Project Management

Team Leadership and Coordination in Trauma Resuscitation

By Jr., Samer Faraj, Yan Xiao, Henry P. Sims, and Seokhwa Yun
Over the past two decades, teams have emerged as a critical organizing structure in the United States (Aldag & Fuller, 1993; Dumaine, 1990, 1994). The study of teams has become increasingly important in recent years as more and more organizations are turning to team methods of organizing (Dumaine, 1994). “One clear message from all the recent interest [in teams] is that there is a strong need for a better understanding of team functioning and team leadership in a wide variety of contexts” (Hollenbeck, Ilgen & Sego, 1994, p. 4).
Many of those teams are empowered and have a high degree of authority and responsibility vested within the team. A recent survey found that most Fortune 1,000 firms use teams with at least some employees, and that teams are one of the fastest growing forms of employee involvement (Lawler, Mohrman & Benson, 2001). Another recent trend is that teams are increasingly becoming a dominant form of organizing in knowledge intensive work settings. Knowledge teams are teams of individuals who apply “theoretical and analytical
knowledge, acquired through formal education” to solve team-related tasks (Janz, Colquitt & Noe, 1997, p. 878). Empowered knowledge teams are frequently used in situations requiring a high degree of specialization and interdependence such as in management consulting and in software development. One example of these empowered knowledge teams is a trauma resuscitation team, which is the focal interest of this paper. This paper is composed of four parts. First, we describe a trauma resuscitation team, its organizational context, and its conduct of a resuscitation. Second, we discuss a research method that we utilized in order to understand the leadership phenomenon in a trauma resuscitation team. Third, we report the results of our detailed examination of team leadership during a trauma resuscitation and develop specific propositions. Finally, we discuss our findings, limitations, implications, and contributions.

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