By giving teams increased autonomy and responsibility through multi-functionalism approach, organizations may achieve flexibility (Kanter, 1983; Walton & Hackman, 1986). However, multi-functionalism does not simply refer to employees’ expanded job duties; moreover, it should never be an excuse for an organization to streamline or to cut jobs. My experience in the army provided an example of malfunctioned multi-functionalism approach.
During my military service, Taiwanese Army had just completed a three-year 20,000 armed forces reduction plan (approximately 6% of the armed forces). As a result, many units suffered a severe shortage of both non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and enlisted personnel. As many roles were restricted to only NCOs, most NCOs in the combat units were required to take charge of multiple, irrelevant job duties. For example, as a battalion-level NCO in an anti-aircraft unit, I was responsible for not only the training and education for both officers and enlisted personnel, but also for other duties I had not been trained for including the 12-hour shift of air-defence radar monitoring, and engineering equipment maintenance. Such an ill-designed cross-functional team design does not empower the team members; on the contrary, it contributes to low morale, low productivity, and regular fatigue among personnel.
Organizations must understand the goals of cross-functional teams before the implementation. Through job analysis and evaluations, an organization is able to decide what duties shou...
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...l organizational development. It is a well-designed integrated system of training and development, reward and compensation, and talent management.
• Tennessee Eastman has a very innovative compensation system. Teams have to first meet a series of technical, social, and business knowledge skills expectations set by a cross-functional compensation policy team. Not until all team members meet the initial expectations can they participate in the pay-for-applied-skills-and-knowledge (PASK) plan. The PASK has six levels and includes a range of “skill areas.” Team members are expected to master additional technical skills and serve in at least two team leadership roles. As team members go up the system, their learning goals will shift from a series of skills to specialization, and eventually team members will be required to choose a career path. (Wellins et al., 1994)
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