Abstract

Major corporations in the oil and gas industry have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to create new "organizational structures". Although the exact blueprint followed by each company is not available for scrutiny, the justification to stockholders and Wall Street for these large, reorganization expenditures has been to increase productivity. Presumably, these new organizations will promote a faster response to the ever changing economic, technical and environmental conditions. In addition, the less hierarchical and less departmentalized organizations require fewer people and provide a haven in which cross functional teams can solve problems with greater flexibility, creativity and innovation.

As a result, our industry is reorganized for the 1990's, but the organizations can only provide the framework to encourage productivity. Setting up the right organizational structure is only half the battle. The individual and the team of individuals have the most significant impact on productivity. And with all of the attention focused on putting the frame work in place, can we be certain that the individual after working in the hierarchies of the past, can thrive in this new flatter organization? Is it a valid assumption that the individual knows how to work as a part of this new "team" ?1

Edgar Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor at the Sloan School of Management- Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that we as a society are very familiar and comfortable working, playing and living in hierarchical teams. So conformable, in fact, that it may be quite difficult for the individual who is now thrust into a flatter organization, with its emphasis on interdependent teamwork, to even be able to conceptualize how the system will work Schein supports his opinion by saying that one of our most popular examples of teamwork is football. Yet, one doesn't have to be a football fanatic to identify the hierarchy of head coach and all of the assistant coaches and coordinators. "The team", individuals on the field trying to reach the "goal", are instructed by at least two layers of "management" on the sideline and by the quarterback on the field.

For these new, leaner, flatter organizations to prosper, it is essential that the individual have an understanding of how this new team with less supervision and more individual responsibility will work. In addition the individual who is suddenly a part of these new organizations may need to develop new skills to maximize the contribution be can make as a team member.

This paper offers new ideas from respected management and human resource specialists. The ideas are divided into three sections. The first two sections discuss how these new teams should function, and who will be the team members. The last section offers five recommendations for team members and managers to keep to mind as we struggle to prosper within our new organizations in the 1990's.

The "New Team"

Peter F. Drucker, professor of Social Sciences and Management @ Claremont Graduate School, predicts that organizations in the future will be "information-based".

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