The terms group and team are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between a group and a team. All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. A team is a special kind of group that unites its members towards a common objective.
There are many different kinds of groups:
- Primary groups – regular and frequent interactions in working towards a common task.
- Formal groups – deliberately created to serve an organisational need.
- Informal groups – formed outside formal structures to serve individual needs.
- Secondary groups – interact less frequently, and often larger than primary groups.
Table 8.1 in Chapter 8 of the B628 course book lists some interesting differences between groups and teams.
Table 8.2 takes this a step further and makes suggestions on whether to work in groups or teams, depending on context.