New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 10: Self-directed Work Teams: Best Practices for Leadership Development
Wendy L. Bedwell, Marissa L. Shuffler, Jessica L. Wildman and Eduardo Salas Human resource departments are increasingly interested in developing effective employees (Garavan and McGuire, 2001) for future leadership positions. This effort is largely driven by the desire for greater productivity and flexibility, as well as a reduction in operating costs (Garavan et al., 1999; Hodgetts et al., 1999; Losey, 1999). To achieve this goal, organizations are turning toward a competency-based approach to learning which provides solid linkages and alignment between organizational strategy and leader development efforts. By focusing on the competencies required in complex, dynamic conditions, employees are more flexible, mobile and employable (Garavan and McGuire, 2001). Furthermore, this competency approach assists organizations in meeting the training demands of emerging leaders who expect continuous individual learning opportunities designed to develop their skills, especially those working in dynamic and less rigid team environments such as self-directed work teams. While the competency approach to developing leader skills can provide the content for effective self-development, it is important to also consider the context in which such development can occur. Much is known about individual learning, which can occur socially through observation and interaction with others, and leads directly to the development of new behaviors (Anderson, 2000; London et al., 2005; Vygotsky, 1978). Wilson and colleagues (2007) suggest that individuals can learn in the context of groups or teams, which can improve team performance and, ultimately, organizational performance. Marsick and Watkins (1990) propose three specific types of individual-level learning that can occur within...
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