Back to: Business Management
What is a Group versus a Team?
A “group” is two or more individuals who interact collectively such that their actions impact the others. Organizations generally consist of many groups with specific, collective functions.
A group’s performance is a combination of the individual efforts of each member, minute the process losses. Process loss is any aspect of group interaction that inhibits group functioning. For example, animosity among group members, low morale, high stress are sources of process loss.
A “team” is a type of group that functions as a cohesive coalition to achieve mutual goals.
In a group, individuals may retain responsibility for their own performance or output. Team members share a common vision and commitment to achieving the collective objectives of the team. Team members are willing to sacrifice personal interests (such as valuable resources) for the common good of the other team members.
These common goals and objectives and the mutuality of interest and motivation toward these goals distinguish from the basic group. In fact, the purpose of assembling a team is generally related to the accomplishment of common goals that would be difficult or impossible without collaboration and a combination of effort.
Teams also tend to be made up of a small number of individuals with complementary skills who are committed to a common goal, objectives, and methods for achieving them.
Teams generally achieve higher levels of performance than simple groups. Of course, forming effective teams requires positive leadership from managers. The characteristics of high-performing, effective teams include:
- Clear Goals – Common understanding of goals.
- Relevant Skills – Members will skills necessary to meet the tasks at hand.
- Mutual Trust – Team members have faith in the behaviors and objectives of other members.
- Unified Commitment – Team members have a level of loyalty to the team and possibly other members.
- Good Communication – There is an efficient method of communication among members.
- Negotiating Skills – Individuals are able to effectively trade off personal beliefs or positions to create greater value for the entire group.
- Appropriate Leadership – There is either a formal or informal leadership hierarchy.
- Internal and External Support – Internal members support the efforts of each other, while the external environment provides the resources necessary for goals and objectives.