Meredith Belbin

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Meredith Belbin (1926) is a British researcher best known for his ground breaking research in the field of team effectiveness. He is a Professor and researcher at Henley Business School in Oxfordshire, England. He became world wide famous with his theory on Team Roles.

The career of Meredith Belbin

Meredith Belbin obtained a degree in Classics and psychology from Clare College, which is a subsidiary of the University of Cambridge.

After having done research in the industrial sector, Belbin joined the Industrial Training Research Unit (ITRU). Later Meredith Belbin became chairman of the ITRU and combined this job with a consultancy position for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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In the 1960s Meredith Belbin carried out research at Henley Management College. Fascinated by people’s performance in combination with group as well as individual behaviour, Meredith Belbin asked three fellow scholars to carry out research into the effectiveness within management teams from different perspectives. These three fellow scholars were Bill Hartston (a mathematician), Jeanne Fisher (an anthropologist) and Roger Mottram (an organizational psychologist). The research took seven years and each year three management games were organized in which eight teams participated in role plays. These role plays were based on certain organizational situations.

Before the start of a role play, each participant was asked to complete a number of psychological tests. Participants were observed during the role plays and their behaviour was recorded and categorized. In the course of time, based on the results of management games, predictions could be made which team would win the game based on a certain team composition.

Meredith Belbin team roles

This research became the basis for the classical book Management Teams (1981). One of the most important conclusions of the research was the proposition that an effective team has members that cover nine classic team roles. In 1981 the basis was formed by eight team roles and at a later stage the role of ‘specialist’ was added.

4 famous quotes by Meredith Belbin

  1. “Do you want a collection of brilliant minds or a brilliant collection of minds?”
  2. “A team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role that is understood by other members.”
  3. “What is needed is not well balanced individuals, but individuals who balance well with each other.”
  4. “The benefit of utilising and understanding Team Roles is that not only do we learn more about ourselves, but also a lot about our work colleagues and how to get the best out of them.”

Publications and books by Meredith Belbin et al.

  • 2013. Changing the Way We Work. Routledge.
  • 2012. Beyond the Team Routledge.
  • 2011. Business: The Ultimate Resource. A&C Black Business Information and Development.
  • 2011. Good Small Business Guide 2011: How to start and grow your own business. A&C Black Business Information and Development.
  • 2010, 1993. Team Roles at Work. Routledge.
  • 2009. The Belbin Guide to Succeeding at Work. A&C Black Business Information and Development.
  • 2003, 1996. Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail. A Butterworth-Heinemann Title.
  • 2001. Managing without power: Gender relationships in the story of human evolution. Routledge.
  • 1999. Improving the job.
  • 1998. The Coming Shape of Organization. Routledge.
  • 1996. Team roles and a self-perception inventory.
  • 1993. A reply to the Belbin Team‐Role Self‐Perception Inventory by Furnham, Steele and Pendleton. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 66(3), 259-260.
  • 1991. Design Innovation and the TEAM. Design Management Journal (Former Series), 2(3), 38-42.
  • 1972. Problems in adult retraining. Heinemann.
  • 1972. Retirement strategy in an evolving society. Behavioral Publications.
  • 1970. Inspection and human efficiency. Applied Ergonomics, 1(5), 289-294.
  • 1969. The Discovery Method in Training.
  • 1965. Training methods for older workers.

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