Functional Team

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Description of Functional Team. Explanation.


Functional Team

Definition Functional Team. Description.

A Functional Team is a group of people with a common functional expertise working toward shared objectives. Functional teams are traditional corporate teams often coinciding with a whole department, or with a part of it.

For example, any typical midsize company will have a Marketing function in the form of a marketing department. All its members form a team that carries out duties related to the marketing function.

A functional team is composed by a homogenous group of people in term of expertise area, but its members could hold different hierarchical positions within the team: they might range from junior to senior, managerial and/or expert level. For this reason the type of Leadership exerted on functional teams is often autocratic and its leaders are typically experts within the function or in the company.

Traditionally many companies put in place functional teams as a consequence of job specialization and following the concept that projects have to be carried out by a pool of experts in a defined domain, unlike heterogeneous groups of people with different backgrounds (Cross-Functional Teams).

Limitations of Functional Teams. Disadvantages

  • Functional teams imply roles specialization. If for some individuals it can be easier to carry out repetitive tasks, in a fast changing competitive arena there are not many routines. People within functional team tend to be less open for change and creativity processes and new ideas generation are often impeded by job routines and managersí strict guidelines based on past experiences.
  • Team members tend to stick to their role and proceed straight toward the maximization of their personal objective, disregarding company goals. If team work is based on learning of individuals and the team as a whole, and on reciprocal support, functional teams may break up a project into parts and appoint every member as individually responsible for his own piece. This prevents questioning and confrontation, primary sources of learning. It may also lead to conflicts and stagnation since any member has no stake in understanding each otherís role.

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Compare with: Cross-Functional Team  |  Belbin Team Roles  |  Team Management Profile  |  Self-Directed Team  |  Stages of Team Development  |  PAEI Model  |  Managerial Grid  |  Talent Management  |  Leadership Styles  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Leadership Pipeline

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