At a time when teams are increasingly and routinely being used in Public Administration (PA) organizations, the prevailing wisdom about teams continues to confirm that teams axiomatically bring increases and improvements in effectiveness, productivity and communication. There has been relatively little critical address of whether these benefits actually accrue, nor what the experience of team members actually is. The PA literature, in particular, remains silent on this important issue. This paper shares findings from an exploratory phenomenological study. Members of teams in organizations were interviewed and asked about their experiences of working in teams. In contrast to the current wisdom, not only did team members not report the anticipated improvements and benefits, their stories tended to highlight the negative influence that the rhetoric surrounding teams might have on individuals. This paper shares the responses of team members to that rhetoric, revealing themes of "Teams, Rhetoric and Sensemaking," a challenge to the notion of "Teams as One Big Happy Family?" while identifying "Teams as Crucibles of Resignation and Sadness." These findings indicate the continuing need for further research into understanding the experience of individuals within various team and organizational structures, especially as they operate in PA organizations.
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Field of Research
150305 Human Resources Management
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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