英语世界
18210244181 | 登录 注册
公告
双语:Schumpeter: Team Spirit
发布时间:2017年10月06日     Economist 译  
来源: 英语世界
0
字号 简体 繁體 打印

Schumpeter: Team Spirit

熊彼特:团队精神

 

Businesses are embracing the idea of working in teams. Managing them is hard

各公司都信奉以团队形式工作的理念。管理团队实属不易

 

Teams have become the basic building-blocks of organisations. Recruitment ads routinely call for “team players”. Business schools grade their students in part on their performance in group projects. Office managers knock down walls to encourage team-building. Teams are as old as civilisation, of course: even Jesus had 12 co-workers. But a new report by Deloitte, “Global Human Capital Trends”, based on a survey of more than 7,000 executives in over 130 countries, suggests that the fashion for teamwork has reached a new high. Almost half of those surveyed said their companies were either in the middle of restructuring or about to embark on it; and for the most part, restructuring meant putting more emphasis on teams.

 

团队是建立组织的基石。招聘广告通常都招募“具有团队精神的人”。商学院给学生的评分部分取决于他们在团队项目中的表现。办公室经理拆除隔墙,鼓励团队合作。当然,团队的历史同文明一样悠久:就连耶稣也有十二门徒。然而德勤一份名为《全球人力资本趋势》的新报告调查了130多个国家中的七千多名管理者,结果表明团队合作的风潮已经到达了一个新高度。几乎一半被访者称他们的公司不是正在重组就是打算重组;而大多数情况下,重组意味着更注重团队。

 

Companies are abandoning functional silos and organising employees into cross-disciplinary teams that focus on particular products, problems or customers. These teams are gaining more power to run their own affairs. They are also spending more time working with each other rather than reporting upwards. Deloitte argues that a new organisational form is on the rise: a network of teams is replacing the conventional hierarchy.

 

各公司正在摒弃功能性“竖井”,转而组织员工构建专注于特定产品、问题或客户的跨职能团队。这些团队正获得越来越大的权力处理自身事务。它们也在花费更多时间彼此合作而不是向上级汇报。德勤认为一种新的组织形式正在兴起:团队网络正在取代传统的等级制度。

 

The fashion for teams is driven by a sense that the old way of organising people is too rigid for both the modern marketplace and the expectations of employees. Technological innovation puts a premium on agility. John Chambers, chairman of Cisco, an electronics firm, says that “we compete against market transitions, not competitors. Product transitions used to take five or seven years; now they take one or two.” Digital technology also makes it easier for people to co-ordinate their activities without resorting to hierarchy. The “millennials” who will soon make up half the workforce in rich countries were reared from nursery school onwards to work in groups.

 

旧的组织形式给人的感觉是无论对于现代市场还是员工的期待来说都太过死板,正是这种感觉推动了团队工作的风潮。科技创新重视敏捷性。电子公司思科的主席约翰·钱伯斯说,“我们是在和市场转型竞争,而不是与对手竞争。产品转型以往需要五到七年;现在只需要一两年。”数字技术也让人们更容易协调活动,无需求助于等级制度。很快将占到富裕国家一半劳动力的“千禧一代”从托儿所起就以分组工作被培养长大。

 

The fashion for teams is also spreading from the usual corporate suspects (such as GE and IBM) to some more unusual ones. The Cleveland Clinic, a hospital operator, has reorganised its medical staff into teams to focus on particular treatment areas; consultants, nurses and others collaborate closely instead of being separated by speciality and rank. The US Army has gone the same way. In his book, “Team of Teams”, General Stanley McChrystal describes how the army’s hierarchical structure hindered its operations during the early stages of the Iraq war. His solution was to learn something from the insurgents it was fighting: decentralise authority to self-organising teams.

 

团队的风潮也从一般的典型企业(如GEIBM)蔓延至一些更特殊的公司。医院运营商克利夫兰诊所已经按照具体的治疗领域,重新将其医疗员工编制成团队;顾问、护士和其他人紧密协作,而不是按专长和职位高低分开。美国陆军也采用了同样的方式。在《团队中的团队》一书中,作者斯坦利·麦克里斯特尔将军描述了军队的等级制度在伊拉克战争初期如何阻碍了美军的行动。他的解决方法是向与之对抗的叛乱分子学习:将权力下放到自组织的团队。

 

A good rule of thumb is that as soon as generals and hospital administrators jump on a management bandwagon, it is time to ask questions. Leigh Thompson of Kellogg School of Management in Illinois warns that, “Teams are not always the answer – teams may provide insight, creativity and knowledge in a way that a person working independently cannot; but teamwork may also lead to confusion, delay and poor decision-making.” The late Richard Hackman of Harvard University once argued, “I have no question that when you have a team, the possibility exists that it will generate magic, producing something extraordinary… But don’t count on it.”

