In this age of technology and fast moving competitive environment, the concept of group and team has become popular. Every organisation is trying to fulfill their objectives by bringing together individuals in the form of a group or team.
Group and team are terms commonly used by people as synonyms. However, in reality, there are distinct features between these two words which if rightfully known and utilized can bear fruitful results.
Group vs Team
The main difference between a group and team is that a group has more number of people with a primary aim to complete a focussed assignment by delegating the tasks, while a team will have a lesser number of people focussed on achieving a common goal with collective efforts.
However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
Comparison Table Between Group and Team (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Group||Team|
|Description||Individuals with similar ideas, thought patterns or goals who come together for completing an assignment||Individuals with similar or diverse skills come together to achieve a common goal|
|Examples||Trade Unions||Leadership Team, Cricket Team|
|Process followed for accomplishing the task||Discuss and delegate further||Discuss and do without further delegating (i.e. collectively performed where everyone does his or her bit of work)|
|Focus||Accomplishment of goals of each individual||Accomplishment of goals of entire team|
|Management||May be more of an autocratic nature in the form of telling the members what to do and to get it done||In the form of collective efforts and decision making|
|Impression of the members||Coming together for fulfilment of certain tasks||Working together for accomplishing a common goal|
|Sharing of responsibility||No sharing of responsibility||Team members share the responsibility|
|Nature of members||Independent||Interdependent (each member is dependent on the efforts put by others)|
|Number of leaders||One||Can be more than 1|
|Nature of work product||Individual work product||Collective work product|
|Awareness of the common tasks||Not much awareness as members tend to complete their own task||Aware of the other members work as success depends on collective functioning|
|Contribution to other members work||Less or nil as members are focussed on their own assignments||Can contribute to other members work due to high visibility|
|End Results||May not be great as members lack visibility of others work||Better due to high visibility|
|Conflicts||High as each member may have different thought patterns||Less due to small size and common goal|
|Development of members||Less scope||More scope due to recognition of individuals|
|Praising, rewards and recognition||Less or none||High|
What is Group?
Group is a collection of persons whose main objective is to work in a cohesive manner to complete a common assignment. Group members have an individual identity meaning each member is responsible for his or her own work without any collective responsibility or dependency on others.
Group can have multiple patterns or types such as formal groups which include task groups or committees created by an authority for completing a certain task, membership groups such as trade unions, informal groups such as friendship groups, permanent and ordinary groups etc.
Group management tends to be more in the form of an imposing nature where people are provided direction to perform the duties. Individuals in a group may not be appreciated, recognized and praised with all success being attributed to the leader.
Group may be small or large but the people will have some aspect which is common and which promotes the members to come and remain together. However, due to individual choices and conflicts and non-dependency on other members there can be a feeling of resentment and easy breaking or dissolution of the group.
What is Team?
Team is a group of individuals coming together in an organized fashion for achieving a common purpose. Team members will usually possess certain skill sets which enables them to partner with others in the team to achieve a common goal.
Team members possess a collective accountability meaning all the members share the burden of responsibility or failure. The various examples of team include project team, leadership team, football team, management team, special task team, troubleshooting team etc.
Team will have interdependence amongst members who share and contribute to the work of others maximizing the overall potential and generating success.
Team can create synergies within the members, generating collective efforts and using everyone’s knowledge for common purpose achievement.
Team management is based on the philosophy of nurturing the members through effective collaboration. This can mean including the members in the decision-making process, sharing of tasks and recognizing, appreciating, celebrating, and rewarding the success of members that enable production and retaining of best talent.
Main Differences Between Group and Team
- Group is a collection of individuals who come together to fulfill a common task. Team is a collection of individuals coming together for accomplishment of a common goal.
- Group follows a process of accomplishing the tasks by discussing the tasks and further delegating the same. Team follows a process of accomplishing the tasks by collective efforts so that performance is accomplished by each and every person in the team.
- Group focus is on achievement of goals of each individual and hence members are not dependent on other members. Team focus is on attainment of the goals of the team and so members are dependent on each other.
- Group develops work products which tend to be individualistic in nature. Team puts together work products which portray the entire team’s efforts.
- Group members are more interested in their own tasks and hence may not know or contribute to the work of other members. Team members have visibility of other members’ assignments which promotes contribution and high quality results.
- Group conflicts are more and tough to resolve due to large size and lack of trust. Team conflicts are less due to small size, high visibility, high trust, internal bonding and cooperativeness.
In an organization, the terms group and team may be used interchangeably especially in cases of project execution and many people may be even unaware of the real differences. Also, it is quite possible that teams may be further subdivided into multiple groups or vice versa.
The difference between group and team though subtle may not matter much in a company/firm setup.
The objective of the management when they form a group or team is to combine the synergies of individuals, promote collaborative functioning, and generate efficiencies to accomplish the institutional goals in the best possible fashion.