Comparing work groups and work teams

Nowadays, group or team concept is adopted by the organization, to accomplish various client projects. When two or more individuals are classed together either by the organization or out of social needs, it is known as a group. On the other hand, a team is the collection of people, who are linked together to achieve a common objective.

Most of the work in a business entity is performed in groups. Although the individual personality of an employee is important, their effectiveness depends on the teams in which they are working collectively to achieve any objective. In a particular team, there can be several groups in which the group members individually help their leader to accomplish the goals. Below you can see the difference between group and team in an organization, explained in tabular form.

Difference Between
Work Groups and Teams

1. A leader dominates and controls a work group, while in a team, the leader is a facilitator.

In a work group, a leader usually dictates how the work group should run and function. All direct reports will look to the leader for direction and decisions.

In a team however, a leader facilitates the discussions with the team members. Each member’s input is taken into consideration and made part of the final decision.


2. The goals of a work group is often set by the leader or the head of the organization, while in a team, the members usually set the goals.

An organization often has pre-determined goals that the work group adopts as a part of their plan, but a team comes together to decide on their shared goals and objectives.

3. In a work group, the leader is obvious and he conducts the meeting; while in a team, the members are often actively participating in the discussions.

In a work group, members often just give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to the leader in the meeting or at most some minor suggestions because the meetings are usually a relay of information.

In a team, members are often actively participating and discussing about the issues at hand, offering their input spontaneously. This often creates a synergistic solution to many problems as the issue is seen from different perspectives.


4. In a work group, the leader assigns work to the members, while in a team, everyone decides together on the work assignments.

Work is usually decided from the top-down in a work group; roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and each individuals knows what their function is.

In a team, the work is usually decided collectively, and then the work is distributed accordingly to each individuals strengths, abilities and competence areas.

Reading this may give you the idea that working groups are not good and teams are the way to go. That’s not entirely true. Working groups are important in organizations as well and they should continue to exist in organizations to work, function and operate efficiently as a well-oiled machine.



Types of teams

Teams can be classified according to their objective. The four most
common forms of teams you are likely to find in an organization are
problem-solving teams, self-managed teams, cross-functional teams,
and virtual teams.

Problem-solving team

A problem-solving team is usually temporary. It is focused on solving a specific issue. This kind of team may be created after the financial crisis or any unplanned event or challenge. It is aimed to come up with solutions to help the company climb out of a steep recession.

Once guidelines are set in place and plans are formed, the task forces and committees are disbanded.

Virtual team

A virtual team involves employees who work in different locations and who rely on the power of communication and collaboration tools to get things done together.

This kind of team provides people with better life-work balance and allow business owners to hire the best experts.

There are different types of virtual teams that are characterized by 3 dimensions: time, space and culture.

Self-managed teams

Self-managed teams consist of employees of the same company who work together. Although they have a wide set of objectives, their key goal is to reach a common result.

There is no manager here. The members of self-managed teams should determine rules and expectations, solve problems and bare shared responsibilities.

Thinking about creating a self-managed team, you should pay attention to the levels of responsibility and the autonomy that is given to the team.

Cross-functional team

A cross-functional team consists of members from different departments. This kind of team tackles specific tasks that require different expertise and inputs.

Cross-functional teams are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. However, there is an opinion that the whopping number of all cross-functional teams are dysfunctional.



What is diversity management?

The business directory describes the definition of diversity management as, “The practice of addressing and supporting multiple lifestyles and personal characteristics within a defined group. Management activities includes educating the group and providing support for the acceptance of and respect for various racial, cultural, societal, geographic, economic and political backgrounds.”

Of course, diversity also encompasses a wide variety of other differences, including work experience, parental status, educational background, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy and age.

It should be part of a company’s policy not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed on the basis of any of these dimensions. However, managing diversity means more than simply observing legal and policy requirements. It also means actively promoting community and comfort with difference.

Companies need to recognize, value and affirm that social diversity contributes richness to the company community and enhances the quality of office life for all individuals. Companies must take pride in its employees various achievements and celebrate their differences. Workplace diversity can provide tremendous benefits in terms of improved morale, outside-the-box thinking, greater teamwork, and an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.

I’ve added an explanatory video about it. You can watch from here.



A group is the arrangement of the individuals who have something in common, i.e., either they possess a similar trait or falls into the same situation. This association becomes a temporary identity of the individuals who form it. Also, every group has its norms, goals, composition and criteria.

There are numerous types of groups which differ from each other because of their size, purpose, membership criteria, formation, functioning, arrangement, etc. In our daily lives, we come across this word ‘group’ indefinite times.

