Management Terms: Team and Group


Some people consider the terms ‘group’ and ‘team’ synonyms; however, this is not really correct. These two notions have something in common, but they have more differences. To understand the nature of the differences between these notions, we are going to define the words ‘team’ and ‘group.’ The understanding of these differences may help consider the importance of workplace diversity in an organization and dwell upon the relation to team dynamics at the workplace.

Defining ‘group’ and ‘team’

A group is usually defined as a number of people who are opposed to individuality. Each person may have a group of friends, which can never be a team. These people have the same interest, a person they are acquainted with, but they do not collaborate, do not work on a specific goal. Knights and Willmott (2006) state that s group is “an ensemble of people who share certain interests and passions or perhaps simply enjoy each other’s company” (p. 120). Trying to define a team, it is important to understand that it is also a group of people, but it pursues a specific purpose or a goal. For example, a group of people is aimed at answering a number of questions correctly. They are to communicate, to collaborate with each other to gain the set purpose, and achieve the best results (Knights & Willmott, 2006).

Differences between groups and teams

It is important to understand that each team is a group, but not each group can be a team. The examples considered above have strictly identified the main idea of the notions. Now, it’s high time to turn to a consideration of the differences between these two organizations. Cameron and Green (2004) point out seven main areas where group and team differ, that is, size, the main purpose, the main idea, dependency, responsibilities, accountabilities, working scheme. The table below is aimed at showing specific differences between a group and a team have.

Criteria Group Team
Size No specific restrictions in size Restricted in size
The main purpose Have common interests Have common goals
The main idea A part of something Acre created with the purpose to reach specific purposes
Dependency Personal desire plays much independency Too high interdependency, as a result, is based on the cooperation of the members of the team
Responsibilities No specific responsibilities The members of the team are responsible before each other.
Accountabilities No specific accountabilities Individual accountabilities
Working scheme No specific goals which should be completed Coordinated work

Table 1: Differences between groups and teams (Cameron & Green, 2004).

Therefore, having considered the information about differences and the definition of the terms ‘group’ and ‘team,’ it may be concluded that teams, not groups, should be used at the workplace. A team is something aimed, a structure that has specific purposes and which requires much work to be done in coordination.

Group work and teamwork

Dwelling upon more specific differences in relation to the group and teamwork, it is important to mention the following examples. Teams are oriented at a specific task as they are usually created for a specific period of time. However, teams may be created for long-term periods. Group work and teamwork should be distinguished, as well. Thus, when people work in a group, they pursue personal purposes even though each may have a similar one. For example, a seminar is a work in a group. Each member has a desire to discuss the problem, to consider the solution. However, each member of the discussion pursues personal goals (Knights & Willmott, 2006).

Teamwork differs greatly from group work. Working in a team, different people collaborate with the same purpose to achieve the same goal. It should be stated that the best example of teamwork in project creation. Each member of the project has a specific task to accomplish, each person may have different purposes, but they all work for achieving a specific goal, one for the whole team (Knights & Willmott, 2006).

Teamwork from the perspective of an organization

Workplace diversity is important in the organization as it affects the performance of the responsibilities greatly. Workplace diversity denotes employees’ gender, sex, orientation, ethnicity, age, etc. The diversity at the workplace may have both advantageous and disadvantageous. It is a direct responsibility of a manager to organize work in such a way that the employees can express all abilities and apply their working experience in the required way. Better decision-making ability is one of the main advantages of diversity in the workplace. However, there are a number of challenges that are usually connected with the managing workplace population. Workplace diversity may encourage a manager to implement team dynamics when two groups are organized into teams and are motivated for better performance.


Therefore, it may be concluded that even though two notions ‘group’ and ‘team’ are usually interchangeable, they differ greatly. A team is a group of people; however, not every group of people can be called a team. Everything depends on a number of specific factors that differentiate a team from a group. The diversity at the workplace activates teamwork and better performance.

Reference List

Cameron, E. & Green, M. (2004). Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. New York: Kogan Page Publishers. Web.

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