Purpose of Group Work Team Building

by Shane Thornton; Updated September 26, 2017
Business people in meeting

A team is considered a group of individuals working toward common goals. Team building is the process of giving them the support needed to achieve those goals.

Function

Businesses form teams to reach objectives in a more effective and innovative way than could be accomplished by the same employees working on their own.

Significance

Group work and team building skills are important to the success of any organization. Managing teams is much more difficult than managing individuals but the rewards can be great if the teams are correctly selected and motivated.

Purpose

The two most important factors in building and maintaining a successful, high-performing team are clear team goals and diversity. Managers must have clear goals and expectations for the work groups before building the team. Having goals in place will improve communication within the group, increase commitment, create harmony and a shared sense of responsibility. To accomplish these goals most effectively, a work team must have diversity of personalities and skills. Different personality types balance the group dynamic and help with brainstorming. Some group members’ strengths will compensate for other members’ weaknesses. If these two factors are met, group synergy, which is the purpose of team building, will be created. Group synergy occurs when the collective group effort is greater than the sum of the individual efforts.

Warning

Work groups will not work well without correct and extensive team building efforts. The main drawback of group work is the diffusion of responsibility. Even if every group member is dedicated to accomplishing the goals and objectives, personal responsibility and accountability is lost in team work. This diffusion of responsibility can lead to groupthink or freerider effects. Groupthink occurs when groups are afraid of conflict and reach a decision-making consensus that some group members would not make on their own. Freerider effect is when some group members perform the majority of the work while others get a free ride to success.
The diversity of personalities and skills can cause conflicts rather than balancing and complementing each other. Group members may also compete for power or authority within the group regarding decision making and can lead the group in conflicting directions.

Considerations

To avoid the disadvantages of team building, every work group needs a leader who can solve conflict issues, build confidence in group members and motivate the team to accomplish goals. Leaders must build trust by keeping employees completely informed through open lines of communication. Also, the leader needs to clearly divide responsibility and avoid any overlapping authority.

References

About the Author

Shane Thornton has published business-related on eHow.com. In addition to business, his other areas of interest include sports, traveling and entertainment. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business management from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

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