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Why have Teams?

If one seeks the functional added value, which teams can produce for organisations, one quickly arrives at the need of modern organisations to solve two problems: firstly, the coordination of parallel-running tasks and decision-making processes as well as, secondly, the reduction of temporal, social and factual complexity. The first requires competence in the processing of conflicting problems and interests, the second requires competence in the interaction with and the absorption of insecurity. Both competences require each other. They are dependent upon a relaxed interaction with risk and they require, for their effectiveness, acceptance in the organisation. Increasingly, this becomes excessively demanding for individuals in organisations. Therefore, the importance of teams is growing, as the team’s performance ability, with regard to the above-mentioned competences, is potentially very much greater than those of individuals. It is particularly important in five problem situations, as outlined, to entrust teams with the tasks (and not individuals or two or three people).

Whether this potential can be increased depends, to a large extent, on whether the team members’ previously decided matters can be realised in team dialogue, on how many different competences, preferences and intelligences can be made available to a shared decision-making process and on how well a team has learned to handle internal conflict, competition and power dynamics. If it succeeds so that the smallest common denominator is not chosen, but rather, a shared solution is worked out and the risk is carried jointly, then the organisation can be provided with the necessary coordination, synchronisation and decision-making performances which are vital for surviving in complex environments.

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