Self-Managing Teams within Higher Education
SPARC 2022 Poster Number 17
Since the increase in tuition fees in 2012, UK universities are experiencing a collective pressure to deliver a superior experience to their students.
As Universities are highly complex organisations operating within considerable regulatory constraints, their ability to be creative and explore new ways of working are somewhat restricted. In addition, there may also be little free time or resource to focus on any significant change. Therefore, this calls for a reform in the way public sector teams are organised to deliver their services. Universities need to evolve into agile, responsive organisations to remain competitive within the sector.
Considering the private sectors’ ability to be responsive to a change in customer needs, the implementation of self-managing teams has shown increased organisational agility. The definition of a self-managed team (SMT) is a group of employees that are accountable for all or most aspects of producing a product or service. Although there are differing frameworks available, literature on SMT generally share the same fundamental principles. These are that success lies within removal of traditional hierarchal structures and the introduction a flat structure of self-directed teams. These teams are then responsible for all elements of work including the co-ordination of activities, the management of budgets, critical decision making and overall service delivery.
However, translating the core guiding principles of SMT into a public sector organisation, such as a University, is not thoroughly researched or documented. Therefore, further research is needed to consider Universities and how they reorganise their structures to become more responsive organisations.