ISBN-10:
0787967882
ISBN-13:
9780787967888
Pub. Date:
09/22/2003
Publisher:
Wiley
Guiding the Journey to Collaborative Work Systems: A Strategic Design Workbook / Edition 1

Guiding the Journey to Collaborative Work Systems: A Strategic Design Workbook / Edition 1

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Overview

Guiding the Journey to Collaborative Work Systems is a hands-on, practical guide for dealing with the challenges of designing and implementing collaboration in the workplace. People working in groups and teams, team-based organizations and networked organizations, and value chains and strategic alliances understand that effective collaboration is mandatory for success in today's business environment. Change leaders— such as organization development managers, steering committee members, design team members, line managers, and others— will find this workbook an invaluable source of help, as it provides a step-by-step planning process to transform an organization to better support collaboration. Teams and groups can use the workbook to improve their collaborative processes, and elements of the workbook can be applied to a wide variety of situations where collaboration is needed.

The workbook covers a broad range of topics necessary for successful change, including generating and maintaining support for the initiative, launching a thoroughly planned change program, and effectively communicating the plan to the rest of the organization. Filled with assessments, tools, and activities, and based on interviews conducted with twenty-one experts and hundreds of team members, Guiding the Journey to Collaborative Work Systems offers the support needed to design in-depth plans for changing work systems to facilitate collaborative excellence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780787967888
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 09/22/2003
Series: Collaborative Work Systems Series , #4
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.02(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Michael M. Beyerlein is director of the Center for the Study of Work Teams and professor of industrial/organizational psychology at the University of North Texas. He is author or editor of numerous articles and books, including Beyond Teams and The Collaborative Work Systems Fieldbook (both from Pfeiffer). Cheryl L. Harris is a consultant and researcher, affiliated with the Center for the Study of Work Teams. She facilitates organizations in their change efforts to better support collaboration, is author of several book chapters, and has developed a Web-based assessment tool for collaborative work systems.

Read an Excerpt


Guiding the Journey to Collaborate Work Systems



A Strategic Design Workbook


By Michael M. Beyerlein Cheryl Harris


John Wiley & Sons



Copyright © 2003

Michael M. Beyerlein, Cheryl Harris
All right reserved.



ISBN: 0-7879-6788-2



Chapter One


Learn the Basics
of Collaborative
Work Systems

Key Question of This Chapter

What are the different types of collaborative work systems?

What Is a Collaborative Work System?

What Is Collaboration?

Collaboration is the collective work of two or more individuals where the work is undertaken
with a sense of shared purpose and direction that is attentive, responsive, and
adaptive to the environment. In collaborative work relationships, the awareness of the
environment develops through access to information and knowledge about how work
done by a group influences individuals at every layer of context, a process that is often
described in terms of effects on stakeholders and customers. Because of this awareness,
people who collaborate are able to guide their work so that it meets the needs of those
surrounding the work and optimally coordinate their efforts so that their capacity
for creating positive change becomes a primary force for generating meaning and
commitment.

What Is a Collaborative Work System?

Acollaborative work system (CWS) is an organizational unit that occurs any time that collaboration
takes place, whether it is formal or informal, or occurs intentionally or unintentionally.
Intentional focus on CWS requires the conscious and deliberate
arrangement of organizational systems aimed at enabling collaboration and limiting
impediments to collaborative work. All work groups have elements of collaboration,
but intentional focus on CWSs increases and improves collaborative capability.

CWSs come in many shapes and sizes. Some forms of CWSs are listed below; look
in the "Types of Collaborative Work Systems" section for a full typology.

Group Level

Team. A group of people who have interdependent tasks and a shared purpose
and who are held mutually accountable for shared goals

Community of practice. An informal group or network of people who have shared
interests, stories, and a common language, but are not necessarily held mutually
accountable (for example, a group of engineers sharing learnings informally)

Organization Level

Team-based organization. Teams are the unit of work, managers are in teams, and
the organization is designed to support teams.

Collaborative organization. Both formal and informal collaboration is supported,
teams are used where needed, and the organization is designed to support
collaboration.

Collaboration occurs naturally, but organizations tend to create barriers. For example,
in traditional functional organizations, often a decision has to be escalated from
worker to supervisor to manager in one function, then across to a manager in another
function and down to a supervisor to a worker, and so on, before a final decision is made
and communicated. The result is a loss of decision-making quality and time. Knocking
down functional barriers and allowing workers to talk directly to relevant parties and
make their own decisions (when possible) enhances natural collaborative processes
and results in better and faster decisions. The goal of intentional focus on CWSs is individuals
and groups effectively working together to achieve strategic goals.

