The paper argues that the widespread changes in manufacturing industry are best conceptualised as paradigmatic, in that they constitute a patterned reconfiguration of ideas, beliefs and values about manufacturing philosophy, strategy, structure, organisation and operations. The widespread adoption of teamworking is part of this patterning and is argued to reflect a new institutional form of manufacturing organisation. In investigating teamworking, the paper uses the concept of organisational archetypes to investigate whether or not teamworking takes a single, or variety of interlocking forms. Empirical studies are introduced to justify the articulation of three teamworking forms: a “‘self‐directed” archetypal form and two other sub‐types, “lean” and “project”, neither of which, it is argued, are truly archetypal. The paper concludes that broad institutional changes toward a teamworked manufacturing organisation impact on the “interpretive schema” of managers operating in specific task environments who prescribe and deploy this new organisational format. This creates the two hybrid sub‐types in practice. The findings of this research have implications for both practitioners involved in designing and introducing teamworking into manufacturing firms, and for academics researching on team based organisational design.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2002
Keywords: Teamwork; Manufacturing; Organizational design
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