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Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy by Edgar H. Schein, Amy C. Edmondson

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Chapter Two

Teaming to Learn, Innovate, and Compete

Friday afternoon in a major urban medical center: A patient’s white blood cell count has suddenly spiked upward a few days after major surgery, indicating the possibility of a life-threatening infection. The patient’s breathing is labored, and the color has all but drained from his face. To ascertain the infection’s source, his physician orders a CT scan of the patient’s abdomen and chest. The order is written just after noon.

What happens over the next four days illustrates how much can go wrong when the work is interdependent but teaming doesn’t occur. Unfortunately, hospitals are settings in which teaming failures are frequent and can have life-or-death consequences.

A CT scan is a procedure ...

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