Systems for team empowerment: Research on practice 2018
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Hughes, Martin, Dennehy, Denis, & Campion, Michael. (2018). Systems for team empowerment: Research on practice 2018. Galway: National University of Ireland Galway.
Welcome to this collection of research papers on Systems for Team Empowerment. Achieving empowerment in teams is complex. Not only do team leaders need to understand the complex and nebulous interplays between systems, teams and empowerment, they must do so in the context of contemporary issues and trends. Such trends include the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) characteristic of the modern workplace. Indeed the interplay of systems, teams and empowerment is itself both antecedent and consequent to VUCA. Many teams are increasingly incorporating geographically dispersed individuals as team members and all teams, it seems, are under increasing pressure to achieve an increasingly dynamic response. Additionally, the very fabric of business and industry is continuing its march towards digitisation and to what some have called the 4th Industrial Revolution. Finally, diversity of team membership is now generally embraced and regarded as a value enhancement. It’s interesting to compare photographs of business teams from the 1960’s and 70’s with today. Even with such a casual analysis, there is little doubt but that conformity has given way to diversity. In the MBA lecture series and industry seminar that preceded the conduct of these research efforts, the two trends of digitisation/the 4th industrial revolution and team diversity formed a significantly greater part of the conversation than VUCA, disperse location and dynamic responses. Accordingly, many of the research papers which follow directly address specific issues in these trends. However, as previously stated, the domain of systems for team empowerment is incredibly complex and the diversity of the research papers which follow reflects this reality. These research papers, are studies of the contemporary practice of systems enabled and systematic team empowerment and have been conducted by teams of MBA participants at NUI Galway. The contexts examined are the workplaces of contemporary practice. This alone makes the cases of interest. However, the investigating teams’rigour in emulating good academic research practice adds validity and confidence to the findings and conclusions. The papers that follow investigate issues around systems artefacts, multigenerational composition and human preferences and biases. Their findings and conclusions will be of interest to researchers, practitioners and especially to team leaders.