Why Focus on Improving Collaborative Work Systems?

Some reasons for focusing on CWSs are listed below:

To create a competitive advantage. Organizations have to work collaboratively, and
do it well, to succeed in today's environment.

To create a context for team success. Teams and other collaborative structures
have a much better chance of success if the organization is designed to support
collaboration.

To promote lateral integration and alignment. Focusing on CWSs means improving
not only collaboration within groups, but between groups. This lateral integration
promotes significant performance payoffs between teams and decreased failure
of isolated teams.

To better connect to your environment. Continual links to the environment create
awareness of the need to change to survive and thrive.

To increase flexibility. The ability to collaborate provides flexibility to meet the
needs of the environment (including customers), which improves the success
and longevity of the organization.

Improve Collaborative Work Systems Through
Intentional Effort

The optimal collaborative work system occurs when group members are provided
access to information, knowledge, and resources that allow them to participate in the
design of unit-level methods for accomplishing the work and the construction of environmental
support systems and enabling arrangements. The quality of the participation
depends on the ability of group members to establish relationships with other
individuals and groups so that decision making (formal authorization, empowerment)
and accountability (structure) are clearly communicated and mutually understood
within the context of support systems and enabling structures.

Individuals who are experienced in establishing collaborative work groups often
have the ability to organize quickly and create rules and norms that support their work
with minimal effort. Those without experience benefit from education, training, and
procedures for incremental acceptance of authority and accountability and examples
of activities or steps that have been associated with successful creation of collaborative
work systems. Everyone benefits by having a shared approach for the expansion of collaborative
work systems throughout an organization. All individuals and groups that
experience the process of developing collaborative practices and who are supported
by collaborative work systems share in personal and organizational learning that leads
to higher levels of personal and organizational maturity.

There is no universal template for creating collaborative work groups and systems,
but research into the experiences of other organizations (information about practices
that have been successful as well as strategies that have failed to produce satisfactory
results), knowledge about human behavior, and logical and creative problem solving
contribute to minimizing pitfalls as well as increasing the probability and benefits of
success. The purpose of this workbook is to bring together information and examples
of steps that lead to higher levels of collaboration at any and every level of an organization.
It is not a set of recipes, but a set of principles and suggestions intended to help
navigate through the uncertainties of organizational change.


Types of Collaborative Work Systems

In this section, we will share our definitions of types of CWSs at the organization or site
level. Please note that this is only one way to define organization types; many others
have created alternate definitions.

Figure 2.1 depicts organization types as a function of use of formal and informal
collaboration practices. Formal forms include temporary or permanent teams, single
or multifunction teams, co-located or distributed teams, and cross-functional or
function-specific teams. Informal forms include communities of practice, learning
communities, and the "water cooler." Both formal and informal forms depend on
structural support and cultural changes, but perhaps to different extents. Ideally, an
organization promotes both formal and informal forms (see Chapter 13 for more on
types of collaborative structures), becoming what we call a collaborative organization.

Each of the organization types in the framework is described briefly in Table 2.1.
See Figure 2.2 for visual representations.

Please note that there are other organization types that fall in the white spaces of
Figure 2.1. For the sake of simplicity, the types with the most contrasts are shown. Your
organization may fall somewhere between these types.

Activity: Understand Different Types of Collaboration

Time Requirement: Approximately 1 hour

Supplies: String, sewing needle, sharpened pencil, sewing thread, dime, roll of
masking tape

Overview: This simulation is designed to create understanding about different
types of collaboration-no collaboration, informal collaboration, and formal collaboration.
Understanding different types of collaboration will help provide insight into
the different organization types.

Instructions

1. Prepare for the activity. Designate a facilitator (a CLT member or an outside facilitator)
to lead the exercise. Cut string into lengths of 8 feet, one for each participant.
Tie knots at each end to prevent fraying. Insert the sewing needle straight
down into the top of the sharpened pencil. Cut the sewing thread into one length
of about 6 to 8 inches. Thread one end of the sewing thread through the eye of
the needle. Tie each end of the sewing thread to the roll of masking tape so the
pencil is suspended like a plumb line.

2. Getting started. Give each participant a length of string. Have participants loop
their string through the roll of masking tape (the "ring") and hold it at full
length, one end in each hand.

3. With the group surrounding the ring, have individuals try different actions and
movements. For example, have one participant pull hard on both ends or on one
of the ends; have a participant let his or her string go slack. Try having them
close their eyes and move the strings, feeling the forces at play.

4. Now have them swap one of their strings with the person on their left, so they
have one hand on their own string and one on another's. Repeat various movements
and actions to feel the interdependence.

