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Teamworking: history, development and function: a case study in Welsh local government

Gatenby, Mark 2008. Teamworking: history, development and function: a case study in Welsh local government. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Teamworking has been a fashionable management idea in the redesign of work for over half a century. After being observed in UK manufacturing environments in 1950s, the concept has developed and spread widely across industries and international contexts. Today, surveys suggest that management practitioners across all sectors are enthusiastically adopting teamworking initiatives. However, empirical research has not kept pace with the diffusion of team ideas in different contexts. There has been relatively little attention to the concept in service industries and particularly in public services. This study takes up the challenge of exploring team ideas in new contexts, conducting a case study within the UK local Government. An ethnographic approach is adopted to enable the collection and analysis of detailed descriptive data. Central concerns include the way in which teamworking is used as a vehicle for organisational change and how employees experience management attempts to implement teamworking. The study findings suggest that there is as much interest in the idea of teamworking in local Government as in traditional team contexts. In the case study, teamworking was used as part of a wide ranging strategy of organisational transformation. More specifically, it was used by senior management as a way to legitimise strategic change and provide a soft veneer to a more demanding performance regime. The ambitious variety of new team initiatives led to considerable implementation problems and resistance from workers. Particular levels of management were seen to be trapped between the old approach and the new team discourse. The study presents a warning for the advocates of teamworking in appreciating senior management motivations for introducing change and considering the unappealing detail when implementing and maintaining teamworking systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
ISBN: 9781303184642
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 06:08

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