Originally posted on October 12, 2023 | By: Martin Boult

In business, the terms team and workgroup are often used interchangeably. However, they differ in nuanced yet important ways.

To be clear, teams and workgroups both serve a purpose. Not every workgroup, for example, needs to function with team characteristics to be effective. Their purposes depend on why people are working together. And problems can arise when a group of individuals function more like a workgroup, despite their purpose being to function as a team.

In workgroups, all members agree that your priority is typically to achieve individual versus team goals. Consider, for example, a football team versus a bowling or golf team. The latter may behave more like workgroups because they’re not collaborating in any meaningful sense, other than pooling resources and compiling individual scores. For the football team, however, collaboration must supersede even raw talent to compete against a high-performing team.

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