Groups and Teams: Organizational Behaviour and Management


Business organizations are characterized with activities that are conducted either by individuals or by a collection of individuals. Collections of individuals in a given responsibility or under a given leadership can be classified as either a group or a team. This paper seeks to establish the difference between a team and a group. The paper will explore definitions as well as business concepts that distinguish teams and groups.

Groups and teams

Organizational set up consists of individual members of the organization which collectively form the entity. Large entities are then organized into collections of individual that can either be classified as groups or teams. A group can be defined as a “small number of people working in a collaborative manner with individual input and accountability” (Knights & Willmott, 2006, p. 1) while a team is a “small number of interdependent people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (Knights & Willmott, 2006, p. 1). The definitions of the two terms therefore establish a ground for their differences.

Difference between Groups and Teams

From the definition of a group and a team, using Knights and Willmott’s definition, there exist a number of variations between the two in terms of concepts and operations. While a group employs a collaborative approach in undertaking activities or processes, a team is characterized by combination of skills and techniques that yield a particular output. The first difference between a group and a team is therefore realized in the presence of interdependence of members of such collections.

Groups do not require interdependence among members because the members are sufficient in the tasks to be performed and can work without inputs of other members. Such can be illustrated by academic set ups in which individual students can undertake their studies without necessarily enlisting inputs from other students. A team on the other hand demands for dependence among its members because each person poses different skills that must be used in the operation of the team. There is therefore a level of specialization and members complement others for the completion of the activities (Knights & Willmott, 2006). Another difference between groups and teams is the nature of association among individual members.

Members of a group are normally associated with a common motive or objective and this is what brings them together. The basis of a team is on the other hand the collective responsibility to form an operational unit. Any collection of employees in an organization can therefore be considered as a group owing to their allegiance to the organization. A similar collection however only forms a team if they have a common objective for which their skills and inputs are interdependent. The concept of teams majorly identifies how goals are to be attained while the concept of groups concentrates on how members relate with one another. Groups are also not limited in size while teams are identified to be small in number (Dyck & Neubert, 2008).


Though groups and teams are a collection of individuals, the concepts of leadership or even organizations with respect to the two are different in terms of interest. Interest over groups is about interrelations while that over teams is about attainment of particular objectives. Both groups and teams are significant for the productivity of an organization.


Dyck, B & Neubert, M. (2008). Management: Current Practices and New Directions. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Knights, D & Willmott, H. (2006). Introducing Organizational Behaviour and Management. London, UK: Cengage Learning EMEA.