Chapter Enrichment Program Teams at the American Red Cross (A)

Case Solution

Jeffrey T. Polzer, Anita Williams Woolley
Harvard Business School ()

The American Red Cross has a system for structuring, staffing, and leading teams to review its local chapters. Mirroring professional services firms that use teams to serve clients, this system provides detailed guidelines to increase individual team member’s efficiency and thoroughness. The protagonist at Red Cross headquarters who designed the system, however, is concerned that the structure she has provided is detracting from the teams’ overall creativity and integration. Highlights the tradeoffs of providing teams with too little structure (e.g., inefficiency, variable quality of team’s work products) vs. too much structure (e.g., team members have little opportunity to utilize their expertise and creativity).

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