However, selecting a particular group may or may not be in the hands of its members; each one of us belongs to one or the other group in some manner

Formal Groups

Formal groups are created to achieve specific organizational objectives. Usually, they are concerned with the coordination of work activities.

People are brought together based on different roles within the structure of the organization. The nature of the task to be undertaken is a predominant feature of the formal groups.

Goals are identified by management and short and rules relationships and norms of behavior established. Formal groups chain to be related to permanent although there may be changes in actual membership

However temporary formal groups may also be created by management, for example, the use of project teams in a matrix organization.

Informal Groups

Within the formal structure of the organization, there will always be an informal structure.

The formal structure of the organization and system of role relationship, rule, and procedures, will be augmented by interpretation and development at the informal level.

Informal groups are based more on personal relationships and agreement of group’s members than on defined role relationships. They serve to Satisfy psychological and social needs not related necessarily to the tasks to be undertaken.

Groups may devise ways of attempting to satisfy members’ affiliations and other social motivations that are lacing in the work situation, especially in industrial organizations.



Social identity theory, in social psychology, the study of the interplay between personal and social identities. Social identity theory aims to specify and predict the circumstances under which individuals think of themselves as individuals or as group members. The theory also considers the consequences of personal and social identities for individual perceptions and group behavior.

Key Takeaways: Social Identity Theory

  • Social identity theory, introduced by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner in the 1970s, describes the cognitive processes related to social identity and how social identity impacts intergroup behavior.
  • Social identity theory is built on three key cognitive components: social categorization, social identification, and social comparison.
  • Generally, individuals wish to maintain a positive social identity by maintaining their group’s favorable social standing over that of relevant out-groups.
  • In-group favoritism can result in negative and discriminatory outcomes, but research demonstrates that in-group favoritism and out-group discrimination are distinct phenomena, and one does not necessarily predict the other.



A norm is accepted by group members. It is a rule of conduct that has been established by group members. They are standardized generalizations concerning expected behaviour in matters that are of some importance of the group.

A rule dictates what must be done by another whereas norm refers to what should be done. Group norm is a standard of behaviour. In other words, group norm is a rule that tells the individual how to behave in a particular group. Thus, group norms identify the standards against which behaviour of group members will be evaluated and help the group members know what they should not do. Norms could be formal or could be informal.

Types of Norms

As one could expect there are several different types of generally understood norms. They are:

Performance norms: Performance norms are centered on how hard a person should work in a given group. They are informal cues, if you will, that tells a person or helps a person understand how hard they should work and what type of output they should have.

Appearance norms: This type of norm informs or guides us as to how we should look or what our physical appearance should be – what fashion we should wear or how we should style our hair or any number of areas related to how we should look.

Social arrangement norms: When we talk about this type of norm we generally do not equate it to a business setting. This norm is centered on how we should act in social settings. Once again, there are cues we need to pick up on when we are out with friends or at social events that help us fit in and get a closer connection to the group.

Resource allocation norms: For this type of norm we’re focusing on the allocation of resources in a business environment. This can include raw materials as well as overtime or any other resource found or needed within an organization.



What is Brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a method for generating ideas to solve a design problem. It usually involves a group, under the direction of a facilitator. The strength of brainstorming is the potential participants have in drawing associations between their ideas in a free-thinking environment, thereby broadening the solution space.

Four rules of brainstorming

Basically, there are four rules of doing it properly:

No judgements. This is the first rule of creativity in general, really. Don’t discard anything when you’re brainstorming.

Think freely. As I said before, no matter how crazy it is; while brainstorming, ideas are neither silly nor impossible. Allow yourself to imagine as much as you want.

Big numbers. The more ideas, the better. It obviously depends on the situation, but try to produce at least 20 solutions and then you’ll see how much it helps.

Many heads are better than one. When you’re doing it in a group, accept other people’s ideas. You all work on each other’s contributions and then these will grow.



Why do people associate with groups?

There are four main reasons people associate with groups, namely:

  • to get a sense of similarity and belonging,
  • to provide some degree of distinctiveness,
  • to deliver a degree of status, and
  • to reduce uncertainty.


Individuals will tend to associate themselves with particular groups when there is a high degree of similarity. This may be on the basis of demographics, employment, values, interests, and so on. This creates a sense of belonging, connection, and simply fitting in and thus helping to define their identity.


An important part of group classification for an individual is to perceive that each different group is quite distinct from each other – that there are clear differences between the groups. This works with the above aspect of similarity, where a person can note points in common and points of difference, in order to help form and reinforce their sense of social identity.


