Problem-construction in teams.

  • D. B. P. Sims

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


In this thesis we propose that, in order to understand better the way in which work is done in teams, we need to understand how some particular view of some particular situation comes to be regarded as a "problem" for a team we argue that this process of "problem-construction" is at least as significant as the process of "problem-solving". We review literature in the several fields that are related to this topic. The evolution of the research project is described; that description, together with a description of the context in which the main study took place, fora antecedents for the development of the methodology. Data are presented from a study of the Health Care Planning Teams in Bath Health District during the planning cycle 1976/1977. The data are drawn both from accounts given by team members of their own, and others', actions and intentions, and also from our observations of meetings of the teams. Categories are developed from our analysis of the data, "grounded" in the expressed beliefs, and usually in the words, of team members, about problem-construction in these teams. Some analysis is also given of the rules that seem to govern problem-construction in the teams and the sanctions used to enforce those rules. The categories and other analytic statements are drawn together as a connected commentary on the processes of problem-construction in the teams. The research was conducted on holistic principles, but it is argued that the conceptual development and the emerging categories provide an incipient framework for understanding problem-construction in other teams. Directions for further development of the research are proposed.
Date of Award1978
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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