Does teamwork make the dream work?” a diagnosis of the effect of self-managing teams on promoting factors and barriers for sustainable employability

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The need for healthcare workers is increasing, but the number of workers is declining due to the growing workload. This creates an urgent situation for healthcare organisations as well as society wherein sustainable employability of healthcare workers should be facilitated and factors to improve this matter, must be identified (De Lange et al., 2020; Osagie et al., 2019). A promoting factor for sustainable employability is job autonomy, for example. Job autonomy increases commitment (Das & Sisodia, 2013), motivation (Hackman & Oldham, 1976), employee engagement and builds trust (Lu et al., 2017). One way to increase job autonomy for employees is by implementing self-managing teams. The implementation of self-managing teams is a frequently used solution for healthcare organisations (Geerts et al., 2021; Renkema et al., 2018; Weerheim et al., 2018) and can enhance promoting factors for sustainable employability, such as autonomy. However, the self-managing teams have to be designed according to design characteristics and infrastructural conditions (Achterbergh & Vriens, 2019). When this is the case, self-managing teams most likely function well and can enhance promoting factors for sustainable employability. On the other hand, when self-managing teams are not designed according to the characteristics or the infrastructural conditions are not in place, this can create barriers for sustainable employability (Langfred, 2007; Van Casteren et al., 2021). Malfunctioning self-managing teams can cause a higher degree in workload because there are not enough team members able to help each other. This kind of workload is a barrier for sustainable employability and can be caused by self-managing teams that are not designed according to the design characteristics or when the infrastructural conditions are not in place. Kalorama is an independent care organisation in Nijmegen that implemented self-managing teams in 2015 in order to improve quality of care. The aim of this research is to find out how the implementation of self-managing teams at Kalorama affect promoting factors and barriers for sustainable employability. Besides the use of relevant literature, 26 interviews were analysed to be able to answer the research question. The results of this study indicate that the teams at Kalorama seem to be self-managing, but the infrastructural conditions appeared not to be entirely in place. Therefore, barriers for sustainable employability were mainly an effect of the implementation of self-managing teams. The barriers that mostly occurred as a result were: unclarity of employee’s roles, conflicts at work, and workload.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen