Autonomous work teams are the groups of self-directed, self-managed and self-motivated employees who work for interrelated and interdependent works. This autonomy includes independent decision-making related to a specific work function, project or job and independent freedom to assign individual members specific tasks within the group. Such groups set the standard for output, set the working procedure, take actions, evaluate the outputs and take full responsibility of outputs. They select the team members, prepare the team norms and values, fix responsibility, plan, and carry out the activities, evaluate the performance, and take corrective actions if necessary.
Jobs can be designed for the autonomous team. Normally, if the nature of job demands to be conducted in a group and employees are self-motivated, this method becomes fruitful. In this method, an area of job performance is given to the group in bulks; the group sets the group goal, fixes responsibility to each member, sets the working procedure and schedule, conducts activities and evaluates the outputs. Such jobs can be designed only to those employees who have a strong feeling of group goal, and are self-motivated for higher level performance.
Merits of Autonomous team method:
- Team spirit can be developed.
- With self-motivated and self-directed team members, management achieves a goal with less supervision.
- Team productivity becomes greater than the individual productivity.
- Employees become self-responsible. So, administrative cost becomes low.
- This method provides the opportunity for personal growth.
- The reward is tied with team performance. So, all the team members perform for the team.
Demerits of Autonomous team method:
- This method is not suitable for the normal employees with no personal growth objectives.
- Team conflict may reduce the productivity of the team.
- Dominating tendency of employees negatively affects on the team productivity.
- In general, managers become reluctant to form a team of employees in an organization.
- Independent jobs cannot be conducted in teams. So, this method can be applied only to the interrelated and interdependent jobs.
- Personal traits of employees play a significant role in the group productivity whereby the method may not be suitable.
- There can be the possibility of responsibility shift in case of a mistake.
- It is very difficult to find self-motivated and self-directed employees. Termination of one employee can also affect the team performance significantly.