Groups or Teams What Is the Difference?

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Groups or Teams
What is the Difference?
LaNise L. Heath
Group Behavior in Organizations MGT 415
Prof Vera L. Davis, MPA, MATD
December 20, 2010

Groups or Teams
What is the Difference?
Groups are a part of every aspect of our lives. Your family is an example of a group that people are a member of. You may be a member of a social group, a work group, or a small group in your church. According to Johnson and Johnson (2009) the definition of a group is “two or more individuals in face-to-face interaction, each aware of his or her membership in the group, each aware of the others who belong to the group, and each aware of positive interdependence as they strive to achieve mutual goals” (577). We will look at group dynamics in business and whether groups or individuals are more effective in a work environment. We will also look at group cohesiveness and how does social influence and social interaction affect decision-making. And we will take a look at leaders and if they are an important aspect of groups and finally if teams are more effective than work groups in some situations. Group dynamics is the field of study within the social sciences that focuses on the nature of groups. People have a need to belong and understanding how people act and react to attitudes and influences of a group will help businesses as they strive to achieve the goals of the company and the individual goals of those that work for them. Today many businesses have turned to small groups to reach the goals of the company. The technologies that have been developed over the past years have made it easy for groups to work together and not be located in the same town or the same state or country for that matter. Since groups engage in critical activities such as problem solving, determination of core competencies, decision making, and the like, understanding how they form, interact, and perform is critical in getting maximum commitment and performance from groups. Bruce Tuckerman developed a theory which included five stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Forming is the stage where the group is getting to know each other and determining the group’s goals and structure. This stage should not be rushed because trust and openness must be developed. Storming is the stage where members often challenge group goals and struggle for power. Some individuals will be working to become the group’s leader during this stage. Criticism and concerns are voiced during this time. The group must achieve cohesiveness through resolution id the group is to continue through the other stages. During the norming stage group members recognize differences and also shared expectations. Hopefully the group begins to gel and form an identity. They will also divide responsibilities between members and decide how they will evaluate the group’s progress. Next, performing occurs when the group matures and has developed a feeling of cohesiveness. Group members accept one another and conflict is resolved through group discussion. Decisions are made based on relevant goals rather than emotional issues. The last stage is adjourning. Not all groups go through this stage but if they do the most obvious reason is the group has accomplished the group’s goals (Smith, 2005). When established successfully, positive interdependence results in group members recognizing that individual success is linked to the success of the group and every other member. This occurs when success is the result of group effort and not just that of individuals managing and completing segments of the task. The structure of the task must demand that each member of the group offer a unique contribution to the joint effort. The result is every member is indispensable to achieving their mutual goals and that they are both dependent on and obligated to their peers. Research about groups is not always valid and relevant because...
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