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.


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