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This paper estimates the economic costs and benefits of implementing teams among highly-skilled technicians in a large regional telecommunications company. It matches individual survey and objective performance data for 230 employees in matched pairs of traditionally-supervised and self-managed groups. Multivariate regressions with appropriate controls show that teams do the work of supervisors in 60-70% less time, reducing indirect labor costs by 75 percent per team. Objective measures of quality and labor productivity are unaffected. Team members receive additional overtime pay that represents a 4-5 percent annual wage premium, which may be viewed alternatively as a share in the productivity gains associated with innovation or as a premium for learning skills.


Suggested Citation
Batt. R. (1997). The economic costs and benefits of self-managed teams among skilled technicians (CAHRS Working Paper #97-19). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.