Our Past, Present, and
Future in Teams
The Role of Human Resource
Professionals in Managing
Cristina B. Gibson, Bradley L. Kirkman
Most Fortune 1000 employees have been affected by the widespread proliferation of work teams. This holds true also for the millions of employees and managers who work outside the Fortune 1000. Recent evidence about the growth in work teams reinforces the notion that they have become a way of life in many organizations (Osterman, 1994; Lawler, Mohrman, & Ledford, 1995). For example, Osterman (1994) found that over 50 percent of the seven hundred firms he studied were using teams and that over 40 percent had more than half of their employees working in teams. As the use of teams continues to grow, human resource (HR) professionals need more knowledge about teams in general and, more specifically, information about the HR practices that enhance team performance. Human resources play a critical role in developing and implementing organizational strategies and structures. Successful HR professionals will be those who can align their organizational HR practices with the unique demands of team-based organizational structures.