and Leading Management Teams
Books and Articles
Deboarah G. Ancona
and David A. Nadler, “Top Hats and Executive Tales: Designing the
Senior Team,” Sloan
Management Review, Fall, 1989, 31(1), pp. 19-28.
Senior teams of
management are emerging in many US firms in response to increasingly
complex internal and external demands, as well as to the timeless
problem of executive succession. Significant differences exist
between executive teams and other management structures, including: 1.
salience of the external environment, 2. complexity of the task,
3. intensified political behavior, 4. fixed pie rewards,
5. increased visibility, and 6. the unique role of the
chief executive officer as team leader. The effectiveness of an
executive team is determined by how well the processes of work
management, relationship management, and external boundary management
are conducted; however, these processes are influenced by the elements
of team design - composition, structure, and succession. By
using these elements to create processes that meet internal and
external requirements, the single most critical challenge in creating
effective management teams can be accomplished.
Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal, “Changing the role of top management:
Beyond systems to people,” Harvard Business Review, May/Jun,
1995, 73(3), pp. 132-142.
In the postwar
years, planning and control systems were the tools that enabled
companies to grow and helped managers deal with sprawling enterprises.
Yet many of the problems companies experience today are inherent in
the strategy-structure-systems doctrine that produced those tools.
The systems that allowed managers to control employees also inhibited
creativity and initiative. Today the challenge for top-level
managers is to engage the knowledge and skills of each person in the
organization in order to create an "individualized
corporation." In this kind of company, managers personally
develop up-and-coming leaders and deploy them strategically within the
organization. Executives may spend 1/2 or more of their time
coaching their management teams. In the individualized
corporation, top-level managers do not direct and correct middle and
frontline managers, they create an environment in which individuals
“Leading teams,” Executive Excellence, March, 1998, 15(3),
trick today is knowing how to organize genius, herd cats, and work
well in teams. Four different factors have brought groups to
their current performance: 1. participative management, 2.
the rapidity and complexity of change driven by globalization and
technology, 3. seismic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, and
4. more people are feeling alone, disaffiliated,
disenfranchised, anxious, and often dyspeptic. Empowerment and
participative management are hard necessities.
Cohen, “The performance
paradox,” Academy of Management Executive, August, 1998, 12(3),
teams may know what they should do to improve their performance
dramatically - not 5% or 10%, but 25%, 50% or 100%. However, the
management team ignores, avoids, delays or simply acts contrary to
what they already know they should do. Unfortunately, this
contradiction appears to be more prevalent and common than anyone
would care to admit. Confronting one's dinosaurs or admitting
that obvious improvement opportunities have been ignored, perhaps for
years, takes courage. Taking full accountability for results
rather than engaging in avoidance behaviors or deferring to expedient
change programs, is also not easy. However, waiting until an
organization is on its death bed might be too late to make a
Eisenhardt, “Making Fast Strategic Decisions in High-Velocity
of Management Journal, September, 1989, 32(3), pp. 543-576.
The speed of
strategic decision making is explored via a multiple-case design that
allows a replication logic; 8 microcomputer firms are examined.
The study also uses an embedded design focusing on each firm at 3
levels - top management team, strategic decision, and firm
performance. The 4 data sources are initial chief executive
officer interviews, semistructured interviews with each member of a
firm's top management team, questionnaires completed by each member of
the team, and secondary sources. Results indicate that fast
decision makers use more, rather than less, information than do slow
decision makers. The former also develop more, rather than
fewer, alternatives, and use a 2-tiered advice process. Conflict
resolution and integration among strategic decisions and tactical
plans are also critical in regard to the pace of decision making.
Fast decisions based upon this pattern of behavior lead to superior
performance. An emergent view places crucial importance up
on top management teams. It also emphasizes a complex
perspective on cognition and highlights emotions as integral to
highstakes decision making.
Eisenhardt and L. J. Bourgeois III, “Politics of
Strategic Decision Making in High-Velocity Environments: Toward a
Midrange Theory,” Academy
of Management Journal, December, 1988, 31(4), pp. 737-770.
A midrange theory
linking power, politics, and performance in the
"high-velocity" microcomputer industry was induced from a
study of 8 firms in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
Every member of each top management team was interviewed.
Quantitative data on political patterns within each group also were
obtained from questionnaires introduced during interviews.
Results indicated that politics arise from power centralization.
