A self-managing team is a group of employees working together who are accountable for most or all aspects of their task. A self-managing team has considerable discretion over how its work gets done. This means the majority of key decisions about activities are made by people with direct knowledge of, and who are most affected by, those choices. Self-managing teams are distinct from self-directed teams. While the latter define their own goals, the scope of a self-managing team's authority is limited by goals that are established by others.
Advantages of Self-Managing Teams
Organizations in various fields use self-managing teams to boost productivity and motivate employees. Members of self-managing teams plan, coordinate, direct, and control their activities. For example, they set the work schedule and assign tasks. In this way they share both the managerial and technical tasks. Team members also share responsibility for their output as a whole, which can inspire pride in their accomplishments. Because they eliminate a level of management, the use of self-managing teams can better allocate resources and even lower costs.
Disadvantages of Self-Managing Teams
There are also potential drawbacks to self-managing teams. The lack of hierarchical authority means that personal relationships can overwhelm good judgment. It can also lead to conformity, which can inhibit creativity or make it difficult for team members to be critical of each other. Self-management adds a layer of responsibility that can be time-consuming and require skills that some team members may not have. Members of a self-managing team often need training to assist them in succeeding at jobs that have a broad scope of duties.