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What is a widespread antonym to "cross-functional team"?

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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp Jan 30 '12 at 11:16

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Do you mean a team which is the opposite of cross-functional? Or something else? –  pdr Mar 19 '11 at 16:27

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Specialised teams.

A cross-functional team contains individuals with many different areas of expertise.

Its antonym is several specialized teams (e.g. the Web team, the database team, the project management team).

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Can you point to any citations? I've not heard this term before. –  JBRWilkinson Mar 20 '11 at 9:52

Those come to mind:

  • Silo
  • Expert
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From an organizational behavior perspective (OB) the opposite of a team is a heiarchy where generalists are involved in top down decisionmaking instead of having specialists self-manage in groups/teams.

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Many groups also have cross-functional teams within organizational hierarchies. The cross-functional team is a way to collaborate and share information that would not otherwise make it up and down the hierarchy. –  Robert Harvey Mar 19 '11 at 16:22
All organizations can exist with a mixture of different structures. The term team has a very specific connotation within OB though, the characteristics of which are nearly polar opposite to that of a heiarchy. I think I should have stayed out of this question as it isn't realy apt for this forum (discussing differences in teams, worgroups, commitees, etc. flat vs. matrix, vs. heiarchial structures. [and more]). I bet we'd get a great discussion if the question was moved to the Project Management site. –  iivel Mar 19 '11 at 16:28

A dictator

From Wikipedia:

A cross-functional team is a group of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal. It may include people from finance, marketing, operations, and human resources departments. Typically, it includes employees from all levels of an organization. Members may also come from outside an organization (in particular, from suppliers, key customers, or consultants).

Conversely, the antonym, or opposite, within the context of a team is not a specialist team. The specialist team provides a single function to the overall project and therefore an aggregation of specialist teams forms a cross-functional team.

Instead the antonym of cross-functional team is better described as a dictator.

This does not have to be assumed to be a negative approach overall. After all, sometimes one person leading with confidence and experience can produce an overall positive result for everyone. It's pretty rare, though.

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Reminds me of the Chief Surgeon in 'Mythical Man Month'. –  Andy Wiesendanger Mar 23 '11 at 15:08
  • dysfunctional team
  • homogenous team
  • no team
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