PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore how organizational design could support teamwork and to identify organizational design principles that promote successful teamwork.Design/methodology/approachSince traditional team training sessions take resources away from production, the alternative approach pursued here explores the promotion of teamwork by means of organizational design. A wide and pragmatic definition of teamwork is applied: a team is considered to be a group of people that are set to work together on a task, and teamwork is then what they do in relation to their task. The input – process – output model of teamwork provides structure to the investigation.FindingsSix teamwork enablers from the healthcare team literature – cohesion, collaboration, communication, conflict resolution, coordination, and leadership – are discussed, and the organizational design measures required to implement them are identified. Three organizational principles are argued to facilitate the teamwork enablers: team stability, occasions for communication, and a participative and adaptive approach to leadership.Research limitations/implicationsThe findings could be used as a foundation for intervention studies to improve team performance or as a framework for evaluation of existing organizations.Practical implicationsBy implementing these organizational principles, it is possible to achieve many of the organizational traits associated with good teamwork. Thus, thoughtful organization for teamwork can be used as an alternative or complement to the traditional team training approach.Originality/valueWith regards to the vast literature on team training, this paper offers an alternative perspective on how to improve team performance in healthcare.
Journal of Health Organisation and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 15, 2017
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