Self Directed Work Teams Definition, Advantages, Disadvantages, Example & Overview

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Definition: Self Directed Work Teams

Self directed work teams or SDWT are those who carry out a business operation with little or no input from a supervisor or manager. A self directed work team handles both the managerial and operative tasks. Organizations with a decentralized decision making process are more suitable to accommodate self directed work teams since they empower employees to take the right decisions.

Usually self directed work teams have between two to 25 team members. SDWT utilizes the skills and experience of individuals to perform the tasks to achieve the company goals. There are no supervisors or presiding managers in this scenario. This type of team management is different from other types of teams like cross functional team, shamrock team, special purpose team etc.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Self Directed Work Teams (SDWT)

Some advantages of SDWT are:

1. It is useful in promoting self managed teams is that it improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.

2. The managers can spend their time on other work instead of supervising the team.

3. Self managed teams promote innovation and hence they are more likely to device innovative solutions to problems faced by the organization.

Some disadvantages of SDWT are:

1. If the members of the team do not possess managerial skills, the team will not be able to operate efficiently and may lead to chaos.

2. Furthermore the decision making time is longer since there is no deadline set by the superiors.

3. The initial stage of the formation of the self directed work team may lead to lower productivity before the group gains momentum and starts to produce efficiently.

Example of Self Directed Work Teams (SDWT)

3M is an example of a company that promotes self directed work teams. The post-it notes product of 3M was invented because of this freedom and the intrapreneurial characteristics of its employees. An optimal self managed team should have between 5 to 9 members.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Self Directed Work Teams along with its overview.

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