Advantages & Disadvantages of Teams in Organizations

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The old adage two heads are better than one usually holds true in business. But at times, having too many cooks in the company kitchen can cause interpersonal conflicts or other issues. Ideally, the purpose of teams within an organization is to bring together a group of qualified people to work together as a unit to accomplish common goals. Although teams within organizations offer many benefits to a company, they can also present several challenges. Many organizations spend valuable resources developing and managing teams in the workplace. Employers who understand the advantages and disadvantages of teams can more effectively manage them to achieve the best results.

Promotes Creativity

When employees work together in a group, they are often times able to collaborate together to brainstorm innovative and creative ideas to benefit the organization. Many organizations form diverse teams, which allows these teams to draw from the experiences and abilities of one another. Diversity within teams is beneficial because people from different backgrounds and cultures approach problems and topics differently. Teams are also more productive when they are cognitively diverse.

Generates Motivation

Team members working together in harmony are able to motivate one another. The sense of accomplishment received from working with a productive team increases employee morale and causes employees to desire to achieve greater success. Motivated employees benefit the company by providing excellent customer service and an increase in efficiency and productivity.

Builds Trust

Another advantage of teams within organizations is that working as a team can build trust among employees. Employees who trust each other do not compete with one another unnecessarily. They understand that working together is for the benefit of the organization. Employees who trust one another are more willing to work together in the future and ask for help from each other when needed.

Interpersonal Conflict

One disadvantage of teams within an organization is the possibility of conflicts arising between team members. One team member may disagree with the ideas of another team member, which may lead to an argument. Hostility within teams limits productivity, creativity and the decision-making process. Managers must effectively manage teams to keep conflict at a minimum.

Compatibility Problems

One of the disadvantages of working in a team is personal incompatibility. Some employees work better by themselves than in a group. An employee who does not work well within a group can hinder the progress of the entire team. The incompatible employee may detach himself from the rest of the team and refuse to participate. If negative feelings arise from the rest of the team members toward the incompatible employee, communication may suffer within the group. Management must effectively handle incompatible employees by providing training or removing them from the group.

Free-Riding Issues

Some team members may take advantage of the efforts that other team members make within the group. This can cause issues within the group because the team members making the effort may feel like other team members are coasting along and not pulling their weight. If this issue is not handled immediately, unmotivated team members may feel entitled toward not putting forth the same effort as others. Other individuals on teams may willingly do the work of unproductive employees to avoid any problems, but resentment will build. To avoid free riding, managers may have to implement metrics for measuring each team member's performance.

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