Typically individuals will look for an association with a group that is considered to be of high status. For example, in a workplace, an individual may see themselves as being part of “management”. In their everyday life they may see themselves as being part of “upper-middle-class”. Social status standing is usually important to individuals as it builds self-esteem, as well as helping to create power and the ability to get things done within an organization.


People seek out membership in groups as it helps them define who they are and how they fit into the world, and therefore provides a greater sense of certainty. Inside an organization, management will often provide corporate values about how the way things are done in the company. This gets a sense of what the organization is all about, which would generally pass some aspect of social identity to the employees.


What are the 5 stages of team development?

Each stage plays a vital part in building a high-functioning team.
In 1965, a psychologist named Bruce Tuckman said that teams go through 5 stages of development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. The stages start from the time that a group first meets until the project ends.
Tuckman didn’t just have a knack for rhyming. (Although, it does make the stages easier to remember.) Each is aptly named and plays a vital part in building a high-functioning team.

Forming: This is where team members first meet. It’s important for team leaders to facilitate the introductions and highlight each person’s skills and background. Team members are also given project details and the opportunity to organize their responsibilities. 

Storming: At this stage, team members openly share ideas and use this as an opportunity to stand out and be accepted by their peers. Team leaders help teams in this stage by having a plan in place to manage competition among team members, make communication easier, and make sure projects stay on track. 

Norming: By now, teams have figured out how to work together. There’s no more internal competition, and responsibilities and goals are clear. Each person works more efficiently because he or she has learned how to share their ideas and listen to feedback while working toward a common goal.

Performing: There’s a high level of cohesion and trust between team members. Teams are functioning at peak efficiency with less oversight from team leaders. Issues still come up, but at this point, teams have strategies for resolving problems without compromising timelines and progress.

Adjourning: Teams complete their project and debrief on what went well and what could be improved for future projects. Afterwards, team members move on to new projects. 



What is motivation?

Motivation is the force that causes you to do any activity, regardless of whether it is simple or complex.  It acts on you mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and psychologically to induce you to act in a certain manner. If you want to understand about motivation, you have to first know about the 3 key elements of motivation and why each one of these elements is important for you. You should also know about where does self-motivation come from for a better understanding of the topic.

3 key elements of motivation

Today many schools and college students are being provided with a “what are the three key elements of motivation quizlet” to make them aware of the concept behind this term. If you want to teach the students, “where does self-motivation come from,”you have to first make them understand the fundamental concepts of motivation. Then, you should teach them to apply the same in their respective lives.


This is one of the most important elements of motivation in psychology because this is what drives the other two. As the name suggests, this is the one that gives direction to your motivation. This is the phase where you set an objective or goal to yourself, based on various internal & external factors, current challenges and the belief in you.Why is it the first among the 3 key elements of motivation? It is because the goals that are set are purely based on the individual. For example, when you want to lose closes to 5kgs in 5 months, you opt for the natural weight-loss technique of walking. You set a goal to walk between 7k and 10k steps in a day for 5 months continuously to achieve this target.You plan this based on your time and personal commitments. Therefore, you take responsibility for this step, and you are also answerable to yourself if you have not met the goals.


This is the amount of effort that you are ready to put in to meet the goal that you have set yourself in the direction phase. The effort is based on a lot of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which define the elements of motivation in organizational behavior as well.

Intrinsic factors are the ones that drive you from within. It is the motivating factor that you feel inside, and this differs from person to person. Extrinsic factors are the ones that come from external people. In the above example, you wanting to look leaner and fitter than before is an intrinsic factor. However, if you want to lose weight as part of a challenge from your boss or colleague, it is an extrinsic factor. This is because you are doing something to prove a point to others. Extrinsic motivation is usually accompanied by trophies, bonus payouts, promotions, etc.

Intensity is one of the key elements in organizational behavior and life, as well. If a person has the right intensity and drive to do certain things, he will put his best efforts to reach his direction. On the other hand, if he doesn’t feel motivated towards a particular goal, he will not give his best.


You may walk 10K steps a day for a week and quit because your feet start to ache. Most of the people quit midway before reaching their goal, because of the lack of motivation to continue. This is why persistence is one of the toughest to follow among all the 3 key elements of motivation.You have to be consistent, passionate and honest in your efforts if you want to reach your goal within the stipulated time. Again, the intrinsic and extrinsic factors play a vital role in this element as well. You will be consistent in your efforts if losing weight is a personally-satisfying experience for you. On the other hand, if you give more weight to extrinsic factors of motivation, you may be consistent only if there is a bonus or appreciation from others.