in workplaces have problems
nding the time andspace to re
ect. They know that they need to learn, butfeel the pressure of remaining productive and actionoriented. Langer proposes that an emphasis on out-come over process can foster a stage of mindlessnesswhere learning is almost impossible.What is performance or short-term ef
ciency of ateam? There has been a debate as to what teamperformance is, and how it should be measured, seefor exampleAncona and Caldwell (1992)andEdmondson (1999). Both objective and subjectivemeasures and cross-sectional and longitudinal designshave been used to capture performance. In this studyit seems natural to use a mixture of subjective andobjective approaches, evaluating the extent to whichthe team has ful
lled its original intensions.
2.1. On teams and learning
Teams can be de
ned as a group of individualswho work together to produce products or services forwhich they are mutually accountable (Mohrman et al.,1995: 39) or a group related to a common goal or task (Katzenbach & Smith, 1999). Researchers talk aboutdifferent forms of teams, for example work teams,integrating teams, management teams, improvementteams (Mohrman et al., 1995) or type A
D teams(Park & Harris, 2000). Often teams are suggested asthe best solution when there is high interrelatednessbetween resources, and complicated issues thatrequire competence from multi-disciplines needs tobe coordinated and resolved. Teams may thus bedifferent and set up for a variety of reasons. Mostofthem,however,willhave access tovariedsourcesof information, whereas the issue of problem solving andinnovation may vary between the teams set up solelyfor innovation and work teams, set out to producesomething. Is the dilemma between exploration andexploitation then interesting and central in any teamcontext? In
rms where teams are a central part of theorganization
we argue that this dilemma is criticalbecause a strong focus on exploitation improves short-term performance, but will over time deplete theresource stock of the
rm. A strong focus on explora-tion may lead to many underdeveloped new ideas andfew
nancial resources (March, 1991).Ancona and
Caldwell (1992)found, for example that teams thatspent most resources on scouting activities had thelowest performance, suggesting that this activityreduces the efforts the team puts into the performancerelatedactivities.Hence,anorganizationdependsbothon exploration and exploitation activities, and evenif teams have different purposes, they will need toengage in both types of activities.Learning within teams has been studied (Dechantet al., 2000; Edmondson, 1999). Edmondson, forexample,
nds that team psychological safety affectslearning behavior, which in turn affects performance.Learning behavior includes issues such as handlingdifferences, seeking out information and invite out-siderstodiscussissues.This
ndingquestionswhetherthere is a dilemma between learning and performancein teams, although it does not address the key ques-tions raised in this paper
is this learning taken up bythe organization, and under what circumstances.Dechant et al. (2000)see group learning as a processwhere individual knowledge is transferred into orga-nizational knowledge. One approach that more pre-cisely states the interplay between individual, teamand organizational learning is developed byCrossan,Lane, and White (1999). Their model shows the inter-play between learning at three levels: individual,group, and organizational. The social and psycholo-gical processes that enable learning at different levelsare labeled
intuiting, interpreting, integrating and institutionalizing
: The individual creates images and usesmetaphors, perceives similarities and differences.Usually this is a subconscious process involvingrecognition based on previous experiences.
: Change in individual
s understandingsand actions. These individuals develop cognitivemaps about the various domains in which theyoperate. Language is important to develop a sharedsense of understanding. The process is becomingintegrative as it moves beyond the individual andbecomes embedded within the work group.
: Coherent, collective action requiringshared understanding by members of the group. Acommon language is developed through conversa-tions, and dialogues allow shared meaning todevelop for the group.
: Learning becomes embedded in struc-tures, procedures, routines, norms, and culture.
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