Where Teams Beat Workgroups in Generating Favorable Performance

Unlike a group set up where individuals are only responsible for their personal results, a team confers the responsibility of ensuring the overall team performance to every member (The People Development Practice, 2008). This characteristic is, perhaps,what brings about the success of a team as opposed to that of the group. For instance, the emergence of self-managing teams has been instrumental in driving many an organization’s success. One such example was provided by an experimental project by General Foods in 1971 to build a new manufacturing entity at Topeka to satisfy the increasing market of its dog food brand (Cohen 2004). During that period manufacturing organizations were faced with a problem of employee alienation resulting into such problems as “absenteeism, product waste, and work stoppages” (Cohen, 2004, p. 17). By creating a system of teamwork where employees were adequately empowered and motivated through various rewards, the Topeka plant was able to significantly reduce employee turnover at the company (Cohen, 2004). Team works thus offer an efficient alternative to groups in ensuring the organization’s success.

Success in a team is however subject to a number of determinant factors. One of these as noted by Cohen (2004) is empowering the teams to make independent decisions without top management interference. Such decisions include having a say in the incorporation of new members to the team, and selecting members who would act as team leaders and those who would get promotion and training whenever such opportunities arise (The People Development Practice, 2008). Through such involvement in decisions that affect the composition and working of the team, members would be less tolerant to individuals who went against the team spirit thus ensuring member’s conformity to the team values and eventual cooperation (The People Development Practice, 2008).


The large nature of modern day organizations has made it impossible for organizations to generate favorable by focusing on individuals’ rather than the group’s performance. Entities are faced with the challenge of developing the right work environment that promotes employee interactions hence their productivity. This paper thus sought to evaluate the importance of understanding group dynamics in a business setting by assessing aspects such as positive interdependence, group cohesiveness, team functioning and concerns with group dynamics research that attracts wide criticism.

Structuring groups into teams that offer shared responsibility for the entity’s performance has been noted to bring better outcomes to the entity. Through such groups; tasks can be structured to derive cohesiveness hence satisfaction and commitment to the overall group’s performance. This is especially brought out in teams that are adequately empowered to make certain decisions without management interference with rightful motivation being provided to influence behavior. Such a setup enables the development of leadership skills at lower levels of the organization which is important in ensuring the success of the entity. The weakness of such a model however lies with the characteristic of modern day firms being too enormous to allow effective interaction of leaders with lower staff thus curtailing the degree of leader influence.


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