Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2004 (Revised July 2007)

Lumen and Absorb Teams at Crutchfield Chemical Engineering, The

by Teresa M. Amabile and Elizabeth Schatzel


Large discrepancies have developed between two elite technology development teams at Crutchfield Chemical Engineering in terms of motivation and creativity. To investigate, Paul Burke, director of corporate technology development, commissioned a study of the day-by-day dynamics within these teams (the Lumen and Absorb teams). Using 10 days' worth of electronic daily diaries collected from all members of the two teams, the study reveals rich information about team leader behaviors, team member thoughts and behaviors, team dynamics, and project progress. By summarizing both the diary data and personality data on both teams' members, the study presents Burke with a clear dilemma about enhancing and maintaining motivation and creativity in teams of high-level professionals working on challenging projects under difficult organizational conditions.

Keywords: Leadership; Managerial Roles; Projects; Groups and Teams; Behavior; Creativity; Motivation and Incentives;


Amabile, Teresa M., and Elizabeth Schatzel. "Lumen and Absorb Teams at Crutchfield Chemical Engineering, The." Harvard Business School Case 804-118, January 2004. (Revised July 2007.)