Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2002 (Revised April 2004)

Chapter Enrichment Program Teams at the American Red Cross (A)

by Jeffrey T. Polzer and Anita Williams Woolley


The American Red Cross has a system for structuring, staffing, and leading teams to review its local chapters. Mirroring professional services firms that use teams to serve clients, this system provides detailed guidelines to increase individual team member's efficiency and thoroughness. The protagonist at Red Cross headquarters who designed the system, however, is concerned that the structure she has provided is detracting from the teams' overall creativity and integration. Highlights the trade-offs of providing teams with too little structure (e.g., inefficiency, variable quality of team's work products) vs. too much structure (e.g., team members have little opportunity to utilize their expertise and creativity).

Keywords: Planning; Groups and Teams; Management Teams; Leadership; Organizational Structure;


Polzer, Jeffrey T., and Anita Williams Woolley. "Chapter Enrichment Program Teams at the American Red Cross (A)." Harvard Business School Case 402-042, January 2002. (Revised April 2004.)