If you asked the self-organizing work group members I studied—especially those who worked together the longest—I think most would say no. Group members experienced the ability to work faster as part of these groups than they could on their own and as part of other teams and groups they were part of at work.

As for me, from my perspectiveas a researcher, I’m not entirely sure. I think it depends on what you actually want. Are you after self-sustaining learning in your organization? Are you after resilient adaptability and innovation that will self-perpetuate and outlive you as an individual and group? If so, I believe that becoming a self-organizing work group is an excellent place to start. The groups I was part of and studied supported group members (and many nearby others) in becoming more aware of what they, and others, were capable of—not despite their human limitations but embracing them. The self-organizing work groups I studied had primarily positive impacts to at least six levels in their organizations (as experienced by three group-level perspectives). Impacts lasted well past the lifetimes of the groups themselves. My research didn’t attempt to compare the speed of these groups with other types of groups. Most members of the groups I studied were after better and, for them, faster appeared to come as a side effect of simply working in this manner.

So if you are after only faster, maybe these groups aren’t for you. But if you are after more—for example, better, faster, and cheaper (one “trifecta” of the business world I come from)—then given what I’ve seen, my money is on self-organizing work groups.