It was found that autocratic chief executive officers participate in
politics and create political behavior among subordinates. It
also was found that politics are not organized into temporary and
shifting alliances founded on issues; instead, they are organized into
stable coalitions founded on demographic characteristics, such as
office location and age. Politics within top management teams
were found to be associated with poor firm performance.
Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L. J. Bourgeois III, “Conflict
and strategic choice: How top management teams disagree,” California
Management Review, Winter, 1997, 39(2), pp. 42-62.
conflict is natural within top management teams as executives struggle
with making high-stakes choices under conditions of ambiguity and
uncertainty. Yet, many top management teams fail to sufficiently
debate appropriate courses of action. There are 4 managerial
levers that can help executives overcome the cognitive, emotional, and
political barriers to engaging in conflict: 1. Build a
heterogeneous team. 2. Create frequent interactions within
that team. 3. Cultivate a distinct symphony of roles
around fundamental tensions within managing. 4. Use
multiple-lens tactics such as competitor role playing and multiple
alternatives to provide unexpected vantage points on key issues.
Eisenhardt, “Strategy as strategic decision making,” Sloan
Management Review, Spring, 1999, 40(3), pp. 65-72.
entrepreneurial and diversified businesses demonstrates that
successful firms in competitive markets have fast, high-quality, and
widely supported strategic decision making processes. These
firms use 4 approaches to create strategy: 1. Management
teams build collective intuition. 2. Executives stimulate
conflict by assembling diverse teams, challenging them through
framebreaking tactics, and stressing multiple alternatives to improve
the quality of decision making. 3. Effective decision
makers focus on maintaining decision pace, not pushing decision speed.
4. Managers on successful teams take a negative view of
politicking. Together these approaches direct executive
attention toward strategic decision making as the cornerstone of
S. Friedman, “Help Wanted,” The McKinsey Quarterly, No. 1,
1998, pp. 35-44.
Americas service sector has created
millions of new jobs. That’s the problem, Companies will need to
segment labor markets or change the way they produce a service, Turning
dead-end jobs into careers.
Galbraith, Organizing for the Future:
The New Logic for Managing Complex Organizations,
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1993.
on more than ten years of research conducted by staff and associates at
the University of Southern California's Center for Effective
Organizations, this book explores key issues of organizational design
and identifies practical new approaches for managing complex
organizations to add value and stay competitive in a changing global
marketplace. The authors describe how to create an organization with
high levels of employee involvement and new roles for managers. They
detail the use of new organizational forms, including knowledge work and
managerial teams, and structuring human resource systems around skill
Michael George, Anthony Freeling and David
Court, “Reinventing the Marketing Organization,” McKinsey Quarterly,
No. 4, 1997, pp. 43-62.
A field report on how leading marketers
are moving beyond their traditional organizations.
C. Hambrick, “The Top Management Team:
Key to Strategic Success,” California Management Review,
The top executive who seeks strategic
success will work first and foremost at assembling a managerial team
well suited to formulating and implementing strategies in the particular
competitive environment faced by the firm. This article presents an
analytical framework for assessing and designing top management teams.
The value of the framework, illustrated in the case of an actual general
manager grappling with an appraisal of his top team, lies in specifying
the elements of this important process and identifying the range of
issues the manager must consider.
R. Jassawalla and Hemant C. Sashittal, “Strategies of Effective New
Product Team Leaders, California Management Review, Spring 2000.
leaders of new product teams are aware of the complexity of the problem
they confront and the changes that must occur before cross-functional
teamwork can accelerate new product development processes. Most know,
for instance, that promoting cross-functional thinking, collaborative
decision making, and concurrent organization of new product workflow are
advantageous. Only a select few, however, consistently act on these
insights and affect meaningful changes. The differences between more and
less effective leaders lies less in what they espouse or profess and
more in the process by which they learn and form new visions and develop
new ways of defining their behaviors.
M Audrey Korsgaard
and David M. Schweiger and Harry J. Sapienza, “Building commitment,
attachment, and trust in strategic decision-making teams: The role of
procedural justice,” Academy of Management Journal, February,
1995, 38(1), pp. 60-84.
A study examined
how decision-making procedures can facilitate the positive attitudes
necessary for cooperative relations in decision-making teams. It
is hypothesized that consideration of member input and members'
influence on a decision affect their perceptions of procedural
fairness and their commitment to the decision, attachment to the
group, and trust in its leader. An experiment with intact teams
of middle- and upper-level managers was conducted. An intact
management team is a pre-existing, relatively permanent team of
employees, as opposed to an ad hoc group. The sample consisted
of 20 intact management teams of a Fortune 500 company participating
in its executive development program on strategic management.
