organization. Managerial and professional employees in these communities advance by moving across organizations rather than moving up within them (Saxenion, 1994).
The rise of team-based work structures is perhaps the most ubiquitous change affecting the workplace in the past two decades. The shift from individualized work structures to teams spread from production work to the executive suite and every area in between, forcing revisions in compensation systems, organizational charts, and corporate culture. The increased use of teams and teamwork appears to have implications for a number of issues related to jobs, occupations, and occupational structures. The most obvious of these are that teamwork broadens jobs and blurs boundaries between them. Teamwork also flattens hierarchies within organizations, as authority moves from what had been managerial and supervisory positions to the team. As a result, job ladders must be redefined as promotion prospects inside organizations erode.
The benefits of using teams in firms, laid out as far back as the 1920s by the well-known management observer and author Mary Parker Follett, include decisions that are better informed, greater commitment by employees to the work being performed, and a reduced need for formal supervision and administration (Graham, 1995). However, in the next several decades (1930s and 1940s), little real-world emphasis was given to the deliberate use of teams in organizations, although academic scholars were doing considerable basic research on topics related to group dynamics. Since the 1980s, some attention has been given in industry to the use of specialized teams (such as Scanlon Plan Teams and Quality Circle Teams), and a small number of innovative companies were starting to make greater use of teams in their organizations. In the 1990s, the popular business press has been replete with articles about the increasing use of teams in corporate America, often with a tendency to exaggerate their positive effects.
When a traditional workplace with narrowly defined jobs is replaced with a cross-functional team, the low-skilled, entry-level