Tag Archives: collaboration

What’s your team member style?

In a previous post, I discussed a PINOT group I’m  involved in (“Harmonious Cross-Functional Teams“). In researching how team members come together (or sometimes don’t) in cross-functional teams, I came across Glenn M. Parker’s book, “Cross-Functional Teams: Working With Allies, Enemies, and Other Strangers” (Parker, 2002).

Parker describes four basic types of team members, illustrated in my Slideshare below.

I think what’s often not appreciated is that it’s necessary to have all four types of team members (the contributor, collaborator, communicator, and challenger) to make a functional cross-functional team.

In Parker’s book, he notes that:

The diversity of cross-functional team players creates a new culture. Therefore, it is important to understand that in creating a cross-functional team, you are fashioning a potentially powerful organizational vehicle. Although it lacks the simplicity of a functional team composed of, for example, six engineers all reporting to the engineering manager, a cross-functional team has a greater chance of realizing the potential synergy of that old axiom: the whole is greater than the sum or its parts. This group of allies, enemies, and strangers can weave together a cross-functional design that is an amalgam of many cultures.

How can we, as learning developers, support workplace learning that connects these different cultures? More about that in the next post.

For more resources, and generally harmonious discussions on team performance and workplace learning, please consider joining our group on PINOT.


Parker, G. M. (2002). Cross- functional teams: Working with allies, enemies, and other strangers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.