Background Note | HBS Case Collection | August 2006

Analyzing Work Groups

by Linda A. Hill and Michel Anteby


Work groups are the building blocks of organizations. They are found in all areas of an organization, from research and development to customer service, and at all levels, from the executive suite to the factory floor. Some are incredibly successful, while others are dismal failures. Team work is hard work, and all too often groups do not live up to their potential. Provides a framework for analyzing work groups so that group leaders and members can identify actions that will enhance their effectiveness. Helps provide insight into the factors most profoundly shaping the development, dynamics, and effectiveness of task-performing groups and, in particular, group culture, its antecedents, and consequences. To illustrate how the framework is used, it looks at and analyzes an actual work group: the new product team of the Merit Corporation. Examines the impact of leadership style on group culture and outcomes and describes how one leader's individual style can affect the way teams operate and perform.

Keywords: Framework; Leadership Style; Service Operations; Organizational Culture; Performance Effectiveness; Groups and Teams; Research and Development; Behavior;


Hill, Linda A., and Michel Anteby. "Analyzing Work Groups." Harvard Business School Background Note 407-032, August 2006.