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The 5 differences between group and team

The 5 differences between group and team

October 5, 2022

When working together hand in hand with other people, the dynamics that are established between workers make a difference. Although we devote the same time, the same material resources and a staff with a sufficient level of training, the fact of working in one way or another with these ingredients makes it happen more or less.

We'll see now what are the differences between group and team , given that it is this type of involvement and coordination that makes, with the same expense, productivity in companies and organizations be carried to its full potential, or not.

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Main differences between group and team

In regard to the world of Work and Organizational Psychology, the definitions used about what groups and teams are are different. And they are not only theoretical, but as we will see they refer to two types of phenomena that produce very different results.


1. Individualist vision and collectivist vision

The groups are, basically, groups of people who share a space, a place, and who show a certain degree of tolerance between them, which makes it something stable.

In the context of companies and organizations, a group is also a functional piece of a system of people that produces something, whether commercial purposes or not. However, having a useful function done does not mean that the group has a shared goal. Instead, each person has their goal .

In other words, this type of association is governed by individualism: people reach an agreement to reach a goal that they had already set a priori individually.


The team, on the other hand, moves through collectivism, the notion that there are experiences that can only be lived by uniting and connecting with others and that certain goals are fundamentally collective in nature . For example, the protection of the environment is not an objective that can be reached objectively, and in the same way a creative task in which several artists must work, either.

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2. Proactive or passive spirit

The teams adapt in real time to the contingencies, since all the people who compose them go to one. If a need arises different from those that were defining work, for example, it is not necessary to convince others to adapt to this new circumstance; in any case, new proposals are reported and jointly sought.


In groups, on the other hand, the mentality leads to an attitude defined by passivity. For this reason, for example, if unforeseen changes appear, re-negotiate with the individuals that form it , given that they can stick to the idea that they do not have to do anything more than what they had been doing before.

3. Communication agility or verticality

In groups, communication flows tend to be vertical, given that they are limited to hierarchical relations specified in the organization chart; simply, it is not obligatory to establish other routes through which the information circulates.

On the computers, on the other hand, communication also flows a lot informally , although those communicative routes do not appear in the organization chart.

4. Flexibility and rigidity

In the teams, the number one priority is to make the group adapt to the changes and reach the goals set collectively, and therefore the formal is subject to the useful. Although it seems contradictory, it often yields better if you know how to put aside the rigid structure of the rules fixed in writing (yes, with the agreement of all parties involved).

In groups, on the other hand, the rigidity of the rules is used not for its usefulness, but as an excuse not to face new situations or have to work more during the adaptation phase to the changing situations that come our way. In other words, the rules are assumed as a dogma, something that must be followed to avoid complications, although this, paradoxically, may lead to certain problems caused by the lack of adaptation to change becoming chronic and generating totally avoidable inconveniences.

5. Potential before opportunity or blindness to it

Teams are always much more skilled at detecting hidden opportunities, given that communication flows and does not penalize the proposal of ideas that "break the schemes".

In groups, on the other hand, the simple idea of ​​veering the direction of what was being done causes rejection , and a very good excuse is needed for something as simple as proposing new strategies or group interests.This means that, even if an opportunity is sensed, never go beyond this phase, and neither that possibility is valued nor, of course, new missions are undertaken. On many occasions the person who has come up with the idea does not even communicate it to a co-worker.

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