Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6639
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9692
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


When we look at the bulging group work literature, there aren’t many bigger riddles to solve than the question of why the discrepancy between propagation and realization of teams is, at the least, not getting any smaller. In this article I analyze the reasons for the sobering practice and the team-bias in the scientific optic. I describe two theoretical concepts and a method for the study of the dynamics, contradictions and limitations in team-based organizations. They are part of a resource-centered perspective, which is based upon four axioms: (1) In the study of complex social environments the main focus must shift from strategic action to the side effects of inter-action, and to their continuous evaluation. (2) There is no a priori unit for the study and design of work systems like the ‘team’; the focus should lie on the contextual embeddedness of cooperative units. (3) Autonomy has been a fetish of emancipatory work design approaches in a dual sense: an unquestioned goal, and a reified category. The new reality of decentralized work forces us to abandon the dualistic thinking dichotomies like autonomy-heteronomy. Autonomy is not a resource itself; it has to be understood as relation between job requirements and resources, task and context. (4) Challenging traditional ideas of autonomy, the concept of sustainability offers a new perspective for understanding and developing work. It focuses on the balance of consumptive and creative effects in the use of human, social and cultural resources.


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