Working together: scoping exercise for workforce capacity and planning

Kristina Brown, Robert McMurray, Jenna Ward

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This paper reports on a scoping exercise designed to assist Workforce Capacity and Planning manage the challenges of team working in the wake of the 20/20 initiative. A scoping review of key literature was undertaken with a view to identifying the theoretical and probable challenges of: team re-structuring and merger, sources of organisational pain, and possible responses to associated difficulties.
Scoping Key Messages•Major organisational transitions (downsizing, merger, restructuring) rarely achieve their original aims and are highly likely to worsen team functioning.•Those in lower civil service grades are liable to be more fearful of transformational changes, as are those who were in tightly knit groups/teams prior to any change. Senior organisational members are less likely to fear transformational change due to their wider organisational connections and outlook.•A decline in, or the paucity of, senior management communication during change can exacerbate fears, uncertainty, loss of identity, and the development of us (workers) and them (managers) divide.•Merging teams can cause conflict where: cultures and working practices are at odds, where there is competition for supremacy, or where roles/skills overlap.•Very few teams work collectively or collaboratively. For the most part, teams reflect the efforts of individuals that are then co-ordinated (in western models). This is particularly true of teams comprised of members of highly skilled professions.•Training and supervision for effective team working tends to be poor.•Higher performing teams tend to be self-managed but with appropriate supervision and support (e.g. resources, decision-making and emotional support).•Higher performing teams (and their leaders) tend to: commit to collective action; have shared cultures, norms and objectives; work in a wider organisational context that supports team working (rewards, reporting structures, communication lines, openness & flexibility), and; are characterised by trust and commitment.•Effective team leadership / management implies: clear and consistent communication (especially at times of organisational transition), appropriate support, shared culture and trust based relations.
The report was produced for internal DoH use and is not publicly available.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Health
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Health
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Working together: scoping exercise for workforce capacity and planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this