Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review

I have recently had my book-review for Edmondson's teaming (2012) published in the Learning and Performance Quarterly online journal. LPQ is a student-led, blind peer-review journal. LPQ is an open-access publication designed to make research available to the public and to support a greater exchange of global knowledge with articles supporting innovative learning and performance across disciplines (LPQ). As a reviewer for LPQ we are looking for additional reviewers and potential editors. If anyone is interested or needs the experience of being a reviewer for their resume go the the web page and submit your name. By being an open-source publication there is no membership required,  all articles are available for reading at any time. I hope you enjoy LPQ. You can also follow LPQ on Facebook.

The book-review is listed below:

Learning and Performance Quarterly, 1(3), 2012 31 
 Book Review 
Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy 
Jossey-Bass; 2012; 334 Pages; ISBN: 978-0-7879-7093-2 
New emerging constructs found in today's literature include those referring to collaboration, complexity, and globalization. One concept that builds on each of these aforementioned constructs is teaming. Edmondson has been involved with noteworthy research in the areas of small group and team research, including that of team psychological safety. Team psychological safety represents a climate in which group and/or team members feel comfortable questioning other's ideas, feel comfortable being challenged to defend one's own point of view, and are more open to constructive criticism. In her research, Edmondson identified psychological safety as a team construct in which a psychological safety measurement was developed showing that psychological safety affects learning behavior and also team performance. In her recent book, teaming, team psychological safety is but one construct identifying the learning construct teaming. 
Edmondson stated that “teaming is teamwork on the fly” (p. 13). Teams are traditionally portrayed in the literature as being a noun, consisting of fixed groups in pursuit of a common goal. Edmondson changes the discussion by placing teams as a verb, representing a dynamic activity, determined by the mindset and practices of teamwork. In Edmondson’s foundation for learning model, teaming is the first foundation, representing the structural support required for all other activities to take place. Edmondson identified four behaviors to accompany the foundation of teaming: speaking up, experimentation, collaboration, and reflection, 
Organizing to Learn 
Teaming is further differentiated from recent literature in that teaming is an organizational learning model. Edmondson’s model puts teaming as the driver for successful organizational learning functions. While teaming provides an environment for learning, Organizing to Learn, the second foundation for Edmondson’s learning model, promotes collective learning. Collective learning includes the following individual learning behaviors: a) asking questions, b) sharing information, c) seeking help, d) experimenting with unproven actions, e) talking about mistakes, and f) seeking feedback (p. 27). Edmondson identified the following four steps for the foundation organizing to learn: framing for learning (mental maps), creating psychological safety, learning from failure, and reaching across boundaries. 
The third and final foundation in Edmondson’s foundation for learning model was Execution-as-Learning, paralleling the same idea as that of action learning. Action learning follows four general principles, a) learning is acquired by doing, b) participants address organizational problems as well as personal development, c) participants work in Learning and Performance Quarterly, 1(3), 2012 32 
teams with peers, and d) participants follow an attitude of learning-to-learn. Execution-as-Learning was best described by Edmondson as the place in which "action and reflection go hand in hand” (p. 222). Four steps were included in Edmondson’s foundation for learning model to represent the foundation Execution-as-Learning: diagnose, design, act, and reflect. 
Together, these three foundations structure a learning environment (teaming) functioning on collective learning principles (Organizing to Learn) in which problems are addressed through systematic action learning steps (Execution-as-Learning). In Edmondson’s model a heavy emphasis was placed on leadership, which is required to get the process rolling. This heavy emphasis on leadership could be viewed as a weakness if an organization does not have a supportive leader. Edmondson indicated that leadership is what makes the process work, tying the foundations together. Successful teaming and learning thrive when leadership is able to focus on the foundations for learning, thus creating the by-product of a learning culture. Teaming is about more than just teams and their internal interactions. Teaming becomes the building block for a learning organization, which is the strength of Edmondson’s book. 
John R. Turner is currently a doctoral student in the Applied Technology & Performance Improvement (ATPI) program at the University of North Texas. His background is in engineering, with a second bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development (HRD) from the University of Texas at Tyler. His research interests include performance improvement, team performance, team cognition, cognition/metacognition, outcomes-based evaluation, and meta-analysis techniques, and he has published in Performance Improvement and Journal of Knowledge Management. 

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