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Teams differ in terms of the tasks they are trying to accomplish and the roles team members play.
Classes of Task
J. R. Hackman identified three major classes of tasks:
- Production Tasks – This means creating or delivering something, such as a product, service, plan, etc.
- Idea Generation Tasks – Creative tasks, such as idea generation or process refinement.
- Problem-Solving Tasks – Making decisions and developing plans of action.
Task interdependence concerns the extent to which members of the team rely on other members of the team for resources and support for the successful completion of tasks. For example, self-managed teams generally are generally more effective when tasks are highly interdependent.
There are three types of task interdependence.
- Pooled Interdependence – Team members work independently and later combine their efforts as the team’s output.
- Sequential Interdependence – Team members cannot begin their tasks until other member’s completion of their tasks. The output from the other team members becomes an input for the next member’s task tasks. The process is linear.
- Reciprocal Interdependence – Team members work together on individual tasks at each phase of completion. Members commit effort to each stage of work completion.
This is where rewards (rather than tasks) are dependent upon the performance of others in completing their tasks. The tasks are not interdependent, but the result is.