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Harvard Business Review

Do We Still Need Teams?

Harvard Business Review recently published an article co-authored by Constance Hadley, Lecturer of Management & Organizations, regarding whether companies should still be using teams in a post-pandemic world.  

Constance Hadley

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April 26, 2022 

Harvard Business Review recently published an article co-authored by Constance Hadley, Lecturer of Management & Organizations, regarding whether companies should still be using teams in a post-pandemic world.  

The article explains how the idea of collaboration through teams used to be standard in corporate America during the 80’s. However, over the past few decades experts have been second guessing teams usage and its efficacy when compared against its costs. Constance and her co-author suggest managers analyze whether teamwork-based collaboration is worth it for their specific projects.   

The authors also discuss an alternative method of collaboration that is less radical than wholesale abolishment- a method known as “co-acting groups.” This system entails loose confederations of employees who dip in and out of collaborative interactions as a project or initiative unfolds. Constance and her co-author address the potential changes these companies must consider going forward, stating, “In addition, organizations should continue to seek ways to replace the gains once driven by teams. For example, they can create social support mechanisms for employees (e.g., employee resource groups), open brainstorming opportunities (e.g., hackathons), and compelling culture-building activities (e.g., company retreats).” 

Connie Noonan Hadley is an organizational psychologist and lecturer in the Management and Organizations Department at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. She teaches graduate courses in topics such as teamwork, leadership, and negotiations. She holds a PhD in organizational behavior from Harvard University, an MBA in human resource and strategic management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in social psychology from Princeton University. Previously, she worked in the fields of management consulting at McKinsey & Company and in marketing and operations at General Mills, Inc. Dr. Hadley’s research has been published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review,The Leadership Quarterly, Human Relations, and Group & Organization Management, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Wired, and other media outlets. One of her favorite extracurricular activities is serving as faculty advisor to The Internship Fund for Social Impact, a student-led initiative to support social impact internships around the world.