Debate – There has been a lot of debate lately as to whether the organizations and groups should function as teams (in which everyone makes decisions) or as individuals handling authority and responsibility for a task. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I prefer to examine the facts and see if there is any merit to this theory.
Pros & Cons –
The decision of carrying on a task as a one-person responsibility or as teamwork depends on the type of the task or project. A humungous task involving many people can be executed better if a single person takes the lead and responsibility for the completion. It does not mean that all decisions would be biased or authoritative.
Functioning as team with all people making decisions might lead to chaos and conflict. A saying goes – ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’. One person may take responsibility on behalf of others in conducting the task smoothly. We cannot ignore the fact that one person central authority would prove to be more representative of others’ decision than in teamwork where everyone would try to impose his/ her own opinion without being under any obligation to listen to other’s views. All are on the same platform. The single person responsibility puts him on a higher pedestal with an additional task of respecting others opinions. One way could be conducting meetings and gathering everyone’s decisions. One should not generalize that all groups should function as teams without any single person responsibility.
One also assumes that teamwork automatically ensures sharing of responsibilities and duties. In reality, individuals are more demanding for their rights but have the habit of shunning duties. In corporations and groups also, this holds true. The task of distributing work is not an easy one. There should be someone to allocate work and assure the individuals that it is equitable. If one person takes the responsibility of a task, he/ she shoulders well, the responsibility of allocating tasks as he/ she has to ensure the completion of the task in time. It is not appropriate to say that one-person central authority is not an effective way to get work done.
The issue of accountability is also noteworthy. A single person would be directly accountable for a task or project. A team of people would behave erratically. In times of failure, everyone would tend to pass the buck onto someone else. If the project becomes a success, everyone in the team would try to take the credit. If a single person takes the lead, the success or failure can be attributed to him/ her representing the whole team. The central authority can give an unbiased feedback on the individuals in his team. Individuals find it more rewarding when they are assigned a fixed task and performance monitored with appropriate laurels or criticisms. Teamwork cannot ensure all these in an acceptable and credible manner. A single person central authority may thus be more effective than a team working on a task.