Group vs. Team – Difference and Comparison
In most organizations, employees work together to achieve goals and complete specific tasks. Most people work in teams or groups. Cross-team collaboration is vital to the entire organization's success and every given project.
Unknown to most people, there's a clear difference between group and team. Although they both consist of people working hand in hand, their working arrangements differ.
This article will offer a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between groups and teams.
Let us get started.
Group vs Team: A Quick Comparison
A group and team may appear to be the same, but they are not and have different definitions.
Groups and teams have certain things they have in common. They share resources, information, space, and equipment—certain differences regarding priorities and relationships.
What is the main difference between a group and a team?
- Leadership: A group has only one leader. On the other hand, a team can have a single leader and multiple leaders. For a work group to function effectively, a single leader can be in charge, assign tasks to group members, and organize and manage meetings.
- Responsibilities: Within a group, the group members do not share responsibility, but team members share the responsibility of the project team.
- Goals: Group members are concerned about achieving their individual goals, but team members focus on the team’s collective goals.
- Output: Group members work separately, and the managers individually judge their work regarding the project goals. On the other hand, members of teams create a single, collective work that is assessed as a whole.
- Accountability: The group members are accountable to themselves and their superiors, but team members have mutual accountability.
- Dependency: Group members are independent while team members are interdependent.
- Process: A team discusses the problem at hand and collectively finds a solution, while a group discusses the problem and delegates tasks to individual members to solve.
- Both have individual members that work together to accomplish a specific task or a common objective.
- They require two or more individuals to be regarded as either a team or a group.
- They both need a leader to operate and perform the given task.
- They both have to share information and resources among their members.
- There is a need for a face-to-face relationship.
Both groups and teams need effective online collaboration tools to help manage time, increase productivity, and maximize results.
What is a Group?
A group consists of unique individuals joined together by shared interests or experiences. Within a group, group members have individual goals and accountability for their success or failures.
Group members work separately but have common interests that bring them together. They have different backgrounds and different areas of expertise.
Groups can be in two forms. You can have a formal group or an informal group.
Formal groups are formed by company management, while informal groups exist because of individuals' common interests.
Characteristics of a Group
A group is different from a team. Certain key differences easily make it possible to differentiate groups from teams, and these features are unique to them.
1. Individual Goals
Within a group, there is no specific goal or objective that team members seek to achieve through collective efforts. Each group member is there to fulfill their objectives.
2. Size and Composition
A group may have a large number of members or few members; however, a group is full of people with related interests.
3. Group Members Work Independently
In a workgroup, members are independent, which means they do not rely on each other to take action and achieve their tasks.
4. Individual Accountability
Individuals in a group are accountable for every action they take within the organization. Whatever the result of the action is, they take personal responsibility for it. They are usually not accountable to other members.
5. Status and Collective Identity
The level to which the group is valued in the outer world defines its status. Group members are collectively known to be a part of a particular group. They need to have a mutual understanding and good relationship with other members.
Knowing the advantages of a group will greatly help you decide which is best suited for your needs.
1. Groups Build Temporal Relationships
Within a group, members have a temporal relationship, such as short-term external projects or temporary internal consulting.
2. Groups Are Great for Efficiency
Groups focus more on individual efficiency, unlike teams that are more concerned with team building and the collective efforts of the whole team.
The natural result is that the individual members become more effective in their work, and the group is objective.
3. Groups Focus On Individual Growth
Within groups, you have more individual experts than team experts because groups support individual work and build individual strengths.
Apart from the listed advantages of working in a group, certain drawbacks also characterize working in a group.
Having a balanced knowledge of both pros and cons of working in a group will ensure that when it comes to decision making, you make the right one regarding where to work.
1. Groups Can Alienate Individuals
Within a group, you can get lost and alone. Members within a group work individually; this results in no team building. The lack of teamwork within groups can alienate individuals and cause communication issues.
2. Groups Do Not Support Organizational Goals
The absence of teamwork causes a huge gap in organizational clarity. Commencing work without organizational goals and objectives becomes a difficult task.
What is a Team?
A team consists of interdependent people brought together by a shared goal and common purpose. Team members have personal and shared accountability for the team’s success or failure.
Teams work to resolve problems, create deliverables, and accomplish organizational tasks. They come in different forms: cross-departmental, self-managed, and process teams. In large organizations, there is a management team overseeing the work of other teams.
Team members share information to help accomplish the task at hand more effectively. Furthermore, the team is primarily responsible for the results of the collective efforts of the team members.
There are different types of teams, and they vary based on purpose, organization, and industry.
- Troubleshooting team
- Management team
- Project team
- Virtual team
- Special purpose team
- Operational team
- Self-directed team
- Sports or football team
All these teams can use team collaboration software to ensure effective and real-time collaboration, especially when team members work remotely.
Characteristics of a Team
- Common Goal: All the team members work hand in hand to achieve the team's common goal or objective.
- Trust: It is a very important factor that keeps a team together. Each team member relies on the other member's capabilities and skills.
- Leadership: Hierarchy exists within a team, and leadership is an important factor. The team leader manages all the team's activities. Ensure the team leader has the right leadership qualities to lead a team effectively.
- Mutual Accountability: When the team underperforms, every team member is equally responsible for the failure and vice versa.
- Interdependence: One member's action affects the other team members. Their activities are jointly dependent.
- Defined Roles: Specific roles and responsibilities are allotted to each team member to accomplish for the whole team's benefit.
- Collaboration: Team members work in sync, and there is a high degree of synergy or coordination among the team members.
- Teams Build on Collaboration and Synergy: These values help support the overall goal and aid communication and organizational transparency.
- Teams Advocates for Group Productivity: Since team members work together and support each other’s work, it makes their work more productive.
- Teams are Better for Problem-Solving: Teamwork makes problem-solving easier than when it is an individual faced with the problem.
Apart from the known advantages of working in a team, teams also possess certain disadvantages. These disadvantages include struggling to support individual growth and efficiency issues.
1. Teams Do Not Always Focus on Individual Growth
Since most teams are more concerned about the greater good than what benefits individual members, there is a tendency for teams to neglect individual growth.
2. Teams May Struggle with Efficiency
Teams experience issues in efficiency, especially when the right organizational process is not implemented.
How to Lead Groups vs Teams
Leading groups vs teams need to be effective to achieve the desired results. You can group organizations into two categories: group-focused organizations and team-focused organizations.
1. Group-Focused Organizations
Finality and group dynamics are major topics when discussing a group’s organizational behavior.
Group dynamics refers to the behaviors, attitudes, and interactions between group members. The set of group dynamics greatly determines whether it will negatively or positively affect teamwork.
There are two types of group dynamics.
- Healthy Group Dynamics: Fluid collaboration and transparency.
- Unhealthy Group Dynamics: Lack of teamwork which results in individual isolation.
The solution to unhealthy group dynamics is implementing a team-focused strategy that breaks down communication barriers.
The group leader can also organize team-building activities to strengthen communication and enforce team bonding.
2. Team-Focused Organizations
Group-focused organizations have activities centered around team dynamics, experience transparency, and fewer communication issues.
However, for team-focused organizations, the focus is on solving problems together and achieving a shared goal. By solving problems as a team, your organization enjoys positive interdependent relationships among employees and healthy organizational behaviors.
Ensure you keep collective goals in sight for your team and empower them to depend on one another to accomplish the set objectives.
Finally, the team leader must create transparency by communicating project and business goals effectively.