The experiment indicated that perceived fairness partially mediated
the impact of procedures on commitment, attachment and trust.
Hambrick, “Fragmentation and the other problems CEOs have with their
top management teams, “ California Management Review, Spring,
1995, 37(3), pp. 110-127.
within a top management team (TMT) can gravely impair a firm's
performance and vitality. Based on interviews with 23 CEOs of
major companies in the US and Europe, an analysis identifies the 5
major problems CEOs have with their TMTs: 1. inadequate
capabilities of a single executive, 2. a common team-wide
shortcoming, 3. harmful internal rivalries, 4. groupthink,
and 5. fragmentation. Fragmentation, the most critical
problem, is the case of the team that is not a team at all, but rather
a mere constellation of senior executives pursuing their own agendas,
with a minimum of collaboration or exchange. Fragmentation often
stems from success, and a fragmented team may operate adequately under
conditions of stability. But, in the face of a major
environmental shift affecting the whole firm, the fragmented team is
slow, acts in a piecemeal fashion, and is generally maladaptive.
Suggestions for overcoming the problem of TMT fragmentation are
Hambrick, “The Top Management Team: Key to Strategic Success,” California
Management Review, Fall, 1987, 30(1), pp. 88-108.
A framework for
systematically evaluating and reshaping top management teams is
proposed. The framework is illustrated by the case of a general
manager who applied it for team analysis as part of an overall effort
to reverse the performance of an ailing business. The framework
includes: 1. understanding the context in which the team will
operate, 2. developing an ideal profile for the team, 3.
assessing the current team carefully and fairly, and 4.
developing a plan for closing the gaps between ideal and actuality.
Broad areas in which the general manager will want to develop a
customized set of profiling dimensions are: 1. values, 2.
aptitudes, 3. skills, 4. knowledge, 5. cognitive
style, and 6. demeanor. A plan for closing or narrowing
the gaps between the ideal and actual team profile must be
constructed. Options involve bringing new people onto the team
or efforts to secure more types of contributions from existing
members. If the needed changes are infeasible, the manager must
loop back in the analysis and rethink the context in which the team
Lynda C. McDermott, William W. Waite and
Nolan Brawley, World Class Teams: Working Across Borders, New York:
John Wiley & Sons, 1998.
who want to compete successfully in the global marketplace must be able
to develop innovative products and services that will have healthy
markets throughout the world. To meet these demands, companies are
relying on teams made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds who
pool their expertise in order to complete specific projects. World Class
Teams addresses the issues which surround the task of creating and
managing successful cross-cultural teams. The authors draw heavily on
their experiences with such international firms as Pfizer, Compaq,
AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Motorola to offer the most current and complete
information on managing diverse teams.
Susan Mohrman, Jay R. Galbraith, Edward E.,
Lawler III, Tomorrow’s Organization:
Crafting Winning Capabilities in a Dynamic World, San
Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1998.
is a comprehensive examination of the changing nature of work and the
changing character of the workplace. The role of human resources
management is depicted in an expanded role that assumes a
cross-functional position in the modern organization. Training is seen
as a process of continuous learning rather than a preparation process.
Teamwork is shown as an essential facet of technology as projects are
too complex to be assigned to individuals. The authors describe an
organizational architecture that combines market, social, and technical
skills. The individual is described in a nested position within a group,
within a business unit, within an organization.
A. Nadler, and Michael Tushman, Competing by Design:
The Power of Organizational Architecture, New York: Oxford
University Press, 1997.
search for competitive advantage, write management consultants and
educators David Nadler and Michael Tushman, is "the defining goal
of modern-day business." Competing by Design: The Power of
Organizational Architecture, is their guide to reaching that goal
through total integration of corporate structure, workplace culture, and
employee motivation. Bringing all such processes together into one
unified organization, they contend, is as important to a company's
future as the architectural unity of the building that houses it.
Wm Gerard Sanders and Mason A.
Carpenter, “Internationalization and firm governance: The roles
of CEO compensation, top team composition, and board structure,” Academy
of Management Journal, April, 1998, 41(2), pp. 158-178.
Using the complementary lenses of
information-processing and agency theories, a study tests the
proposition that the complexity resulting from a firm's degree of
internationalization will be accommodated by its governance structure.
Results from a sample of large US firms support this perspective,
suggesting that firms manage and cope with the information-processing
demands and agency issues arising from internationalization through
higher, longer-term CEO pay, larger top management teams, and the
separation of chairperson and CEO positions
Shapiro, “Functional Integration: Getting
All the Troops to Work Together,” Harvard Business Review,
Explains the need for functional
integration and the four ways to obtain it.
