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Cluster Structure

If one combines the distance pole, the freedom pole and the belonging pole, teams develop with a cluster structure. They are, in fact, in the colloquial sense, a (an) often wild, cluster. Examples of businesses, where this occurs more often, would be law firms, architect offices, organisational consultancies, general practitioners or specialist teams: You have a shared ‘business card’, a shared back office and objectives and apart from that, everyone does what they want…

In such teams, personal freedom and personal style stands in the foreground when working and communicating. At the same time, you belong somewhere and can work on goals and tasks for which a team is required. Conflicts occur, making changes usually accomplishes nothing. You doubt, or despair about each other. Mutual support tends to be dependant upon sympathies rather than being driven by the situation. The identification with other team members is rather weak or dependent upon personal value judgments (“He is efficient!”). The demands for expertise are often high.

If such teams slip into extreme manifestations, then the distance becomes isolation (“I don’t care if you can’t manage that!”), the freedom becomes chaos (“Your firm already sent someone for the acquisition today!”) and belonging focusses on outside factors (“I am the senior partner here and nobody is going to dislodge me!”). As long as there is success, and the collaboration which seriously limits autonomy is not necessary, such teams are often very successful. In other cases, they are quickly overburdened and would prefer to break up rather than change the interaction patterns.