Groups and Teams Paper
In this paper I will explain the differences between a group and a team. This paper will include an examination of workplace diversity in an organization and how it relates to team dynamics in the workplace.
Defining Group and Team
Before discussing the differences between a group and a team the terms must first be defined. The definition of a group is a collection of individuals who have regular contact and frequent interaction, mutual influence, common feeling of camaraderie, and who work together to achieve a common set of goals (Business Dictionary, 2010).
The definition of a team is a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project. Team members operate with a high degree of interdependence, share authority and responsibility of self-management, are accountable for the collective performance, and work toward a common goal and shared rewards (Business Dictionary, 2010).
Differences between Groups and Teams
A team becomes more than just a group of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members (Business Dictionary, 2010). In a group, members think they are grouped for administrative purposes only. In a team, members recognize their independence and understand both personal and team goals are best accomplished with mutual support. In a group, members tend to focus on themselves because they are not sufficiently involved in planning the units objectives. They approach their job simply as a hired hand. In a team, members have a sense of ownership of their jobs and department because they are committed to common goals that they helped establish.
In a group, members are told what to do without being asked what the best approach would be. Suggestion and creativity are not encouraged. In a team, members contribute to the organizations success by applying their unique talents, knowledge, and creativity to team objectives. In a group, members distrust the motives of coworkers because they do not understand the role of other members. Expressions of opinion or disagreement are considered troublesome. In a team, members work in an environment of trust and are encouraged to express ideas, opinions, disagreements, and feelings.
In a group, members receive training but are limited in applying it to the job by the manager or other group members. In a team, members are encouraged to develop skills and apply what they learn on the job. In a group, members find themselves in conflict situations they do not know how to resolve. Their leader may postpone intervention until serious damage is done. In a team, members realize conflict is a normal aspect of human interaction but they view such situations as an opportunity for new ideas and creativity. They work to resolve conflict quickly and constructively.
In a group, members may not participate in decisions affecting the team. Conformity often appears more important than positive results. In a team, members participate in decisions affecting the team but understand their leader must make a final ruling whenever the team cannot decide. In a group, members tend to work in an unstructured environment with undetermined standards of performance. In a team, members work in a structured environment, they know what boundaries exist and who has final authority.
Workplace diversity is defined as the similarities and differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation (Business Dictionary, 2010). Diverse groups perform better because they bring a wide variety of perspectives, experiences, and attitudes to the table. When combined, the diverse staff generates a unique team dynamic more wide-ranging in its scope, breadth, and depth, and thus better equipped to tackle complex problems and challenges.
An organizational culture that encourages employee involvement and creates a sense of ownership and responsibility is important for the management of workplace diversity. This suggests that a feeling that all employees are being developed and empowered within the workplace, not just those employees who contribute to diversity, is needed for the effective management of workplace diversity. Incorporating or considering the current organizational culture when designing a diversity management program could be one avenue for improving perceptions of diversity management by all employees and achieving the most positive outcome for workplace diversity (Guidroz, 2005).
The difference between the definition of group and team is very slight but the genuine meaning of the words goes much deeper. A team has a feeling of camaraderie, belonging, and working together to accomplish objectives while a group does not. If organizations want to create successful teams then they should use workplace diversity when selecting team members. This will better equip teams to handle complex problems and challenges.
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