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The Nut Island Problems
Paul Levy describes the team of Nut Island sewage treatment plant as that of “every manager’s dream” created through proper recruitment practices (51). The author defines the Nut Island Effect as a “destructive organizational dynamic” of a “vicious spiral” defined by mutual misunderstandings between the team and the managerial staff (Levy 52). The team’s efficiency and self-management have caused their senior managers to take these for granted.
As a result, the managers began to ignore the team’s suggestions, warnings, and troubles. Consequently, the team grew more consolidated, but at the same time more distant from the managerial staff as the misunderstandings progressed.
The team believed that the managers are unable to assist or advise them while the managers thought that the lack of complaints mean that no intervention is needed. Levy points out that the complications connected to this kind of mismanagement are not necessarily immediately apparent; yet, they are inescapable (52).
Naturally, both parties would be held responsible for the problem. The following implications of the problem could be taken into account nowadays. Self-management in teams has proved to increase the team and, eventually, the organization’s productivity (Millikin, Hom and Manz 697).
Therefore, the core problem within the Nut Island effect (the isolation of the team) needs to be avoided without suppressing the team’s initiative. Communication between the managers and the employees needs to be created (Riggio and Reichard 178). Levy suggests his strategy of achieving this effect that includes several stages of mutual integration of the managerial staff, team, and other organizational bodies.
The Alpha Chip Success
The success of ALPHA Chip appears to be the result of the ALPHA team’s work and team management. As Katz points out, the astonishing results the team has achieved are the consequences of numerous factors, but the characteristics of the team have been most important.
Those included the motivation of the groups that had “lost”, the qualities of the members (goal-oriented, reflection-oriented, hard-working, talented), and the unity and integrity of the team that was not a “collection of team-playing individuals – they were a collection of talented individual contributors willing to play together as a team” (Katz 145).
In fact, the behavior of this team reminds one of Raelin’s concept of leaderful practice when leadership is distributed across the team, and every of them is capable of participating in the management process (195-199).
Dobberpuhl’s method of “selling” the innovation seems to have developed as he realized that the sponsors wanted to see actual results and, most importantly, to be impressed. While clout does appear to be important in most aspects of business, the innovation stage seems to have particularly significant chances of overcoming this obstacle.
The two presented stories show the examples of successful and unsuccessful team management. Apart from that, the examples are very different in nature. It is well-known that self-management is especially important for innovation and creativity workers similar to those in the second story (Mládková 179).
But is the same true for other kinds of workers? As Katz points out, it is characteristic of the situations similar to the ALPHA case to be originating from the team’s suggestions (147). In other cases, such a model can be unsuccessful. Therefore, the management of teams, especially when renegade activities are concerned, requires careful consideration of the risks and benefits. The problem depends on particular circumstances.
The Prism Chip Secret
It can be suggested that secretly keeping working on a project after it is canceled is extremely risky. Indeed, neither success nor the appreciation of the company’s management is guaranteed. It appears logical that such a decision also requires careful consideration of risks and potential advantages. I believe that honesty is the best strategy for team-managers relationships in most cases.
Katz, Ralph. “How a team at Digital Equipment designed the ‘Alpha’ chip.” The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation. Ed. Ralph Katz. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. 137-148. Print.
Levy, Paul. “The Nut Island Effect: When Good Teams Go Wrong”. Harvard Business Review at Large (March 2001): 51-59. Print.
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Millikin, John, Peter Hom, and Charles Manz. “Self-Management Competencies In Self-Managing Teams: Their Impact On Multi-Team System Productivity.” The Leadership Quarterly 21.5 (2010): 687-702. Elsevier BV. Web.
Mládková, Ludmila. “Knowledge Workers And The Principle Of 3S (Self-Management, Self-Organization, Self-Control)”. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 181 (2015): 178-184. Elsevier BV. Web.
Raelin, J. “From Leadership-As-Practice To Leaderful Practice”. Leadership 7.2 (2011): 195-211. SAGE Publications. Web.
Riggio, Ronald E., and Rebecca J. Reichard. “The Emotional And Social Intelligences Of Effective Leadership.” Journal of Managerial Psychology 23.2 (2008): 169-185. Emerald. Web.