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Functional teams usually work on specific assignments or to achieve a particular goal. The members on a functional team usually include employees within a department or operating unit. Functional teams are often self-directed and can effectively deliver specific products or services with defined cost and time parameters, or address group improvement issues.
Cross-functional teams usually work to integrate multiple functions, or to investigate and resolve issues. The team members include individuals from two or more areas who are selected for their knowledge of the situation, their experience, or their expertise. A cross-functional team might also be referred to as a Task Force, Process Improvement team, or Product Launch team.
Multi-functional teams develop organizational issues, make policy, define philosophy, plan direction, and cultivate opportunities. The team members include individuals from every level of the organization, and may sometimes be empowered as the organization's management team.
Quality Circles work on specific quality, productivity, or service challenges. They are often temporary teams. The team members are volunteers and, in many cases, do not have authority. However, they may advise or recommend action by management or another team.
Team building requires people to change because teams don't function in the typical ways we've learned to get along at home, in school, and in many work situations. To build trust and encourage buy-in by every member, management must openly support team efforts.