Are Self-Managed Teams Right for Your Organization?

Emma Hersh
May 3, 2024

Disadvantages of Self-Managed Teams

While there are lots of benefits to self-managed teams, they are not without their disadvantages. Here are a few.

Disadvantage 1: Employees must be Self-Motivated

The number one assumption an organization must make when adopting self-managed teams is that all employees can and are self-motivated and want to be self-managed. This means that the employee must have the drive and discipline to take on the necessary work without much direction. These types of employees are self-starters that can be trusted to accomplish organization and team goals without much supervision. They need to be comfortable with not having a clearly defined SOP or way forward to complete a task often developing the solution themselves.

While there are plenty of people that have these qualities, there are also plenty without. Organizations will need to carefully evaluate the people they hire to ensure they have these qualities. Additionally, team members should be encouraged to provide 360 feedback on each other’s performance to identify if team members are disengaged or not adequately supporting the team.

Disadvantage 2: Groupthink

Being self-managed can sometimes lead to “groupthink” where team members are at risk of going along with the majority instead of conducting thorough evaluations of proposed plans and solutions. Teams can combat this by encouraging team members to ask “Why?” SEMCO, a successful Brazilian manufacturing company, encourages their employees to fearlessly ask “why?” SEMCO believes that encouraging employees to ask “why?” encourages them to think thoroughly and creatively which leads to the best results for the organization as a whole.

Disadvantage 3: Not Suitable for Large Teams

Self-managed teams work best when they are small. The generally accepted team size usually falls between four and 13 people. Teams don’t work well when there are too many people. This increases bureaucracy and slows down the decision processes. Think about meetings or working groups you’ve participated in, in the past. Did you make well-analyzed decisions more quickly when there were five people or 30 people? The more team members you have the more communication paths are opened. If your organization requires larger teams to come together to make decisions, you may need managerial input to direct and manage the decision process or risk that the large self-managed teams will slow down the process and decrease productivity.


Removing managers and creating self-managed teams within an organization can be a great way to increase employee engagement and increase the organization’s efficiency. While there are disadvantages to this type of organization structure, with the right implementation, the benefits far outweigh them.

Inspired by this insight?
Let's collaborate

We're ready to apply our insights and expertise to your next project. Talk to us today and let's create your success story together.

General Inquiries

For general questions or comments about our work at Technical Assent, get in touch with us. We're always open to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.


Interested in joining the Technical Assent team? For inquiries about job openings, the application process, or anything related to starting a career with us, please connect with our dedicated careers department.


For questions related to our contract services, reach out to us at our contracting department. We're ready to discuss how our services can meet your unique needs.


Industry Knowledge

We've pioneered customer experience in government for over a decade. Browse our Insights to uncover our perspective and how it's evolved to meet today's challenges in customer-driven government.


Revisiting the Doctrine of Completed Staff Work

Learn about the Doctrine of Completed Staff Work: Present solutions decisively.
Emma Hersh
May 1, 2024

What Eli Whitney’s 1798 Gun-Making Contract Can Teach Us

In 1798, Adams spurred innovation in defense manufacturing.
Emma Hersh
February 5, 2024

Top Three Government Performance Indicators Every Agency Should Measure

Read about Government measuring performance and demonstrating value.
Emma Hersh
March 20, 2024

Discover what makes Technical Assent your ideal partner

Meet our leadership team, understand our capabilities, learn about our contracting procedures, and step through our unique process to see how we can transform your service delivery.


Meet the expert team guiding our mission to revolutionize government services.


Discover the unique skills and expertise we provide to create high-performing government services.


Review our contracting process designed to make working with us easy and efficient.


See how our Service Optimization Lifecycle helps government agencies adapt to changing customer needs.