Learning from Cross-functional Teamwork

Kettley P, Hirsh W | Report 356 | Institute for Employment Studies | Sep 2000

Cross-functional teams are typically composed of individuals who have a functional home base (eg manufacturing, personnel, design, marketing, etc.) but who work collaboratively to solve ongoing challenges requiring input from diverse functional areas.

They confront a different set of performance expectations than conventional work groups, and are often expected to create knowledge and disseminate 'best-practice'. Issues of inter-organisational trust and unconscious social processes are key factors in their success.

Cross-functional teams offer employers great potential rewards: their diversity of functional specialities, viewpoints and cultures represent the real 'coalface' of organisational learning and knowledge management.

This report provides an understanding of the learning process within such teams and the influence of factors such as: team composition, task allocation, operating principles and values, and the support of the rest of the organisation.

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