5. Create a simulation where the group has to work together to achieve a goal. For
each of the rounds listed below, the task remains the same. Place a dime on
the floor somewhere near the group. Placing the pencil point directly on the dime
becomes the goal of the group. As the rounds progress, you may want to make
the goal more challenging by moving the dime to a corner of the room.

Round 1: No collaboration. Ask for a volunteer. Tell the volunteer that he or
she is now the leader of the group. The leader is responsible for getting the
group to accomplish the goal of placing the pencil point directly on the dime.
Other participants are not allowed to talk or communicate in any way.

Round 2: Informal collaboration. No leader is appointed. The group is
allowed to communicate in any way they desire. The goal remains the same.

Round 3: Formal collaboration. Before the activity, ask the group to take
10 minutes to develop a plan for best accomplishing their goal. Encourage
them to discuss what they have learned through the previous round, brain-storm
methods to accomplish the goal, then finally agree on a solution.
Conduct the activity with the same goal as before.

6. Explain that round 1 was intended to simulate a "no collaboration" situation,
round 2 was "informal collaboration," and round 3 was "formal collaboration."
Then use the following questions to debrief the exercise.

What are some of your observations about round 1? What was it like for the
participants? What was it like for the leader? What parallels can you draw
between this round and your organization?

What are some of your observations about round 2? What was it like not having
a leader? Was round 2 easier or more difficult than round 1? Why? What
parallels can you draw between this round and your organization?

What are some of your observations about round 3? What happened during
the planning session? What happened during the activity? Did the planning
session help or hinder goal achievement? What parallels can you draw
between this round and your organization?

Which of the rounds was most like your organization now?

Which of the rounds was most like your ideal organization?

What learnings did you gain that relate to how your group works together?

What learnings did you gain that relate to how your organization works?

7. Capture the learnings and keep them in mind as you work on planning the CWS
initiative.


Understand the Current Organization

There are a variety of design criteria that can be used to distinguish among organization
types. Table 2.2 shows how the organization design criteria relate to the organization
types.

As you begin or refresh your CWS initiative, it is important to determine where the
organization is now and to start from that point. That can take some frank and honest
self-appraisal. What are the strengths and weaknesses? Where are the opportunities and
hurdles? What is a realistic time frame for achieving the vision, given these circumstances?
(For more on this, see the Guiding Assessment in Chapter 3.) The next assessment helps
determine the organization type that most closely resembles your current organization.

Assessment: Identify Current Organization Type

Time Requirement: Approximately 1 hour

Supplies: Assessment 2.1, flip chart, markers, transparency of Table 2.2 and
projector or reproduction of Table 2.2 on flip chart, and colored dot stickers (all in
one color)

Overview: Using the organization design criteria in Table 2.2 as your
guide, determine which organization type most accurately represents your current
organization.

Instructions

1. As a group, complete Assessment 2.1 using your current organization as the reference.
If possible, try to circle only one answer, but if more than one answer
truly applies, it is acceptable to circle more than one. List examples that support
your answers. Please note, there are no "right" answers; this is simply meant as
a discussion tool. Modify your answers from the current categories if necessary.

2. Transfer your answers from Assessment 2.1 to your reproduction of Table 2.2.
For the flip chart option, place a colored dot in the cell or cells that best represent
your answer. For the overhead transparency, indicate the cell or cell with a
transparency pen.

3. Look at how the colored dots or marks cluster in Table 2.2. Which organization
type has the most dots?

4. Given your answers, which organization type most closely represents your
current organization?


Select the Collaborative Work System Target

Now that you have identified the CWS type closest to your current organization, it is
time to think about the CWS target.

Continues...




Excerpted from Guiding the Journey to Collaborate Work Systems
by Michael M. Beyerlein Cheryl Harris
Copyright © 2003 by Michael M. Beyerlein, Cheryl Harris.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, and Tools.

Preface for the Collaborative Work Systems Series.

Acknowledgments.

Preface.

INTRODUCTION UNDERSTAND THE STRATEGIC DESIGN PROCESS.

Chapter 1: How to Use This Workbook.

Rationale for the Workbook.

Goals of the Workbook.

Workbook Organization.

Elements in Each Chapter.

Practical Focus.

Approaches to the Material.

Content Icons.

Special Terms.

The Collaborative Work Systems Series.

Conclusion.

Resources.

Chapter 2: Learn the Basics of Collaborative Work Systems.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is a Collaborative Work System?

Types of Collaborative Work Systems.

Understand the Current Organization.

