepen your understanding with the scenarios below.

Scenarios

Each of the scenarios below presents a problem that needs to be solved or a project that needs to be accomplished in different organizations. Read each scenario and think about which type of team would be best for that specific scenario. You can write your response in paragraph form or in a Q&A format.

Scenario 1

Georgia owns an architectural company. She has a big project that needs to get done and knows that it will take a lot of different areas of expertise to get it done. It will also take a lot of work, and Georgia thinks it would be best if the team members felt a sense of ownership about the project. She also wants to increase employees' job satisfaction and encourage a more flexible workplace.

Which type(s) of teams might work best for Georgia? What factors should she consider when putting together her team? What challenges might the different types of teams present for Georgia's situation?

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