Self-managed teams and organizational characteristics that affect each other reciprocally

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Purpose - The purpose of this research is to explore how organizational characteristics of self-managed organizations and the behaviour of self-managed teams in terms of organizing practices influence each other. From a literature perspective, it has not yet been studied how these two concepts influence each other. This research is conducted in order to better understand the dynamics that self-management entails and to better understand the challenges self-managed organizations face. Methodology - In order to achieve these insights a qualitative single case study has been conducted in a Dutch disability care institution. The data of this case study was collected from nine semi-structured interviews and a document analysis that provided appropriate background information on the case organization and its purposes regarding self-management. The data from these interviews and documents were analyzed by applying a combined approach of deductive-a-priori template analysis and a more data-driven inductive approach. Findings - This research shows that both concepts influence each other reciprocally either in one direction, from organizational characteristics to organizing practice or the other way around. Or they influence each other in two directions; in which a change in an organizational characteristic leads to a change in organizing practices, which in turn leads back to a change in organizational characteristics. This dynamic is called organizational circularity. Changes in organizational characteristics due to management decisions are the starting point for various changes in both other organizational characteristics and organizing practices. This has led the case organization to a vicious circle. This dynamic has been created by the increasing amount of autonomy given to self-managed teams together with the decreasing amount of guidelines and control possibilities. In addition, a large amount of work pressure in the teams plays a role in the creation of an increasingly less advantageous situation for the organization as tasks are shifted from teams to staff departments.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen