Cross-functional work is becoming increasingly common as more and more organizations and companies require larger and more diversified work groups in terms of human resources. This means that the organization, planning, and projection of cross-functional work involves members from different areas. As a result, they manage to interact and carry out the company’s objectives in the best possible way.
In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to understand what cross-functional work is. We will go through its characteristics and how to make the most of the available resources to achieve objectives in a more efficient way (1).
- Cross-functional work helps improve teamwork performance. It makes the most of available resources.
- It generates greater work commitment from each area, allowing each one to interact with the other.
- It provides better solutions to the organization of projects and tasks that involve many professionals from different areas and knowledge.
What you should know about cross-functional work
Cross-functional work involves different disciplines within an organization, seeking continuous improvement of solutions to different problems. The key is to work together having different points of view from different sectors. The goal is to be able to propose and develop different solutions to a common problem.
What is cross-functional work?
It is the organization, planning, and projection of tasks that involve different professionals from different areas of an organization to successfully carry out common projects.
The importance of this work strategy is that it delegates responsibilities to area leaders in order to improve their leadership, communication, and interaction skills with other professionals. In addition, the members of each team will develop knowledge of areas outside their own (2).
What is a cross-functional project?
It is the development of a specific project that has the capacity to count on and integrate professionals from different areas so that they can relate and interact with each other. The key is that the work team is as diverse as possible.
The development of a constant and varied competence makes the resolution of problems and the creation and idealization of projects more varied (3).
How is a cross-functional team formed?
It is formed by the members and leaders of each area, who have specific knowledge in the field in which they operate. It is advisable to take into account the following characteristics and points in order to form it and make it work effectively.
Learn more about Cross Functional Teams
What professionals make up a cross-functional team?
The types of professionals that form or will form a cross-functional team will depend on the type of project being carried out. On many occasions, it may happen that the organization does not have the necessary professionals or that it does have them, but they are not highly qualified in order to diversify the people involved. Thus, it will be necessary to hire a person to perform the task.
It is always ideal to evaluate the current situation of the work areas in order to determine which professionals will carry out the cross functional projects.
Having a project manager is ideal to be able to start working since they will be the leader in charge of managing the tasks to be carried out.
Check out our article on Project Management Requirements
What is the importance of cross-functional work?
The importance of implementing cross-functional work is that it presents many advantages and improvements in work processes, creating and achieving some of the following improvements:
How is cross-functional work in education?
In education, cross-functional work involves different fields of study such as pedagogy, psychology, and technology. The latter is a resource to achieve better results during the learning process (4).
Although education has been transforming in recent years due to technological advances and the way we learn, during the pandemic, there was an exponential change. We went from attending classes in classrooms to learning any type of specialty from the Internet. This brings into focus what would be the most optimal way for the student to receive the information they are trying to learn.
Logically, this new paradigm means that professionals who used to have traditional teaching methodologies now have to adapt to the new methodologies.
The reasons why it is important that the training and updating of professionals in education are constant brings certain benefits to the students, such as:
- It educates their ability to make decisions.
- It improves their knowledge retention
- Learning becomes more didactic and playful.
- There is a wide variety of audiovisual and bibliographic resources available.
These benefits can be achieved thanks to the formation of an interdisciplinary team in the field of education that possess knowledge in digital skills or get the help of professionals from other areas.
What does cross-functional work in psychology look like?
The role of a psychologist within an interdisciplinary team can be in the health area as well as in the business or public sphere.
In the health area, they share tasks with physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, or therapeutic companions. On the private or public side, together with project coordinators, team leaders, human resources managers, CEOs, or public administration personnel (5).
Its approach is to think of a way that focuses on the particular situation of each person or team, taking into account the task that each one fulfills. It allows the development of dialogue, meetings, and communication between the different parties. Team coordination is a fundamental part of correct functioning.
Advantages and benefits
Cross-functional work helps to promote the development of new conceptual ideas and methodological innovations, fostering dialogue between the professionals involved in the projects with the aim of creating better understandings and work processes.
Thanks to the formation and implementation of an interdisciplinary group, resource and time costs are reduced. The margins of error in daily tasks are considerably reduced according to the state of evolution of the team.
Every organization should rethink how the current organization of the different teams is composed. They should take advantage and give themselves the opportunity to have a cross-functional team. Improvements in the daily issues and problem approaches represent the visible face of how this new work system helps to improve the different aspects of a project.
Team planning and organization are long-term projects that do not bring results overnight. It is essential to have professionals with experience in the preparation, training, and development of new teams.
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1. ROSALES, Mildred. Multiprofessional and interdisciplinary teamwork. Revista Científica Salud Uninorte, 1999, vol. 14.
2. JAR, Ana M. Interdisciplinary and interinstitutional work: to be or not to be. Revista argentina de microbiología, 2010, vol. 42, no 1, p. 1-3.
3. CASTELLANOS QUINTERO, SARA JULIA, et al. THE INTERDISCIPLINARY PROJECT AS A FORM OF ARTICULATION OF KNOWLEDGE. 2007.
4. LENOIR, Yves. Interdisciplinarity in education: a synthesis of its specificities and updating. Interdiscipline, 2013, vol. 1, no 1.
5. PARISÍ, Elio Rodolfo. Psicología, interdisciplina y comunidad. Enseñanza e investigación en Psicologia, 2006, vol. 11, no 2, p. 373-384.