Select the Collaborative Work System Target.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 3: Start with the Guiding Assessment.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

The Strategic Design Process and Guiding Assessment.

Part I: Create a Foundation for Change.

Part II: Align the Organization for Collaboration.

Summarize the Pressures For and Against Change.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

PART I: CREATE A FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE.

Chapter 4: Launch the Change Leadership Team.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Launch the Change Leadership Team.

Select CLT Members.

Build Common Understanding.

Manage Team Boundaries.

Invest in Team Competencies.

Manage the Meeting Process for Productivity.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 5: Charter the Change Leadership Team.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

The Chartering Process.

Establish Team Processes.

Establish Effective Sponsorship.

Manage Performance.

Establish Escalation Path.

Recharter Annually.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 6: Think Strategically About Change.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Think Strategically as Well as Tactically.

Align the Strategic Change Plan with the Organization’s Overall Strategy.

Create and Energize a Vision for the Change Initiative.

Take a Deliberate and Disciplined Approach to Planning.

Work as a Team to Create and Implement the Plan.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 7: Apply Effective Change Principles.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Build a Big Picture of Change Management.

Build Expertise in Strategic Change Processes.

Effective Change Principles.

Start from Where You Are.

Generate Short-Term Wins.

Minimize Critical Specifications.

Plan for Resistance.

Integrate with Other Change Initiatives.

Do Not Create the Plan in a Vacuum.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 8: Build the Business Case.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is the Business Case?

Contents of the Business Case.

Presenting to the Top Management Team.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 9: Identify Needs and Assess Progress.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

The Purpose and Value of Assessment.

Quality of Assessment Methods.

Assess Collaboration at the Organizational Level.

Assess Collaboration at the Team and Group Level.

Abide by Principles of Ethical Assessment.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

PART II: ALIGN THE ORGANIZATION FOR COLLABORATION.

Chapter 10: Connect to the Environment.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is the Environment?

Build Mechanisms to Create Awareness of the Environment.

Act on Awareness of the Environment.

Create Ways for All Members to Contribute.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 11: Craft a Culture of Collaboration and Entrepreneurship.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is Culture?

Why Change Culture?

Identify Current Culture.

Characteristics of Collaborative Culture.

Align Organizational Subcultures.

Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Culture.

Envision Ideal Culture.

Begin the Journey to Ideal Culture.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 12: Understand Work Processes.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Why Focus on Work Processes?

Map Work Processes.

Analyze Work Processes.

Understand Customer, Supplier, and Regulator Requirements.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 13: Design Using an Array of Structures.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is Organization Structure?

Use an Array of Collaborative Structures.

Understand Realities That Affect Future Organization Design.

Visualize Future Organization Structure.

Determine Where to Start Implementation.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 14: Plan Employee Empowerment.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is Empowerment?

Identify Limits of Empowerment.

Design the Empowerment Plan.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 15 Define New Roles of Leaders.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

What Is Collaborative Leadership?

Leader Transition from Traditional to Collaborative.

Define Roles of Leaders at All Levels.

Identify Leader Roles to Support the Empowerment Plan.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 16: Align Support Systems.

Key Question of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Create the Context for Collaboration with Support Systems.

Use Support Systems in All Shapes and Sizes.

Align Support Systems with Your Environment.

Link Support Systems Development to Empowerment.

Create Committees to Implement Support Systems Change.

Continually Assess and Adjust Support Systems.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

Chapter Wrap-Up.

Resources.

Chapter 17: Conclusion: Working Toward the Future.

Key Questions of This Chapter.

Quick Look.

Review of the Workbook.

Create a CWS Initiative Handbook.

Address Key Questions from Each Critical Success Factor Chapter.

Launch into the Future.

Conclusion.

Keys to the Chapter.

About the Series Editors.

About the Authors.

Index.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"There are few business books that can bridge the chasm between academic rigor and real-life application, but this is one of them. It is both practical and thorough, and it discusses some of the most pertinent topics associated with teams today. I strongly recommend this book. Let me rephrase that. If you don't read this book, you and your company will be at a serious competitive disadvantage."
—Kimball Fisher, author, Leading Self-Directed Work Teams, and coauthor, The Distance Manager

"Use of this workbook will serve as a catalyst to dramatically enhance then impact of a steering team by creating a common vision, shared understanding, and a step-by-step approach to the change process."
—Maria W. Taylor, director, learning solutions and development, Raytheon Learning Institutes

"Collaborative work systems are occurring informally in your business every day. You should organize them to create a more effective result aimed at improving your bottom line. This workbook contains the tools for you to lead this effort."
—Kyle Ramsey, business unit manager, Intel Corporation

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