In recent years, most organisations have replaced the concept of groups with the concept of teams, finds Sarma V. S. Veluri in Organisational Behaviour: An interactive learning approach ( www.jaicobooks.com). He says that while teams offer a number of benefits that groups also offer — such as, increased productivity, rapid decision-making, diversity in thinking, enhanced employee motivation and morale, satisfaction of social, esteem and actualisation needs, training ground for members, loyalty and commitment towards goals — teams have a cutting edge over groups.
For instance, a team’s members may each have unique skills, in contrast to a group, where every member tries to acquire all the skills necessary to undertake a task, the author explains. “In a sales group, every member uses skills of attracting customers, explaining the product, making visits, attending customer queries, and finalising the deal. Thus, if a member does not possess a particular skill, such as analysing information, he may not achieve the goal, even though he possesses other skills.”
Another edge of teams is synergy, says Veluri. “Synergy means that the outcome of a combined activity is greater than the sum of individual sub-activities. In the case of a group, the outcome of group activity is simply the sum of the performance of the individual members.” Why are teams able to reap the advantages of synergy? Because of positive motivation and coordinated efforts of the team members, he reasons.
Useful addition to the managers’ shelf.