Working in Groups

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Teamwork can be defined as a “collection or coalition of people who interact meaningfully in the pursuit of common goals or objectives and who have at least a tacit sense of agreed standards, values and common identity” (Schein, 1965). This has left many academics to analyse the benefits of working within a group, and how these compare to the disadvantages.

Working in groups has become increasingly popular with academics and organisations due to the excessive advantages which are obtainable. Groups who set their mind on one specific goal can draw on each other’s knowledge, perspectives and experiences which increase the quality of innovation. There is much evidence suggesting that teams “outperform individuals when the tasks being done require multiple skills, judgement and experience” (Sims, R 2002) compared to those working alone. Members of a team could develop new ideas which can encourage their own learning and widen their knowledge and interpersonal skills with other people.

However, many critics view that low- performing teams are “characterised... by conflict among members” (Sims, R 2000) when there are diverse opinions; these could arise due to the different learning styles we posses. This is supported by Honey and Mumford (1992), they categorised learning styles into activists; reflectors; theorists or pragmatists. This was further emphasised within the 3 hour workshop I was asked to prepare because I found I had to consider all the styles for the newly appointed graduate management trainees otherwise conflicts could amount.

Another disadvantage of working within a group could delve from the dictatorship which can occur from an overbearing leader. Buchanan and Huczynski (1985) define leadership where “one individual influences the behaviour of others.” Proposing these influences are negative, then individuals who are shy may feel intimidated and unwilling to share ideas. Some of the basic tactics of influence have been summarised by Forsyth...
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