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This Element is an excerpt from Do the Right Thing: How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers and Large Profits (9780132343343) by James F. Parker. Available in print and digital formats.

Why teamwork across organizational boundaries is even more important than you realize--and how you can promote it.

The term Jody Hoffer Gittell used to describe Southwest’s greatest competitive advantage, “relational coordination,” is basically an academic term for teamwork. In other words, people work across functional lines to achieve common goals. Through field research and statistical analysis, Gittel demonstrated that such teamwork is not just an organizational nicety--it produces a dramatic difference in performance....

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