The terms team and group are sometimes used synonymously but there are significant differences between a group and a team. There has been an emphasis on team building in many organizations, implying that a team is more than just a collection of individuals. Team and group differ in many ways from how they are formed to how they accomplish their goals. A team can be defined as a group of individuals with complementary roles that work towards a common goal. Understanding the difference between a working team and a working group is an important step towards building a working team and overcoming the challenges associated with teams.
It is less difficult to form a group than a team. A group can be a collection of individuals with common characteristics, for example, professional nurses can be grouped according to experience, gender or any other common features. Although easy to form, the effectiveness of a group could vary depending on many factors. Forming a group does not require a lot of time; it may take only a few minutes to bring together the members (Feltham, 2010, par3). Forming a team, on the other hand, is more involving. The members have different skills and are brought together for their complementary roles. They must be able to work together toward a common objective. Forming a team is a process that can take weeks or even years.
A team has common goals which every member contributes towards. Each member of a team understands the mission that has brought them together and uses his or her skills to help the team achieve its objectives. Each member has different roles but the collection of the different roles contributes to the overall result (Feltham, 2010, par 5). Members of a group, on the other hand, work as individuals. There is not much cooperation or complementation between the members. Members of a group are motivated more by their individual goals rather than the group’s objectives or mission.
A team has a common approach to its objectives. Every member associate strongly with the team. He or she can describe the mission of the team and have a clear understanding of the values or norms that guides the team. The contributions of members of a team are interdependent and are coordinated to achieve the overall goal. A group, on the other hand, does not have strong cohesion between members.
There is no common approach to a group’s goal but each member contributes individually to the overall goal without interdependence with other members (Feltham, 2010, par 5). A member of a group can leave the group without leaving a significant effect. On the other hand effectiveness of a team can be affected greatly by the absence of one of its members.
The overall outcome of a group constitutes the total of individual contributions while the overall output from a team is a collective contribution (Feltham, 2010, par 6). Members of a team are separately and jointly accountable for the end result unlike in groups where members are only responsible for their individual contributions. A group requires a strong leader to be effective while leadership in a group may not be based on an individual but may rotate among the members.
A diverse workplace is a necessity in the trend towards globalization. Many organizations and institutions have to serve people from diverse backgrounds. To do this effectively diverse employees are required. Diverse workers enable an organization or institution to offer a variety of solutions. Each diverse employee brings unique skills and talents that add to an organization’s performance. With diverse workers, an organization can be able to offer services at a global level with less difficulty.
Building a diverse team is usually a challenge. In building such a team, individual members’ interpersonal styles, background and experience, communication styles and personal work styles should be considered. Team building should aim at building cohesion within the diverse team members. Good communication within a diverse working team can be achieved through diversity training where individuals are shown how to cooperate for the team’s goals. Each member should be motivated to participate in the group’s activities while a team’s culture can be built to unify all the members (Armstrong, 2009, par 6).
Many organizations are turning to diverse work environments. Diversity has many positive effects on an organization or institution. It brings diverse skills, experiences and talents. With diverse workers, an organization can be more adaptable and competitive. Team building is very important in managing teams with diverse members. To ensure positive team dynamics, the mission, values and norms of a team should be well articulated. There should also be a clear team and leadership structure and each member should be aware of his or her roles (Armstrong, 2009, par 5). Team guidelines are also helpful in guiding interpersonal dynamics and behavior.
Team and group are essentially different. A team has to work together towards a common goal with each member’s contributions being reflected in the overall result. Although building a working team is usually a challenge, teamwork leads to better organizational or institutional performance.
Armstrong, T. (2009). Understanding team dynamics in the workplace. Web.
Feltham, S. (2010). Team Tactics: The Critical Difference between Groups and Teams. Web.