Our author begins describing a “self-directed work team” as an “organizational innovation” that has been given a great deal of freedom and responsibility. [Tubbs, p. 365-366] The “self-managing team” has such non-traditional responsibilities as “(1) preparing budgets, (2) … timekeeping…,” (3) keeping quality control records, (4) solving technical problems, “(5) adjusting production schedules, (6) modifying or redesigning production processes, (7) setting team goals, and (8) assessing internal performance.” What I found truly remarkable was the parallel between the self-managing teams and what we call the entrepreneur. This is usually a highly motivated individual who, in the course of starting a business, executes the very tasks that the self-managing team is accomplishing. What a wonder that “unbridled enthusiasm” is the raw motivating power” shared by both. [Tubbs, p. 366]
It seems to me that we have been evolving in the business world for a very long time and now with the acceptance of robotics, we have begun to appreciate for the first time the individual and collective contributions that can be made by the so-called “rank and file” employees. These same employees that heretofore were nothing more than robots themselves in their jobs.
We see this particularly in manufacturing: repetitive work, repetitive actions. But now, these individuals are demonstrating previously unknown and unrecognized abilities by participating in self-managing groups.