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Teams must Disappoint

Metatheoretically, teams, to make it crystal clear, are bound to disappoint. This can be mitigated or concealed. Under favourable conditions, it is not noticeable or not so important, but, in principle, it cannot be eradicated: if a team does everything for the motivation of its employees, it frustrates the organisation (because this will use resources) and if it does everything for the organisation, then the motivation of the employees goes down the pan.

Therefore, a team needs an organisation which will support it, even when issues other than those directly related to efficiency and effectiveness occur in the team. In addition, it requires team members who will remain motivated even when their concerns are partly frustrated. Usually, exactly this also happens in the everyday life of organisations. But under three circumstances it becomes difficult:

• when the organisation makes itself very dependent upon its own interest being served in every case. Efficiency-fixated organisations cannot meet the inherent counter interests of teams and thus harm themselves in this way.
• when self-centred employees focus only on their own interests and ignore those of the organisation. For theoretical, not moralistic reasons, organisations ought to strictly prevent even leaders from exploiting the organisation for their own interests.
• when the team leadership wishes to please everybody, not frustrate anyone and, therefore, does not make any decisions, or avoids them, everything grinds to a halt. The team becomes the fool who starves in the face of plenty.

Thus, it becomes clear that in a world of finite resources there is only the choice about which environment the system ‘team’ owes something to, the employees or the organisation.

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