James B. Thomas and
Reuben R. McDaniel Jr.,
“Interpreting Strategic Issues: Effects of Strategy and the
Information-Processing Structure of Top Management Teams,” Academy
of Management Journal, June, 1990, 33(2), pp. 286-306.
managers interpret strategic issues is important to understanding
strategic action, organizational change, and learning. However,
little is known about how the context in which strategic issues are
interpreted relates to the nature of interpretation. A study of
151 hospital chief executive officers (CEO) employed a cross-sectional
analysis to investigate how 2 organization-level factors - strategy and
the information-processing structure of the top management team -
related to how CEOs in different organizations interpreted the same
situation. The results indicated that both factors are related to
how CEOs label strategic situations and the range of variables they use
during interpretation. The findings suggest that, if CEOs want to
alter their interpretation of their environment and the range of
variables they consider in interpretation efforts, they may wish to
manage their top management team's capacity to gather, process, and
Wiersema and Allan Bird, “Organizational demography in Japanese
firms: Group heterogeneity, individual dissimilarity, and top management
team turnover,” Academy of Management Journal, October, 1993,
36(5), pp. 996-1025.
focus is on how compositional characteristics influence interpersonal
dynamics within a group. It is demonstrated how demography theory
can be extended to non-US settings by developing a comprehensive model
of factors that vary across nations and may moderate the link between
demographic characteristics and organizational outcomes. It is
proposed that constraints on variation as well as sociocultural and
organizational processes moderate the attention people pay to individual
differences, thereby influencing demographic effects. By examining
the effects of the composition of top management teams in Japanese
firms, it is found that heterogeneity on age, team tenure, and the
prestige of the university attended were significant correlates of team
turnover. Moreover, these findings were substantially stronger
than those of comparable studies in the US, suggesting that factors
associated with changes in ethnological context mediate demographic
Wiersema and Karen A. Bantel, “Top Management Team Demography and
Corporate Strategic Change, “ Academy of Management Journal,
March, 1992, 35(1), pp. 91-121.
between the demography of top management teams and corporate strategic
change, measured as absolute change in diversification level, was
examined via a sample of Fortune 500 companies. Controlling for
prior firm performance, organizational size, top team size, and industry
structure, it was found that the firms most likely to undergo changes in
corporate strategy had top management teams characterized by lower
average age, shorter organizational tenure, higher team tenure, higher
educational level, higher educational specialization heterogeneity, and
higher academic training in the sciences than other teams. The
results suggested that top managers' cognitive perspectives, as
reflected in a team's demographic characteristics, are linked to the
team's propensity to change corporate strategy.
Wilson and Richard S. Wellins, “Leading teams,” Executive
Excellence, June, 1995, 12(6), pp. 7-8.
Moving to a
team-based culture is not so difficult if leaders learn the new skills.
Five new realities include: 1. Empowered teams need good leaders.
2. Leaders gain power in the transition to teams. 3.
Most leaders are capable of making the transition successfully. 4.
New leaders must be direct. 5. Leaders need to relax - it is
okay to make mistakes. Once leaders have discarded the myths and
embraced the new realities, they still find that becoming a
high-involvement leader is a whole new game. New skills fall into
2 categories: 1. tactical skills that must be mastered by
participative leaders, and 2. strategic skills essential for
leading in high-involvement, team-based organizations.
Bryan K. Ward, “How to Make a Team Work,” Harvard Business Review,
Nov/Dec, 1987, 65(6), pp. 112-120.
IBM Corp. uses a
technique called Process Quality Management (PQM) to help ensure that managers
understand where the firm is heading and agree on steps necessary for success.
Like other planning processes, PQM identifies goals and the activities
critical to their attainment and provides a way to measure success.
However, PQM demands an intensive 1- or 2-day session at which all the key
managers concerned agree on what must be done and accept specific
responsibility. The first step in the PQM effort is to develop a clear
understanding of the management team's mission. The team then identifies
critical success factors (CSF). Next, a list of what must be done to
meet the CSFs is compiled and ranked according to each process' impact on the
team's mission. Follow-through also is required; after deciding on the
nature of the improvement needed, relevant process measurements should be
established and resources applied to make the appropriate adjustments.
The CSF list should be reviewed about once a year, or whenever a
significant change has taken place in a team's mission, its makeup, or the