Edited by Daniel Hjorth
Chapter 16: Collective creativity: E-teams and E-teamwork
Increasingly, groups do the business work of entrepreneurship and innovation (Stewart, 1989; Bennis and Biederman, 1997; Hjorth, 2003b; Sawyer, 2007). And these groups increasingly resist conventional, hierarchical, industrial command and control management (Reich, 1987; Sutton, 2001; Florida, 2002; Hackman, 2002; Klein et al., 2006; Carson et al., 2007; Austin and Nolan, 2007). In many lines of contemporary work Frederick Taylor has had his day.1 Accordingly, business practitioners seek to understand the new conditions in which work gets done: increasingly dynamic and competitive work, frequently enabled by creative use of emerging technologies, more and more often placed in a global rather than local or even national context, and more and more focused on innovation (Friedman, 2005; McAfee, 2006). In a creative economy (Howkins, 2001), adapting to these conditions, exploiting them to create value, requires a shift from mobilizing individuals to mobilizing the group (Reich, 1987; Hjorth, 2005). To do this, entrepreneurs and managers need to understand how collaborating groups best work and how to organize them. In this chapter we take a look at an increasingly important segment of business work: the creativity of special teams working iteratively to create a product that emerges from the activity of producing it. Such teams characteristically do more and better work than seems likely; they exceed the sum of their parts. In the theater we call such a team an ensemble, and for this essay we borrow the concept. We call a non-theater ensemble an E-Team. The work of an E-Team we call E-TeamWork.
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