A group is not necessarily a team

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.

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