 

一条好的经验法则是,一旦将军们和医院管理者加入管理的风潮,就该是发问的时候了。伊利诺伊州凯洛格商学院的利·汤普森警告说,“团队不能解决所有问题——团队或许可以提供一个人独立工作时无法提供的洞见、创造力和知识,但是团队工作也可能导致混乱、延误、决策不佳。”哈佛已故的理查德·哈克曼曾经表示,“我完全相信,如果你有个团队,它或许能创造奇迹,做出非同寻常的成就……但是别指望这个团队。”

 

Hackman (who died in 2013) noted that teams are hampered by problems of co-ordination and motivation that chip away at the benefits of collaboration. High-flyers forced to work in teams may be undervalued and free-riders empowered. Groupthink may be unavoidable. In a study of 120 teams of senior executives, he discovered that less than 10% of their supposed members agreed on who exactly was on the team. If it is hard enough to define a team’s membership, agreeing on its purpose is harder still.

 

哈克曼(2013年去世)指出团队受到协调和推动力等问题的牵制,损害了协同合作的优势。被迫在团队里工作的成功人士可能被低估,而搭顺风车的人却被赋予权力。趋同思维或许无法避免。在对120个高级管理人员团队的研究中,他发现理应属于同一团队的队员中,只有不到10%的人对于谁真正属于这个团队没有异议。如果确定一个团队的成员如此困难,达成团队目标则只会更难。

 

Profound changes in the workforce are making teams trickier to manage. Teams work best if their members have a strong common culture. This is hard to achieve when, as is now the case in many big firms, a large proportion of staff are temporary contractors. Teamwork improves with time: America’s National Transportation Safety Board found that 73% of the incidents in its civil-aviation database occurred on a crew’s first day of flying together. However, as Amy Edmondson of Harvard points out, organisations increasingly use “team” as a verb rather than a noun: they form teams for specific purposes and then quickly disband them.

 

劳动力的深刻变化让团队更难管理。当成员有强大的共同文化时,团队表现得最好。不过这一点很难达到,因为现在很多大公司里,很大一部分员工是临时合同工。假以时日,团队合作会有所改善:美国国家运输安全委员会发现,它的民航数据库中有73%的事故发生在机组一起飞行的首日。不过,正如哈佛的艾米·埃德蒙森指出的,各组织越来越多地将“团队”用作动词而非名词:它们为了特殊的目的组建团队,然后又很快解散团队。

 

Teeming with doubts

怀疑满满

 

The least that can be concluded from this research is that companies need to think harder about managing teams. They need to rid their minds of sentimental egalitarianism: the most successful teams have leaders who set an overall direction and clamp down on dithering and waffle. They need to keep teams small and focused: giving in to pressure to be more “inclusive” is a guarantee of dysfunction. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s boss, says that “If I see more than two pizzas for lunch, the team is too big.” They need to immunise teams against groupthink: Hackman argued that the best ones contain “deviants” who are willing to ruffle feathers. A new study of 12,000 workers in 17 countries by Steelcase, a furniture-maker which also does consulting, finds that the best way to ensure employees are “engaged” is to give them more control over where and how they do their work – which may mean liberating them from having to do everything in collaboration with others.

 

从这一研究中,我们至少可以得出这样的结论:公司要好好考虑一下团队管理。它们要摆脱脑子里感性的平等主义:最成功的团队有领袖,由其设定总体方向,坚决取缔犹豫不决和含糊其辞。它们要让团队保持小而专:屈从压力、变得更具“包容性”一定意味着会功能失调。亚马逊老板杰夫·贝佐斯说,“要是我看到午餐点了超过两个披萨,那这个团队就太大了。”它们要给团队打预防针,避免趋同思维:哈克曼认为最好的团队一定有“离经叛道者”,这些人愿意挑起事端。家具生产商Steelcase同时也做咨询,它的一项新研究调查了17个国家的12000名员工,发现确保员工“投入”的最好方式是赋予他们更多权力,控制自己在哪里以何种方式工作,这可能意味着把他们从无时无刻与他人的合作中解放出来。

 

However, organisations need to learn something bigger than how to manage teams better: they need to be in the habit of asking themselves whether teams are the best tools for the job. Team-building skills are in short supply: Deloitte reports that only 12% of the executives they contacted feel they understand the way people work together in networks and only 21% feel confident in their ability to build cross-functional teams. Slackly managed teams can become hotbeds of distraction – employees routinely complain that they can’t get their work done because they are forced to spend too much time in meetings or compelled to work in noisy offices. Even in the age of open-plan offices and social networks some work is best left to the individual.

 

但是,各组织需要学习的不止是如何更好地管理团队:它们还要习惯问问自己团队是不是从事这一工作最好的工具。团队建设的技能供不应求:德勤的报告显示其联系的管理人员中仅有12%觉得他们懂得人们在网络中共同协作的方式,只有21%对建立跨功能团队方面的能力有自信。管理松散的团队会成为注意力分散的温床,员工们例行公事地抱怨他们做不完工作,因为他们被迫花太多时间开会,或者被逼着在吵吵嚷嚷的办公室里工作。即便是在开放式办公室与社交网络的时代,有些工作最好还是留给个人完成。


下载:中文、英文版本

返回顶部

查看更多

查看更多

返回顶部

查看更多

查看更多