Insight into the Composition of the Management Team: A Source of Competitive Advantage

2017-06-06T01:31:04Z (GMT) by Barry, Bernard
Many writers have drawn attention to the growing importance of teams to the functioning of organisations. At the same time, however, there is a growing amount of evidence to suggest that senior management groups find it difficult to work together collaboratively in this way. One well know approach to the study of management teams is that provided by Meredith Belbin and his colleagues. This work, which began at Henley in 1969, has been developed and is now used in a number of countries. In recent years the Belbin approach has been subject to criticism by psychometricians who have drawn attention to the dearth of published evidence to support his team role model. This paper traces the development of the Belbin approach and describes the experience gained by the writer in using this to examine the top management teams of three organisations. These include an entrepreneurial concern which had undergone considerable growth; a large bureaucratic social welfare organisation and a major international consumer goods company. Although the team roles were meaningful and useful to the management teams concerned, it was concluded that the need for an objective evaluation of the reliability and valididty of the Belbin Interplace system would seem to be an urgent one.