Groups and teams are two substantial components which cannot be neglected in an organization. In reality organization is a group and functionally it is team. According to The New Penguin English Dictionary (2001), a group is “a number of people or things gathered together or regarded as forming single unit”, whereas a team is “a group of two or more people who work together”. Therefore, it is understood that a team is a group, but not vice versa. A group to become a team, it needs to put several efforts on strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation. In a group people may work individually to achieve a common task, but in team they work collaboratively, as one, to achieve the group objective. Thus, the power of efficiency, coherence, acceptance and integrity increases and the possibility of collapsing, mistrust, confusion and inconvenience is minimised in a team. In an organisation there are several kinds of groups, varying from informal to formal, intentional to natural, latent to functional and technical to administrative, which are functionally different from one another. However, in most of the situations, teams function in the same pattern and underlie similar principles, even if the objectives or tasks are different.

 

Groups can be in different forms: small and big, styles: passive and active, levels: administrative and technical, and types: intentional, innate and accidental. Group effectiveness is not only on the style of leadership, but the degree of dedication and quality of the group. Even though different groups have different objectives, the principles underlying those are the same, according to Professor Warren Bennis (Kandul, 2003).

 

Great groups have a common vision. They discuss among themselves the kind of outcomes they are working and create a mutual atmosphere by understanding group perspective about it and eliminating group differences. This is achieved by resolving disagreements sacrificing individual interests. In order to throw away individual egos they create comprehensible common mission statements from the vision. Mission statements guide them towards the organizational objective, rather than going towards personal comforts. Also great groups create a competitive environment, where they work for beating their opponent. These opponents can be a person, a thing or a concrete idea, which naturally appears or are created by them. Even though a group is biologically old, great groups are young in their chronological age. They have creative ideas, which can easy tackle any challenges they face, and make unattainable things possible. Moreover, great groups produce strong leaders, who look after all the aspects of followers.

Teams are groups, which follow systematic plans, and people who work together collaboratively to achieve a common goal. There are several factors which judge the effectiveness of the team. Goals of a team are collectively discussed and the performance of the group is judged based upon collective ideas and suggestions. This encourages them to divide tasks among themselves. However, for task which does not necessarily require more human resource, individual effort is encouraged. Face-to-face meetings are highly encouraged as often as possible. This helps in sharing important information and minimising individual differences.  Another important factor of a team is shifting of leadership role. It is believed that creativity increases when the leadership position changes, as it would encourage varieties of perspective in the team. However, this change in leadership must be consciously carried out. Moreover, teams must encourage technology within them for quicker and easier access to modern techniques.

 

There are several reasons why groups and teams fail in achieving their goals. Some of the reasons by Harvey Robins and Michael Finley stated in Kandul (2003, P 170 & 171) are elaborated below.

 

  • Mismatch Needs: Members is the team have different priorities when working for the organizational goals.

  • Confused Goals: When set goals are ambiguous people will be misled, which would cause inefficient use of human resource.

  • Unresolved Roles: In any circumstance not knowing what to do is leading to vain.

  • Poor Decision Making: Taking a wrong measure or using the wrong approach.

  • Stupid Policies and Procedures: The procedures are never to be seen in written form. Illogical or impractical policies are laid.

  • Conflict: Disagreements are not resolved, never talk with true hearts.

  • Bad Leadership: Autocratic or bossy type leadership gain frustration of other people.

  • Anti-team Culture: Principles of team are not practised or wrongly practised.

  • Insufficient Feedback: Members do not know whether they are doing right or wrong. Not enough practical communication between members.

  • No Team Trust: No team spirit of assistance and guidance between members.

  • Poor Reward System: Always encourage the wrong person or neglect the person who should be rewarded. Give rewards for the sake of doing so.

  • Unwillingness to Change: Members are comfortable with the old traditional method of doing things.

Therefore, it is clearly understood that every organization consists of groups, where sometimes groups are teams, provided that team work is enforced. A great group is naturally a team. Features of a great group and team are very much similar. Collaborative work environment must be enforced properly for groups to become teams and teams must adhere to team spirits to maintain as a team.

 

References

The New Penguin English Dictionary. 2001. England: Penguin Books

 

Kandula, S.R (2003) Human Resource Management in Practice: with 300 Models, Techniques and Tools. Chapter 8. P 165-178.  New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited.